Caring for your mental health is a key career skill and with World Mental Health Day taking place on the 10th of October this year, we wanted to help you understand the five key aspects of your own mental well-being that you can truly take responsibility for in and out of work.
1. Coping with stress and pressure
A survey by British charity Mind identified work as the number one cause of stress. Stress can manifest itself in a number of different ways, from racing thoughts to a strong sense of dread. Whatever work you’re doing at the moment, acknowledge what’s causing your stress; use breathing techniques, mindfulness and meditation to calm your mind and find perspective, and talk to managers, tutors, advisors, friends and family to help identify priorities and actions you can take.
2. Looking after your physical health
Although sugar, alcohol and caffeine are the go-to solutions for most people when they are stressed, they can cause a crash in blood sugar levels that creates feelings of irritability or even depression. A healthy diet of wholegrains, vegetables, nuts and natural sugars along with good sleep and exercise will regulate your system, keeping you calmer and more centred.
3. Building positive working relationships
At this time when many of us may be feeling isolated all our relationships are precious, and when it comes to work the positive relationships we have with our colleagues and peers can make all the difference to our state of mind. So, nurture those important relationships in your life and work: show appreciation for others, avoid gossip, take a constructive approach towards conflict and focus on developing your own emotional intelligence.
4. Balancing work and life
More and more of us are working from home nowadays and that can make it hard to keep a defined boundary between work and personal life. Prioritising your workload, avoiding procrastination, managing expectations and taking time for proper breaks throughout the day are all key to optimising your productivity, allowing you to finish on time. And when you’ve finished working, switch off completely.
5. Becoming more resilient
Resilience is about your ability to cope with challenges and change and to adapt to new circumstances. That attribute has been tested in the extreme for everyone around the world in the last six months. Along with all of the above, having a positive inner voice and focusing your energy on the things you can change will help you bounce back from any challenges life can throw at you.
Whilst there are many things you can do to help take care of your own mental health, it’s important to remind yourself that help is out there if you need it, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for it. So, if you feel like it’s impacting your ability to thrive in work and life, speak to someone you trust about it and, if you notice your mental health worsening significantly, consider speaking to a professional.