Burnout can strike at any time, so look after your mind as well as your business.
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World Mental Health Day – celebrated every year on the 10th of October – gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to have an open discussion about mental health and reflect on ways to improve their own wellbeing.
In the UK, mental health is a particularly important topic within the workplace, with mental ill-health affecting millions of professionals.
In fact, the 2017 Mental Health at Work Report revealed that three out of every five employees had experienced mental health issues in the past year because of work – the most common diagnosis for those that had been formally diagnosed being depression or general anxiety.
Unfortunately, this is a growing problem – just under 30% of businesses surveyed by the British Chambers of Commerce and Aviva said they have been an increase in the number of employees affected by mental health issues in the last three years, prompting experts to suggest more needs to be done to increase both disclosure of mental health issues and support mechanisms for employees.
In light of the growing prevalence of poor mental health at work, there are a few measures that employees can adopt to improve their work-life balance.
Take time out for yourself
While long working hours and tight deadlines can dominate much of our time, it’s also essential to block out some time to focus on yourself and your own wellbeing. Don’t let work take over your life – nurturing and developing your personal relationships, interests, and skills through social activities and engagements is just as important and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Make your physical and mental wellbeing a priority by scheduling in some gym sessions, yoga classes, or spa treatments. Doing something you’re good at and enjoy can also help you beat many mental health symptoms like stress and grief.
If possible, plan your workload around these activities, and encourage your friends and colleagues to get involved – from organising a regular running group, to bike rides on the weekend.
Another tip is to make sure you eat regular, balanced meals. Dedicate some time cooking healthy, homemade meals to ensure you are meeting your daily nutritional requirements. And when possible, try to cut down on your alcohol intake – alcohol is a known depressant and will make anxiety and stress much worse.
Develop end of day habits
If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by your workload and are suffering from anxiety or stress as a result, a simple tip is to develop end of day habits to help you switch off from work.
Make it a habit to tidy your desk before you leave work every day, or to make a list of all the things that need to be done the next day. This can help relieve some of your stress and help you mentally wind down at the end of the day – giving you the evening to focus on yourself and the people you care about.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you become stressed, anxious or generally overwhelmed. Identify someone you can speak to and feel comfortable with – this can be a friend, a partner, or even a colleague. Talking about your feelings with someone you trust helps move some weight off your shoulders and also relieve pent up feelings.
If your mental health issues are taking a toll on your wellbeing and productivity at work, speaking to your supervisor or line manager can be a good step in addressing and overcoming your symptoms. Although opening up about your struggles at work can be daunting, it gives your employer the opportunity to understand the stresses you are dealing with.
If you are hesitant about speaking out at work, there are a number of alternative avenues where you can seek mental health support. For those seeking confidentiality, HealthTech solutions can offer discreet, flexible counselling to address mental health concerns.
Services like Mynurva, for instance, offer an online platform which enables people to receive counselling via a live video call. What’s more, this innovation provides the convenience of quick booking, flexible working times – and is completely confidential. Those reluctant to open up about their struggles can be safe in the knowledge that there are other options that are readily accessible to them.
Everybody can take simple steps to keep their mental health in check and promote wellbeing. Managing your workload and taking time out to focus on yourself are incredibly important to striking an effective work-life balance.
And if you continue to struggle with feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, there are a variety of avenues of support readily available where you can get the help that you need.
Having worked as a GP for several years, Dr Zain Sikafi founded Mynurva to improve access to mental health support. Mynurva provides fast access to therapy or counselling, confidentially, securely and discreetly, via its live video platform. There are no waiting rooms, no travelling is required, and the service is confidential, discrete and secure.