The work environment is unarguably one of the places where we spend most of our adult years and as an employee or employer, you are faced with daily tasks that can be physically and mentally draining.
From meeting deadlines to dealing with unbearable colleagues and bosses to late salaries, to working late hours, traffic to and from work, unfavorable work conditions – all these add to increasing one’s stress level, thereby making it very necessary to protect your mental health at work.
For optimum productivity at work, you must be able to recognize the triggers in the work environment, draw the line when you feel overwhelmed and always strive to protect your mental health.
Having spent close to seven years in paid employment, I have seen people go in and out of jobs for one reason or the other.
One thing is certain, no one in the workplace is indispensable or in the words on Rihanna, don’t go thinking you irreplaceable.
Unfortunately, if one has to be unavoidably absent from work as a result of illness or demise, your role can be delegated to another person (and almost immediately if I must say).
So, what again is your reason to not protect your mental health at work?
How do you plan to sustain that good record you already have if you are not fit to make good decisions?
Your mental health is first your responsibility before anyone else and it is fine to guard it jealously.
Employees have almost similar encounters at work and these can also be peculiar to each individual, but if an event at work makes you uncomfortable, it is a clue that you need tips to protect your mental health.
1. Always Speak Up.
Whether it is covering up your blunder or that of a colleague, not being able to complete a task, facing harassment, putting up with a condescending colleague or managing an overbearing boss, always let someone know about it.
Remaining silent about an issue that bothers you never gets the problem solved. The torture from suffering in silence while waiting for time to whisk away is exactly what messes with your mental health.
Find ways to mindfully pass a message or have a conversation with that overbearing colleague or boss. Find out the policy obtainable for different work situations.
Let your superior know if you have done something wrong or have been told to face a panel. Speak out before the tables turn.
If the people or situations in your work environment hurts you mentally, do not sweep it under the carpet.
2. Take A Break.
As much as you love your job and want to be dedicated, it is also possible that you may take on more than you can handle.
There is also a chance that you want to remain reliable, thereby refusing to take a break when you need to.
Do not be irresponsible with your job, but take a break when it is necessary.
I have a colleague who says in the funniest pidgin English – ‘Work never ends, but people can fall ill and money can finish’. This just means, you can never finish working, so go home when it is time and rest when you have to. Take care of yourself and continue the job the next day.
Leave the extra work at the office, unless it is absolutely important and you are not compromising your health.
3. Delegate Jobs, You are NOT Irreplaceable.
Have you met the type of colleagues who want to be on top of every project and task?
Do you have the type of colleagues who dominate tasks and never share tips on the job?
That person should not be you because you will need an extra level of effort to ensure nothing goes wrong. Multitasking without some form of help can be detrimental to your mental health.
Everyone workplace has that one go-to employee who is very reliable and efficient. If you happen to be that employee, delegate tasks so that you can go on leave when you need to.
Share tips on the job so that the job can function in your absence. Do not monopolize your job so much that you do not give room to function socially or have a work/family life balance.
Again, no one is irreplaceable in the workplace. Always make sure you work in such a way that you can also function properly in other areas of your life.
4. Good Interpersonal Relationship with Colleagues.
Never underestimate the benefits of having a good working relationship with your bosses and colleagues. It is key if you want to protect your mental health at work.
The perks are numerous and if anything occurs (need to take a break, dealing with a meltdown), you are sure to get the prompt support you need.
As an individual, work towards building and sustaining meaningful relationships at work.
The office environment comes with its on daily pressure, but if you have people to cheer you up while going about your job, it makes it more bearable.
For the sake of your mental health at work, you also want to communicate with people who have your interest at heart and are not toxic.
Invest in relationships with your colleagues outside the office and build the support system you need to protect your mental health at work.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness will always be a constant tip. You need it in every area of your life.
You need to remember to be deliberate about yourself, your job, your time, your family, your relationships, your actions etc
Be intentional, be aware and in tune with every moment. That is the only way you can tell yourself you have had enough and need to rest.
Being mindful also reminds you to take care of yourself, visit the hospital or schedule self-care activities.
Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
How do you protect your mental health at work?
I will love to read from you.