Nurturing your Mental Health at Work
Educate yourself: Nurturing your Mental Health at Work
It can be easy to neglect your mental health, especially when the pressures of life can get in the way. Whether it is your career development, getting on the property ladder, maintaining relationships or otherwise, there is plenty that can distract you from looking after yourself.
But treating yourself as the number one priority is more important, now more than ever.
This year it has been a rollercoaster of lifestyle changes and having to limit your movement, all because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has stopped us being in public spaces, stopped us seeing loved ones and stopped us from being in an office environment, with many resorting to working from home and using video calls as the main source of communication.
Nurturing your mental health is just as important as keeping yourself physically fit or eating well. Failure to do this can lead to stress, depression, anxiety and generally a lack of motivation for everything. Success in looking after yourself can give you a boost, making you feel confident, assured and ready for the next challenge.
When it comes to your career, looking after your mental health is therefore hugely important in how you respond to life’s challenges. We’ve put together a useful guide on how you can take steps to look after your mental health, eventually giving you the tools to stay fit, happy and healthy. We’ve also compiled a list of useful resources you can use to nurture your mental health, keeping you focused and feeling good in work, and in your personal life.
What is your mental health?
Mental health is the way that you feel and react towards certain situations in daily life. Having good mental health means that you can deal with most situations in a positive and realistic frame of mind, without dwelling on things for too long or becoming stressed over the little problems or challenges.
Everyone is different, so there will always be ups and downs in life that you cannot control. But for the everyday challenges of getting up, going to work, exercising, eating well and nurturing close relationships with family and friends, having good mental health will give you more enthusiasm and motivation for accomplishing your goals and generally feeling happy.
It can also prepare you for larger events in your life that could be more mentally challenging, such as starting a family, moving to a new location or starting a new career. This mental strength comes from an intrinsic happiness with yourself, which can be developed through nurturing your mental health on a daily basis.
What are mental health problems?
Mental health problems are varied depending on the person, affecting you in a negative way and generally making you feel unenthusiastic, lacking in confidence and motivation. Stress, anxiety and depression can all be results of poor mental health and can be major blockers when it comes to reaching your personal and professional goals.
Of course, you might also have existing mental health problems from past traumas or ongoing issues in your life. It could be that nurturing your mental health can help you come overcome these issues or deal with them in a healthy way, rather than letting them spill over into your everyday life.
Why is good mental health important for my career?
Your career, depending on the industry you choose to work within, can rely on your ability to work at your best, nurturing working relationships and generally be able to stand out from the crowd.
Nurturing your mental health can lead to many positive results, such as increased confidence in your skills and abilities, more passion for your chosen role, better chance of working well with others and a boost in productivity.
These qualities, as well as other factors, will increase the likelihood of you reaching your professional goals, improving your skillset with wider learning and being a positive influence for your business and your work colleagues. It’s all about being the best that you can be!
How to look after your mental health
It might sound like an alien concept to those who haven’t considered their mental health to be important before, but the ability to exercise your mind like you would with your body, can have positive results for your working life and personal life too.
To look after your mental health, start with the following three principles:
- Change your mindset - to start with, it’s worth thinking of your mind as something that needs to be maintained, like you would with exercise or eating healthily. If you can spend the same amount of time working on your mental health in that way, you will often find yourself feeling much more positive, more comfortable in your own skin and more willing to take on more challenges
- Schedule some time – the aim is to work on your mental health every day. It might only be ten minutes, but over time, it will be beneficial to nurturing your mental health in the long term. Once you make looking after your mental health a habit, it will soon become a routine
- Find what works for you - everyone is different, so it’s worth trying out a few ways that you can nurture your mental health. Whilst one person might find meditation to work for them, others might find that listen to music is more effective. Try a few things and see what works.
Ways you can look after your mental health
With your three principles for nurturing your mental health in place, you will need to find ways that work for you. Once you’ve got some time aside each day, then you can experiment with different exercises that will have a positive impact on your mental health.
It might be learning something brand new, or it might be something that you are already very good at. As mentioned, everyone is different so concentrate on whatever works for you. Take a look at the following list and see if any of these exercises work for you:
- Listening to audiobooks
- Talking to new people
- Eating well
- Concentrating on hobbies
- Play an instrument
- Learn a language
- Listen to music
- Spend time with friends or family
- Go outside for a walk
- Unplug yourself from smart devices
- Write down your thoughts
Mental Health best practice
- Do something you’re good at – one great way to nurture your mental health is to do something that you’re familiar with and good at. Having a sense of accomplishment can really help your mindset and self-worth, along with your confidence
- Pleasure, leisure and passion – you can further subdivide your mental health schedule into three different categories. Doing something for pleasure might consist of something you particularly enjoy. A leisure activity might be something that relaxes you. A passion might be a hobby you want to pursue. A combination of these every day will help you build out your schedule
- Forgive yourself – a major part of nurturing your own mental health is to release the pressure and forgive yourself. This could be in a small way if you don’t manage to stick to your schedule, but it can also apply to past mental health problems you may have suffered with
With these tips in your back pocket, make time for yourself and make a start with some of the resources below. Good luck and good mental health!
Apps for good mental health
- Stoic Mental Health Journal
- Moodnotes Mood Tracker
- Daylio Journal
- Wysa Mental Health Support
- TalkLife: Depression & Anxiety
Mental health resources online
Headspace - https://www.headspace.com/
Mind - https://www.mind.org.uk/
Mental Health at Work - https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/
Mental Health Foundation - https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/