How to Protect Your Mental Health at Work

With the beginning of a new week fast approaching, today we’re diving deep into a topic that’s absolutely crucial, but often neglected – our mental health in the workplace. As driven, determined women, we know how to take care of business, but it’s high time we start taking care of our minds with the same passion.

The role of mental health in our overall wellbeing and productivity can’t be overstated. It’s the engine that powers our everyday activities, the fulcrum on which our work-life balance rests. It’s not just about surviving the 9-5 grind, but actually finding joy and satisfaction in what we do. So the importance of making our mental health our priority cannot be underestimated.

Now, let’s get real. Being a woman in the workplace often comes with its own set of challenges. The constant juggling act between work, home, and personal life, battling unconscious bias, dealing with that nagging feeling of ‘Am I good enough?’ – it can all add up. Recognising these challenges is the first step towards managing them. Understanding that you’re not alone in these experiences can be incredibly empowering.

Stress and burnout can sneak up on us, often disguised as ‘just another tough week’. However, if you find yourself constantly feeling drained, anxious, or just unable to enjoy your work like you used to, it’s time to pay attention. These could be the warning signs your body is giving you to slow down and reassess. Remember, it’s not just okay to take a breather, it’s absolutely necessary.

In the UK, mental health is protected under the Equality Act 2010. This law ensures that employers can’t discriminate against employees with mental health conditions that are considered a disability. Not all mental health conditions are classified as disabilities, but those that have a long-term effect on your daily activities typically are.

This means that if you’re dealing with a mental health condition like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, your employer is required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate you. This could be anything from altering your working hours to suit therapy appointments, allowing you to work from home, or providing a quiet workspace to help manage anxiety or stress levels.

Also, remember that your health information is your private business. You’re not required to disclose any details about your mental health unless you choose to. Your conversations with HR are confidential and it’s up to you how much you want to share with your colleagues. Your mental health matters and it’s protected by law.

Now onto setting boundaries – an absolute game-changer. Learning to define your work-life boundaries can dramatically improve your mental health. This means learning to say no when you’re overwhelmed, prioritising tasks effectively, and giving yourself permission to disconnect after work hours. Remember, your time is valuable, and you have every right to protect it.

Self care and mindfulness aren’t just buzzwords, they’re essential tools for mental health. Whether it’s taking a few minutes to meditate, practicing yoga, or simply enjoying a quiet moment with a cup of tea, these activities can help calm your mind and reduce stress. It’s about being present in the moment and listening to what your body and mind need.

Seeking professional help when needed is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reaching out to a therapist or counsellor can provide you with the tools to manage your mental health. Remember, mental health professionals are there to help, and there’s absolutely no shame in seeking help.

Building a support network at work can significantly improve your mental health. This could be a mentor who provides guidance, a colleague who understands your experiences, or an ally who supports you. These relationships can make the workplace feel less isolating and more welcoming.

Don’t underestimate the power you have to influence change in your workplace. If you see policies that could be improved or initiated – like flexible work hours, mental health days, or better work from home conditions – don’t be afraid to speak up. Your voice can lead to improvements that benefit everyone.

Finally, there are numerous resources, tools, and apps out there designed to help manage stress and promote mental wellbeing. Meditation apps like Headspace or Calm, online therapy platforms like Talkspace, or even just a reminder app to take regular breaks can all contribute to your mental wellness. Research and find the ones that best fit your lifestyle and needs.

Remember, your mental health is not a luxury or an afterthought, it’s a necessity, as essential as air. You deserve to feel mentally fit, happy, and supported in your workspace. Remember, every step you take in looking after your mental health, no matter how small, is a victory. So let’s stand strong, support each other, and transform our workplaces into spaces of positivity, productivity, and mental well-being. Together, we’ve got this!


One thought on “How to Protect Your Mental Health at Work

  1. This article is such an important reminder of the crucial role mental health plays in our well-being and productivity in the workplace. It’s great to see practical tips for protecting and managing our mental health, as well as our rights as employees.
    founder of balance thy life


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