Managing your mental health in the workplace02 Nov 2021
We’ve all been there: Tight deadlines, stressful work environments or negative relationships with co-workers become too much, and your overall wellbeing seems to take a nosedive. As employees, it often feels like our mental health is supposed to take a back seat — but that can be a harmful mindset.
According to a Qualtrics survey of 2,000 employees, declining mental health had these workplace effects:
- 53.8% reported emotional exhaustion
- 50.2% reported being more irritable
- 42.9% reported higher levels of confusion
- 32.3% reported increased anger
These are just a few impacts that can be felt when mental health is neglected in the workplace. Luckily, there are ways all of us can be more mindful of our minds.
How to protect mental health
Because it can be difficult to put mental health first, employees often need support — both from each other and from our companies. Here are a few self-care strategies to help us all eliminate stressors and reduce anxiety:
1) Recognise your triggers
Triggers, according to Healthline, are anything that “affects your emotional state, often significantly, by causing extreme overwhelm or distress.” They can range in type and severity — but in the workplace, they tend to follow specific patterns. For example, suddenly imposed new deadlines could be a stress trigger for many employees.
To protect your mental health, work to understand what triggers overwhelming negative emotions. You can’t always overcome triggers, but you can learn different or healthier ways to respond to them.
2) Protect your work-life balance
Work-life balance is one of your most important tools in the quest to protect your mind. Although it may not be entirely in your hands, you can take certain steps to protect that balance — for example, pushing back on unrealistic deadlines, taking sick or mental health days when necessary and creating firm boundaries between your work and home lives.
3) Have open conversations
It’s not always easy to speak up when you’re struggling, but it may make all the difference in the workplace. This kind of openness helps co-workers understand what to expect — and it can encourage them to open up, too.
4) Be patient
According to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, depression can significantly interfere with work performance: Physical tasks are impacted 20% of the time, and cognitive performance is reduced 35% of the time — while only about half of employees who report depression actually receive treatment. That means it’s vital to be patient with yourself and your co-workers, especially during periods of high stress.
Improving mental health together
Managing mental health in the workplace doesn’t have to be a solitary affair. In fact, it can be more effective when teams approach the topic together — which is why our final tip is to try the Managing Anxiety and Stress program from ICML. By providing you with the tools, resources and tactics to take mental health into your own hands, these programs help you feel empowered in the workplace and beyond.
If you’re ready to start managing mental health more effectively, contact us today.