A lot of workplace wellness tips focus on the importance of physical health, but employees should know that mental health is just as important! Between long hours, built-up stress, and a heavy workload, being a full-time employee can take its toll on your mental wellbeing. In fact, one in four Americans identified work as being a source of anxiety.
Taking care of yourself mentally is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellness. Maintaining a healthy mind helps you cope better with stress, relate with others, and make rational decisions. Good mental wellbeing can also help you feel more productive and accomplished at work.
Ignoring your mental health can lead to some serious health consequences. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately one in five American adults (or 43.8 million) experience mental illness in a given year. This is a sobering statistic that should remind both employees and employers why it’s so important to prioritize mental wellbeing.
By simply adopting some healthy habits, you can stay mentally healthy at work. Below are 15 tips to help you prioritize your mental wellbeing at work:
Maintain a balanced diet.
Your diet does much more for your mental health than you might think! Eating a balanced diet rich with real food gives your brain the nutrients it needs to perform optimally. Whereas eating a diet filled sugary, high-fat processed foods can deteriorate your mood and brain function. Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast, and pack a nutritious lunch and snacks to get you through the workday.
Check in with yourself.
When is the last time you took a moment to really check in with yourself? Most of us don’t evaluate our feelings, stress levels, or mental wellbeing as much as we should. Make it a goal to check in with yourself at least once every workday. Try keeping a mood journal to help track your thoughts and moods throughout the day.
Believe it or not, workplace relationships play a big role in mental health and job satisfaction. Research has even found that those with better relationships in life tend to live longer. Don’t be afraid to socialize more with your colleagues or attend a work outing. If your office doesn’t currently support social connections in the workplace, bring that to your employer’s attention. Every company should offer opportunities for social engagement.
Practice positive thinking.
Research has shown that positivity has a tremendous impact on our physical and mental health. It can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost your resilience to difficult situations. Stay mindful of your negative thoughts throughout the day, and try to transform those negative thoughts into positive ones.
Know when you need a break.
Use up that PTO! Time off from work is extremely important to your mental health. A study conducted by Marshfield Clinic of 1,500 women determined that those who vacationed less than once every two years were more likely to suffer from depression and chronic stress than women who took vacations at least twice a year. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, it might be time to utilize your vacation time ASAP.
Showing kindness towards others helps improve your mood drastically, as it’s linked to increased feelings of happiness. A simple “good morning” greeting to your co-workers or offering help to someone in need can boost your mental wellbeing. Being kind takes very little effort, but it can be highly rewarding.
Leave work at work.
It’s important to distinguish the line between work-life and home-life. When work-life starts to trickle its way into your home-life, your work-life balance will begin to suffer. Try to avoid checking work emails after work hours or during the weekend.
Take a mental health day.
There’s no shame in taking a mental health day. In fact, it should be encouraged at your workplace. Feeling mentally unwell at work can significantly reduce work performance and productivity. Taking even just one day off to focus on your mental health can help you feel recharged and renewed.
Take a daily walk.
Exercise is an amazing way to boost your mood, relieve stress, and reduce your risk of depression. Take a 10-minute walk once each workday. Try walking during your lunch break or start a walking club with colleagues.
Take a lunch break.
Skipping a lunch break might make you “feel” more productive, but in reality, it’s terrible for your brain. Taking a break during the workday is necessary to avoid burnout and mental exhaustion. Even just a 20-minute break from your desk will help you feel more productive and boost your mental wellbeing.
Use an app.
There are many awesome apps that can help you prioritize your mental health and help you practice better self-care. Check out this blog post for a list of the best mental health apps. Most of them are even free!
Laughter is one of the best medicines! Laughter triggers the release of endorphins – your body’s feel-good chemicals. This helps reduce stress and boost energy. Try reading something funny over your lunch break or spending more time with a colleague that has a good sense of humor.
Don’t ignore stress.
Ignoring stress is one of the worst things you can do for your mental health. Failing to manage stress properly can result in burnout or lead to other mental health issues. Practice stress-relieving activities on a daily basis and educate yourself on different stress-coping tactics.
Organize your workspace.
A clean and organized workspace is a great way to alleviate stress. A cluttered desk can make you feel anxious, disorganized, and flustered. Start cleaning and organizing your workspace once a week to help boost your mental health.
Seek treatment when needed.
If you ever feel too stressed or mentally unwell, you should always speak with a professional. According to the Center for Workplace Mental Health, 80% of employees who were treated for mental health problems reported improvements in their job satisfaction and productivity.
Staying healthy at work is about more than just diet and exercise habits. Prioritizing your mental health can help you stay healthy, happy, and live a longer life. We hope some of these tips help you stay mentally healthy at work.
How do you prioritize your health during the workday? Share some tips in the comment section below!
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