Protecting your mental health at work

Even before the pandemic, working life was stressful and sometimes took its toll on the mental health of professionals. While the dynamic of where people can work has changed, the pace of working and the ways in which we interact have changed.

So whether you work from a desk at home, curled up on a sofa at the shared workspace, or back in your cubicle at the office, here are some ways to ensure you’re not getting ground down by the daily grind.

Varied Focus

During the pandemic, many workers that transitioned to a home working situation felt a sense of anxiety, that they had to work more, be available more, to justify the “perk” of being at home.

The truth about work is that much of it is about focus, and while your environment matters, so too does the way in which you direct your focus.

Focus can be intense. We’ve all had that experience of being deep into what we’re doing, so that we do it for several hours without a break. While that’s good occasionally, and shows you’re into what you’re doing, taking a break is a necessary part of maintaining a mentally healthy balance.

It’s not shirking your work responsibilities to take a break, it’s essential

Schedule time into your day, or snatch it when meetings end early, so that you can switch your focus to something else. Whether that’s to look out the kitchen window while you make a cup of tea, message one of your friends or pay some much needed attention to your cat, these breaks are essential.

Taking time to refocus will improve your mental acuity, allow your brain to cycle down and leave you fresh and ready to tackle the next task.

Breath Deeply

Whether you think it’s zen, mindfulness or just relaxation, deep breaths slow you down.

How many times have you caught yourself getting carried away in a flow of work? Whether it’s email chains you don’t need to be on, chat messages that intrude or simply trying to make progress on a project, we can all be teased into this state where everything is happening too much at once.

Take a deep breath

Diaphragmatic breathing isn’t just good for your body, though it will lower your heart rate and reduce your blood pressure, it gives you something simple to refocus on.

Closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths not only relaxes you but it’s something that, curiously, is very easy to put all of your attention on.

After thirty seconds of deep breathing, it’ll all still be there, the emails, the chat, the complex, immovable project. But they’ll be stripped of the stress inducers that they had just two minutes ago.

Often we think that if we could just hit inbox zero, answer every message, get our project signed off, we could relax a bit. But the truth is if we relax a little periodically we’ll be in a better place to tackle the work than if we come at it from a point of stress.

Ask for Help

It hopefully goes without saying that, if you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.

But often it does need saying.

If you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.

Many companies are vastly better at facilitating mental health concerns now than they were even three years ago. Whether you reach out to an HR professional, a senior staff member or a colleague, let them know how you’re feeling.

Perhaps the simple act of speaking out loud about it to another human being will be enough to take the edge off, perhaps it will lead to some changes that make things better.

Whatever happens after you talk to someone, it’s vastly easier for those things to happen off the back of a conversation than if you keep those feelings unspoken, deep inside.

If you’re feeling the job hunt pressure, get in touch with us today. We can help you find your dream role.

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