Managing Your Mental Health at Work

For years, the issue of mental health has been swept under the carpet and ignored.

However, with over 70 million working days lost each year due to poor mental health, the time has come to be open and honest about the stresses and strains of the workplace. And how it affects how we think and feel.

Taboo Topic

The Mental Health Foundation reported that 67% of workers feel scared or embarrassed to talk about mental health with their employer. Some are just unable to talk about it, which is perfectly normal.

If the time has come to tell your manager about your struggles with mental health, make it easy on yourself:

Choose a time and place where you’ll feel comfortable and safe. In a meeting room, or even with an HR representative in attendance. It’s important you have the space to express yourself.

Take your time. Talking about poor mental health can trigger an emotional response. Remember, you’re not weak. You’re just tired. Just keep to the facts, you don’t have to go into too much detail for now.

Know your triggers. Outline what improvements you need and how these issues are impacting your performance. You may need flexibility for therapy or doctor’s appointments. Or a quieter work environment to help you concentrate. Whatever it is, give clear details, and prepare to be asked for a doctor’s note.

At least 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue each year

Mental illness has the potential to disrupt every aspect of your daily life. In the workplace, it can affect concentration, decision-making, and resilience. There are some practical steps you can take to help:

Improve your work-life balance. Self-care is important for everyone. Make sure you’re taking time for yourself when you get home from work. Turn off the phone and do not answer any emails.

Practice mindfulness. Focusing your mind on the present moment can help you feel less anxious when things get overwhelming. Head over to our blog article on mindfulness at work for some helpful pointers.

Don’t compare yourself. If your colleagues are confident and achieving their targets, it’s easy to feel like you’re failing. But everyone’s different. Try setting realistic targets for yourself to keep achieving and feeling positive.

9 out of 10 people with mental health disorders experience some form of stigma and discrimination

Since mental illness is not a visible disability, often co-workers don’t understand. Your struggle can be mistaken for laziness and can lead to office gossip and strained relationships. It’s up to your employer to smooth the path for acceptance and understanding.

World Mental Health Day is on 10th October this year. The Mental Health Foundation encourages a ‘tea and talk’ event to encourage conversations about mental health in the workplace.

If you’re struggling with work due to your mental health, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. After a while, you become an expert at putting on a brave face, but it doesn’t have to be that way.