4 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health at Work (and 3 Options if You’re Struggling)
It’s important that we all monitor our mental health at work and take steps to protect ourselves from worsening issues like anxiety and depression.
So, make sure you take note of the following four methods for mental health protection.
1. Get Enough Sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, you can experience more problems at work. In turn, that can lead to mental health problems like stress, anxiety, and depression.
Most experts suggest getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
And you’ll be able to sleep easier if you avoid working late at night and looking at screens before bedtime.
So, make getting plenty of sleep a priority.
2. Take Breaks
People who are on the go constantly can worsen their mental health. Therefore, it’s important that you remember to take regular breaks during each working day.
Your stress can then be reduced and your general well-being and your productivity can be improved.
By taking breaks, you can refocus and return to tasks with a new sense of clarity.
During short breaks, talk to colleagues over a cup of coffee to help you switch off and relax.
And at lunchtime, leave the premises and get some fresh air.
3. Leave Work on Time
Ensuring you have a good work/life balance is also crucial for staying on top of your mental health, so make sure you create boundaries between life at work and your life outside of work.
That can be as simple as ensuring you leave work on time.
Sure, there will be odd occasions when you need to stay a little later to meet deadlines for important tasks and projects, but that should be the exception, not the norm.
4. Go for a Walk at Lunch Time
Simply getting out of the work environment during lunchtime can help you to unwind and destress, but going for a walk during your lunch hour is an even better way of relaxing and combating mental health issues.
That’s because walking, like any form of exercise, releases endorphins, which make you feel happier.
If you have the time, you could even hit the gym at lunchtime.
The more you exercise, during the work day and during your leisure time, the more you can protect your mental health.
Three Options if You’re Struggling
The above ways are simple but highly effective methods of protecting your mental health at work. But what if you’re already struggling with mental health issues?
Well, there are various options that can help you when you’re struggling. Here are three that can help you resolve the problem.
1. Talk to a Trusted Colleague
If you bottle things up, you’ll just make matters worse. So, have a conversation with a trusted work colleague about your problems and feelings.
Simply talking things through can be a great way of lowering your stress and alleviating mental health problems.
And if your issues are directly concerned with work, consider talking to your supervisor or an HR member of staff. Human resources may be able to point you toward other resources that are available.
In circumstances in which your employer is retaliating against you because of your mental health problems, know that that is not okay. If that happens, you should contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and consider filing a claim.
2. Consider Changing Career Path Slightly -- e.g. from Regular Nursing to Travel Nursing
If you come to the realization that it’s your specific workplace that is causing your mental health to worsen, it could be time to change your career path.
That doesn’t mean you have to retrain and enter a new industry, though. You could work in the same role or industry but in a different way.
For instance, if you work as a nurse at a private clinic, you could consider slightly changing your career path by becoming a travel nurse, in which you would work at various hospitals or other healthcare settings in temporary roles.
Check out this platform to explore travel nursing opportunities.
3. See a Doctor
Lastly, if you’re struggling with a mental health problem, it’s a good idea to seek professional help.
Your first port of call should be visiting your doctor. He or she will be able to provide you with resources from which you can get professional assistance. For instance, you could engage in talk therapy or join a support group.