With all of the anxiety in the workplace, it can be difficult to keep a calm mind and perform at your best. Here are some tips to help you stay mentally well.
There is no job out there that is free from stress. Everyone has deadlines, problems to solve, and late nights at work.
With unemployment rates as high as they are at the moment, you may also be extra worried about job performance levels and doing all you can to keep your position.
With all of this anxiety, it can be difficult to keep a calm mind and perform at your best. When you aren’t in a good mental state, you can have problems concentrating, getting along with others, and you can even get sick.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to take care of your mental health during busy work weeks. Here are a few:
Talk to Your Peers
When you work with a team of people who have your back, it can be a lot easier to face your responsibilities because you know that you aren’t alone.
If you don’t have good relationships with your coworkers, it’s easy to feel isolated. To benefit from peer support, you need to connect with those you work with.
However, it’s worth putting in the extra effort to share experiences and develop a sense of camaraderie in the workplace. When you feel connected to your coworkers, you can more readily show concern and empathy for each other, which creates a happier, safer emotional environment.
Everyone is under a lot of pressure, and our social circumstances are different, to say the least. Reduce the stigma of mental health by being open and speaking to others about your struggles.
Take Brain Breaks
Brain breaks are awesome and everyone can benefit from them. Kids take them at school, but adults should do the same throughout the workday.
These little nuggets of time can help prevent burnout and give your mind a creative boost.
What do we mean by brain breaks?
Well, it could mean a lot of things:
- A quick mental game
- A group activity
- A chat on the phone
Basically, anything that lets you step away from work and turn your brain off for a few minutes qualifies as a brain break. You could even just color a page in an adult coloring book (or kid’s coloring book, no judgment here.)
Move Your Body
When you start to feel like you are reaching a boiling point, the best thing to do is get up and move around.
Stress raises cortisol, a hormone that can wreak havoc on your body.
In a life-threatening situation, cortisol serves the purpose of shutting down any unnecessary functions of the body so that all of your energy can be used to survive. However, when your life isn’t in danger but under a deadline or your boss’s nose, you can still feel stress and release unnecessary cortisol.
Exercise helps to reduce the levels of this hormone in your body. Not only does it help to reduce your cortisol levels, but it’s also proven to release happy endorphins to put a little pep in the rest of your day. These are just some of the ways that exercise improves your health.
And if you don’t have time to fit an official workout into your day, don’t worry —you could go for a walk on lunch break, pace the halls, or do whatever it takes to move.
Open communication is an important part of a healthy work situation. If you don’t feel like you can be honest about your mental state, you’ll be even more stressed out.
It’s important to tell your boss when things are getting heavy. They should be willing to help and understand the situation, but if you don’t let them in on it, they won’t have the opportunity.
For some of us, it is difficult to allow others to help. We’ve been trained by others or ourselves to rely solely on our own abilities and efforts.
This can be dangerous to your mental health when life throws more at you than you can handle.
If you need professional help, talk to a therapist.
Break Unhealthy Habits
Sometimes, we take on bad habits to alleviate the discomfort that comes with stress. These bad habits might help us in the beginning, but they only make things worse in the long run.
Procrastination has to be the most common response to stress. We don’t want to face all our responsibilities, so it’s natural to put them off until the last second.
We find ourselves doing some obviously unnecessary tasks to continue looking busy without actually getting anything done. If you know that you are guilty of this, stop!
Putting off things that stress you out only digs you a deeper hole. When your responsibilities are overwhelming you, break them down into smaller tasks instead. This will allow you to take it one tiny piece at a time until it’s all done.
Sometimes, we can bring our stress home with us and develop unhealthy habits to deal with it there. This includes unhealthy eating, vegging out on the couch watching TV, and staying up too late.
This lifestyle is not only bad for your mental health, but you could develop some physical health problems too.
You take steps to prevent physical illness because you don’t want to miss work and you don’t want to get sick.
You should do the same to prevent mental illness. This type of illness affects every aspect of your life, not just at work.
These five actions are just a snippet of the ways you can help yourself stay in a positive mood while working.
Karen Lein is the general manager of Copper Beech San Marcos and Grove San Marcos. She is a Fresno State alumna and enjoys traveling and watching football. #GoDogs!