Mental health challenges pose enormous issues for both employees and employers. In fact, one estimate found that employees with unresolved depression face a 35% reduction in workplace productivity.
Managing your mental illness at work can be difficult, but it's possible to mitigate your symptoms and take care of yourself. Moreover, you are absolutely capable of having a productive and meaningful career! Let's get into the tips you need to know.
Recognize Your Workplace Triggers
Spend some time identifying the people, places, or situations that make you feel anxious or depressed. While it's impossible to eliminate all these triggers, awareness allows you to plan for them.
Think about how you can cope with these triggers before they arise. For example, if you identify that you experience panic attacks before presentations, think about how you can integrate deep breathing in the moments before the speech. Or, if you feel insecure around your boss, rehearse sample dialogues while driving to work.
Keep Yourself Organized
When you start your workday, dedicate a few minutes to set an intention. People often jump into a never-ending to-do list, only to feel completely overwhelmed by the end of the day.
Instead, write down your most important tasks. What absolutely needs to get done first? After you finish that task, think about what you need to do next.
Don't forget to take advantage of reminders. Use post-its, cell phone alarms, or anything else that can help you stay on track.
Hydrate and Eat Regularly
You need to fuel your body accurately to give it the energy it needs. Make sure that you dedicate enough time to eat, and consider packing meals in advance.
Bring a refillable water bottle and sip on water throughout the day. Staying hydrated is key to feeling refreshed and attentive.
Avoid Gossiping at All Costs
Even if it's tempting to jump into the banter with your coworker, resist the urge. Gossip often jeopardizes workplace safety, and it can compromise your reputation. You never know what might get back to the other person.
If someone starts venting to you about another employee, validate their concerns and firmly express that you don't have anything to contribute to the conversation. Please encourage them to reach out to that employee or your boss.
Set Realistic Boundaries
It's important to acknowledge your needs and maintain a work-life balance. However, only you can set your own boundaries.
If you always jump in and offer help, people will grow to expect that eagerness from you. At the same time, if you always answer the phone when you're not in the office, your boss will assume you are readily available.
Remember that it's okay to take breaks. In fact, research shows that employees who take routine breaks tend to be happier and more productive overall.
Take Care of Yourself After Work
What are you doing in your spare time? Are you spending time with loved ones? Pursuing a creative hobby or artistic passion?
In other words, do you have other outlets besides work? If not, it's important to reevaluate your schedule! Work may be a part of your routine, but it shouldn't be the only task in your life!
Consider setting a ritual after you leave work each day. Maybe it includes meditating for a few moments and calling a trusted friend. Perhaps it's engaging in a long, vigorous workout. Whatever the ritual is, it should uplift and inspire you.
Create an Optimal Workplace Environment
If you have your own office, personalize it as best you can. Add plants and picture frames with loved ones. Create an environment that feels homely and enjoyable to you.
Even if you don't have your own space, focus on making the most of your environment. This may mean practicing more gratitude for your coworkers. It also might mean offering suggestions as to how you can make the workplace more engaging and inviting for everyone.
Reach Out To Your Boss or HR
If you continue to struggle with your mental health, talk to your boss or human resources representative. They can provide you with support and potential accommodations for your condition.
Employers cannot discriminate against people with mental health conditions. That said, it's entirely your discretion what you choose to disclose. It's okay to only share details that feel safe and comfortable for you.
But keep in mind that most employers want to support their employees. They just can't read your mind!
Seek Professional Support For Managing Your Mental Illness at Work
It's a good idea to consider therapy, coaching, or a psychiatric evaluation if you continue to struggle with your symptoms. Seeking professional guidance can provide you with the validation and support you need.
At The Mental Health House, we want to see our community members integrate into society successfully and happily. We are passionate about our coaching, training, and ongoing support. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.