It’s been a tough week, ups and downs, but Barker thinks this will do people a world of good, some handy tips for dealing with your mental health at work.
We all feel down sometimes, some of us a lot more than others, one in four of us with have mental health problems at some point in their life. Working with a mental health problem can make a molehill seem like a mountain, it’s like going through Monday blues five days a week, or continuously running for a bus that’s never gunna stop. It’s easy to feel alienated at work when suffering from mental health and can make work a lot more stressful than it once was, turning simple tasks into impossible challenges that stress you to the point of combustion, so I felt I should compose a list of helpful tips to deal with those down days.
I sat down with Charlotte from OTR (Off The Record) and she talked me through some helpful tips to help you deal with your mental health at work.
One thing that can slip the mind when it comes to mental health is the basics, every day activities such as eating right and exercise can have a drastic change on how your feeling. I find that having a healthy substantial breakfast before a day at work can have a tremendous boost on your mood, as well as drinking water throughout the day.
Exercise is also a great for keeping you happy but don’t splash out bills on gym membership, you can do all the exercising you need in the comfort of your own room. Sit ups, press ups, pull ups, squats, planks, the list goes on and on, and doesn’t cost a penny.
Talk To Someone
In some industries it can be hard to tell your boss about your mental health, but if you decide to let them know it can make dealing with it at work a lot easier. Ask to speak to them in private and let them know you’re not feeling too good at the moment, you don’t have to say what you’re suffering from if that makes you uncomfortable.
Find someone in your workplace you trust, a colleague who has your back as it helps to be honest about your feelings. This can also be helpful if you need someone to console and comfort you if you’re feeling a bit low.
Take A Break
Taking a short or long break can really help you collect yourself and piece things back together without having to worry about work. Asking for just five or so days’ holiday may make all the difference, especially if you’re in a downward spiral, as pushing yourself at work when you’re feeling low is never healthy. It’s also important to switch off sometimes, continuously problem solving and brain storming can leave you feeling drained, so a break can make you more productive when returning to work.
Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
Living with mental health is hard enough as it is without beating yourself up about it.
Congratulating yourself for little things like getting up, eating breakfast and getting to work on time can really help to ease stress and focus on things you need to get done. Personally, setting myself easy challenges like eating a full breakfast and being five minutes early for work helps me to compose myself for the day. If you’ve got through a whole week without letting your feelings affect your work, pat yourself on the back. The simplest of things can often prove the most challenging and thats why it’s important to be proud of yourself.
Accept The Bad Days
Sometimes we can eat as healthy as ever, smash out a workout session and still be feeling pretty shite, sometimes we feel awful even when you felt great the day before.
This is totally normal.
Part of dealing with mental health is accepting that not every day is gunna be gravy, sometimes you’re just not feeling up to it and you coast by in a kind of waking slumber/trance. This is not uncommon in mental health but can throw people off if they’ve had a positive few days and then wake up feeling defeated. The best way to deal with this is to just ride it out, thinking positively and telling yourself that tomorrow you’re going to wake up feeling great.
A great way in dealing with those bad days is finding coping mechanisms that can help keep you calm and collected in the workplace. Simple things like breathing exercises: inhaling to a count of four, holding your breath to four, exhaling to four, repeat, and short walks around the block can really steady your head and help you focus on work.
Other activities such as going for lunch with a co-worker, drinking herbal tea and taking a couple of minutes to listen to your favourite music are great for a little break away from work.
Don’t take on so much work that you feel overwhelmed, this will only stress you out more and you’ll find yourself rushing about. Making to-do lists can help you prioritize your tasks and break them down into small and easier to manage portions. Taking work home will also increase stress as your home should be your place to relax and shake off the day, taking work home with you will often blur the line between work time and personal time.
One of the main problems we have at the moment is the taboo around mental health, especially in the workplace. It’s the elephant in the room. No one wants to talk about it yet it effects most people. The best way we can deal with this is being open and breaking down the stigma associated with our mental health, talk to your friends, talk to your family, too many people suffer in silence.