It’s hard to take care of your mental health at work. Heck, work-life balance seems an impossible feat even for the undiagnosed. Sometimes we feel like we’re being pulled in more directions than we have limbs.
We rush not only to get things done but to get them done well. Often, the workload seems doable but our perfectionism and paralysis get in the way. Unfinished tasks lead to disappointment, anxiety, and stress. And it carries on the next day.
Stress can be healthy in moderate amounts. It pushes us to become better versions of ourselves. But when stress levels spike to red alert, that’s when the health problems kick in. People become more irritable and less motivated. Mental breakdowns and creative blocks ensue. Personal and professional relationships strain. Then there’s the onslaught of back pain, tension headaches, and crazy blood pressure readings.
One can’t really avoid getting stressed—sorry! But some stressors are self-inflicted and avoidable. It’s all about managing our lifestyles and perceptions, and here’s how.
Have lunch away from your desk
Step out for lunch or coffee with your officemates—or alone. Get a change of environment. You associate your desk with your to-do list. Eating time shouldn’t be part of that because it’s a necessity and not a simple task. Enjoy your food without thinking of work. Make the act of eating sacred. This is a break your body and mind need.
Never work where you sleep
Don’t bring your work home. This is probably everyone’s rule on work-life balance. Home is where we rest and unwind. Don’t contaminate the peaceful energy of your safe space by introducing external stress. Finish your tasks before clocking out. Leave your work persona at the desk. Resume the role when you get back in the next morning.
And, please, go home on time.
Set realistic goals and deadlines
Instead of managing your time, manage your energy. Know how much you can handle and allocate your efforts to what you can do in a day. If you don’t finish a task, it might be because you overestimated your energy.
This is where a to-do list comes in handy. Experiment on task management. Grouping and doing similar tasks together is more effective than flitting from one category to another. Don’t waste your energy on switching gears between projects and emails.
Talk it out with your team or work friends
It’s important to have a support system—even at work. You don’t have to be best buds with everyone, but you’re still all in the same boat. Talk about shared experiences and projects. You never know what advice or new perspectives they’ll give. Find someone at work who listens to you and sees you as a human being with issues outside the office. Do the same for them, too.
Regularly tidy up your space
I’m a firm believer in only having the essentials within sight. Your brain is processing tons of information in so many ways, and the way your space looks is one of them. Hide or put aside materials for later tasks so you can focus on the one at hand. Remember: a clutter-free space is a clutter-free mind. Maybe also get a plant for some natural energy.
Compliment a co-worker on a job well done
A quick utterance of “Hey, good job on that project” goes a long way. We’re all going through our own issues. Sometimes when anxiety levels are high, we just need some validation. We need to know we’re doing something right when everything else seems to be going south.
Try this out for a change: every day, give one compliment to one person on your team. You’ll find that expressing gratitude doesn’t only benefit the person you’re talking to. You’ll feel a lot better, too.
Writer: BELLE O. MAPA