Top tips for staying mentally healthy at work
It might feel hard to find the time to prioritise your mental health when you're at work – especially if you do a busy or fast-paced job. But even doing a couple of things a day to support your wellbeing can make a big impact. Some of tips below might help you get started.
Reclaim your lunch break
Many jobs will have an hour or half hour break for lunch written into the contract. Make sure you take it. Having a break can make you feel more productive when you come back, and it gives you the time to eat, make a drink, or do some of the other things you need to stay energised and well.
If you feel too busy and need to skip a break one day, that's okay – but try to make the time back, or make an effort to prioritise your break on another day.
Organise a picnic
If it's sunny outside, you could take advantage of the weather and make the most of clean air and good food with your colleagues.
Hold a group activity
If there’s a green space near your workplace why not organise a game of rounders or football, hold a guerrilla gardening session, or a group walk? Take time to enjoy the outdoors and get re-energised for an afternoon of productive work.
Take up a challenge
Local sponsored walks or running events are a great way to keep active. You could sign up with your colleagues and train together during lunch breaks.
Being part of a team can give a communal sense of achievement when you complete the challenge. You could even support Mind’s work by signing up to one of our running events.
Whistle while you work
If you’re feeling stressed, listening to a calming song can take your mind off work for a few minutes and help you unwind and refocus. Research has found slow, quiet music can encourage relaxation and reduce anxiety.
When you’re working hard to complete a task, music can also help to get rid of the distractions around you. By blocking out the noise of your fellow workers, machinery or bleeping phones, you might be able to focus easier on the task at hand.
Listen to your favourite song can also be a simple treat to yourself. Rewarding yourself can give you some added motivation to better tackle a big workload.
Get the work-life balance right
Are you often the last to leave work? There may be times when you need to work overtime to meet deadlines. But try to make this the exception, not the norm.
Long hours means you may be working harder, but not better – and they can quickly take their toll on your concentration, productiveness and health.
Create clear boundaries between work and home
Try not to let work spill over into your personal life. If you need to work from home, or bring office work home, designate a separate area for work and stick to it. That can often make it easier to switch off from work.
Start a To-Do list
At the end of each day, go over your list and write up your list for the next day. When your thoughts are down on paper, you might find it easier to not think about work.
Use the time on your commute home to wind down from work
Read a book or listen to your music to set aside some time to yourself. Maybe try cycling part of your journey or getting off a stop early to take a shortcut through a park or quiet streets. These little actions could help you to switch off.
Ask for help
If you feel your workload is spiralling out of control, talk to your manager or supervisor. If you can't resolve the problem of unrealistic goals, organisation problems or deadlines in this way, talk to your HR team, trade union representative, or another member of staff who might be able to help.
Five ways to wellbeing
The New Economics Foundation have identified 5 essential steps to improving your wellbeing. They're a great way to start thinking about how you can improve your daily working life.