Work can be very fulfilling, but it can also be stressful. If you don’t take steps to protect your mental health, it will be difficult to find success in the workplace. Mental health challenges can interfere with your productivity and prevent you from achieving your goals. Here are six practical tips to help you balance your work and your mental health.

Balancing Work and Mental Health

1. Seek Professional Help When Necessary

Sometimes, your mental health challenges get too big to handle on your own. When this happens, it’s very important to seek professional help. This could include seeing a therapist one-on-one, going to group sessions, or even seeking inpatient rehab for mental health. If your mental health problems are work-related, you may want to seek a therapist who has experience with your industry or your role. This allows them to provide more personalized support.

Therapists and other mental health professionals provide mental and emotional support to help you navigate stressful situations, even if they stem from work responsibilities. They will teach you important coping mechanisms to prevent anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions from interfering with your job. Mental health professionals can also help you get appropriate medication or other medical support as needed.

2. Set Boundaries with Coworkers and Clients

It’s important to set strong boundaries with both coworkers and clients regarding workplace assignments and behavior. Ideally, you should set these boundaries early on to prevent any confusion. Boundaries are particularly important when you’re working remotely and have a different schedule from the rest of your team members. In this scenario, it’s easy to end up working long hours, as others may not be aware of your schedule or your needs outside of work.

Boundaries look different for everyone. You might include a hard start and end time for your day, avoid working on weekends, or refuse to cover emergency assignments from outside your department. Setting boundaries kindly but firmly helps yield the most effective results. Be sure to stick to your limits once you’ve already set them. For example, if you have repeatedly told coworkers that you won’t work past 6:00 p.m., don’t make an exception, even if you happen to have free time that day.

3. Take Breaks Throughout the Day

Working for hours on end each day with no breaks can quickly lead to burnout. Taking small breaks throughout the day is key to maintaining your mental wellness. This could look different for everyone, but ideally, you should take a meal break in the middle of your workday, as well as short 5-10 minute breaks every hour or two.

This is the perfect opportunity to go on a short walk, have a chat with people around you, or do some stretches. This will allow you to refocus and be more productive when you get back to work. Avoid doing anything stressful on your breaks, such as checking the news or doomscrolling social media, as this could negatively interfere with your mental health.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Your mental health and physical health are connected, so it’s important to get enough sleep every night. A healthy sleep routine can help you manage stress more effectively and keep your cognition sharp. You can supplement these effects by drinking enough water and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise.

Try to build a consistent sleep routine each night by going to bed and waking up at the same time. If you’re not used to doing this, you may need to use gentle sleep aids at first, such as melatonin supplements. Cozy bedtime rituals like taking a bath or listening to soothing music can also help you fall asleep more quickly.

5. Use Task Management Tools

If you’re constantly overwhelmed by the tasks you need to do at work, it can negatively affect your mental health. Keeping your tasks organized will go a long way toward keeping stress under control. Use something to help keep track of important task details and due dates, so you can make a schedule that works for you. This could be an online calendar, or you can even keep a written to-do list for yourself.

It’s particularly important to make sure you have enough time to get each task done without feeling overwhelmed. Avoid multitasking, as this can actually negatively affect your productivity and leave you feeling more stressed out. If you’re continuously struggling to get through your to-do list, talk to your supervisor about making your workload more manageable.

6. Create a Comfortable Work Environment

Where you work can have a big impact on your productivity and overall happiness. Whether you’re working in the office or working from home, take time to make your work environment a little more comfortable for you. You won’t be able to focus effectively if your chair is hurting your back or you don’t have enough light.

There are many ways to make your work environment better for you. You can invest in furniture that’s comfortable and sized appropriately for you. This is particularly important if you’re very petite or tall and don’t fit comfortably into standard sized desks and chairs. You can also add decor that makes you happy and helps keep you energized. This could include warm lighting options, plants, photos from home, or anything else that brings you joy.

Final Thoughts

By implementing these practical tips, we can achieve a healthier balance between work and our mental health, leading to increased productivity and overall happiness.

It’s normal for work to be stressful sometimes, but it shouldn’t negatively affect your mental health on an ongoing basis. Be proactive about taking care of your mental health to help prevent some of these challenges. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you’re struggling to handle your mental health on your own.