5 ways you can prioritise your mental health at work
The modern-day workplace is often filled with high-pressure situations, tight deadlines, and stress-inducing activities. These can take a toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing and – if not managed properly – can lead to burnout and other health issues. As such, it’s important to remember that prioritising your mental health is crucial for your overall happiness and success. In this blog post, we’ll discuss five ways you can start to look after yourself while working.
Prioritise your most important work
One of the biggest sources of anxiety in the workplace is the overwhelming feeling of having too much to do and not enough time to do it. To combat this, prioritise your most important, high priority work. What we mean by this is setting aside a specific time to focus on your most important tasks, without interruption. Interruptions – whether they come from a notification on your phone or an eager coworker – can be incredibly disruptive to productivity. Not only do they break your current focus, but it takes time and effort to refocus back on the task at hand. Studies have shown that it can take up to 25 minutes to regain focus after being interrupted.
Prioritising deep work helps you to be more productive and should help to reduce your stress levels as you complete some of your highest priority tasks. Just make sure you establish strategies to minimise interruptions, such as turning off notifications or having designated quiet times for focused work. By doing so, you can regain control of your workday and achieve greater success and satisfaction in your work.
Technology has made it possible for us to be connected to work at all times. While this might seem helpful, it can also be a significant source of stress – leading to feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and unable to switch off from work. To combat this, consider creating boundaries by:
- Turning off email notifications and messages outside of work hours
- Avoiding checking your work email or messages during non-work hours, such as evenings or weekends
- Setting aside specific times for checking work emails/messages to avoid impromptu interruptions and distractions (as mentioned above)
Experts even recommend taking a restorative mental health day from time to time, where you put on your out-of-office, turn off your email notifications on your phone and give yourself some real time away from work. If you are booking time off work, make sure you are truly able to switch off.
Even when you’re working, it’s critical to take breaks throughout the day. Taking breaks can help to reduce stress and improve productivity. Even a regular short five to 10-minute walk away from your screen can go a long way. Use these short breaks to stretch your legs, take a walk outside, chat with a colleague, or simply breathe deeply and relax.
Why not use a longer break to exercise? As we navigate through the fast-paced world of work, prioritising mental health can often take a backseat. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can significantly impact your wellbeing. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which can elevate mood and reduce stress levels.
What’s more, exercising can improve focus, cognition, and memory, making it easier to stay on top of work tasks. Taking time to move your body can enhance mental clarity and increase productivity – something which leads to a happier and healthier lifestyle both in and out of work.\
Even starting with the introduction of new small habits and exercise into your life can lead to big changes and a positive knock on effect across many areas of your life which contribute to better mental health and the journey towards getting fit and healthy.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are two effective techniques to help reduce stress and boost mental health. Incorporate these practices into your daily routine, or take some time throughout the day to practise mindfulness by:
- Meditating for a few minutes each day
- Mindful breathing or mindfulness exercises
- Take a short walk where you focus on the sights and sounds around you, rather than worrying about work
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed at work, consider seeking help. Talk to your manager about ways to alleviate stress or talk to a mental health professional. They can provide valuable insight and support to help you manage stressors and cope with the pressures of work.
At The Fitness Group, we provide internationally recognised gym, personal training and professional CPD courses – including a Level 2 Mental Health Awareness course which equips individuals with the basic skills to respond appropriately to people who are experiencing mental health problems and how to reduce the stigma around it.