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Finding balance: protecting your mental health while pursuing professional success

Updated: December 13, 2023
Finding balance: protecting your mental health while pursuing professional success
Finding balance: protecting your mental health while pursuing professional success

Let’s face it, work is a huge part of our lives. We spend a lot of time there, earn our income, achieve our professional aspirations and often make some great friends along the way. A fulfilling job can really boost our mental health and overall well-being. Sometimes though life gets tough, right? Maybe it’s a stressful deadline at work or something else entirely, like our health, relationships, or circumstances.

Here at Yellow.ai, we’re all about creating a workplace where everyone can thrive. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you take care of your mental health while at work. By the end of it, you’ll have some practical tips on how to:

  • manage your own mental health
  • reach out to a colleague in need
  • work with others to create a more mentally healthy workplace for everyone

So, let’s get started!

But first, what is mental health and why is it important?

Mental health is, essentially, how we think and feel, and our ability to handle the ebbs and flows of life. When we’re in a good place mentally, we feel like we have a sense of purpose and direction, have the energy to fully participate in our relationships, workplace, and community, and most importantly, we’re able to reasonably handle whatever life throws our way.

On the other hand, when we are distressed whether it’s due to work, personal issues, or the beginning of a mental health problem, we struggle to cope with most things occuring in our periphery. Especially during these times, we need compassion and empathy response from folks around us.It’s important to reach out for support, whether that’s from a doctor, a mental health professional (if you are a Yellow tribe member – do reach out to our professional mental health partners), or a trusted colleague.

10 ways to look after your mental health at work

Well, improving our mental health and building resilience is something we can all work on. Self-care is as much an art as it is a skill, and as it is with any skill set, we get better at it the more we practice. True, it’s not always easy, but we must . To help you get started, here are ten evidence-based ways to improve your mental health:

  1. Talk about your feelings

Did you know that talking about your emotions can have a positive impact on your mental health? It’s not a sign of weakness, rather it’s a way to assess and reflect on your feelings.

That said, we know that talking about personal feelings can be tough, especially in a work environment. If you have supportive colleagues or a manager who regularly checks in on your well-being, take advantage of that.

  1. Keep active

And the good news is, exercise doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym or playing sports. Experts recommend getting about 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week, so try to find something you enjoy doing and make it a part of your daily routine. (https://winandoffice.com)

Taking a walk or or engaging in a short workout before/after work can make a huge difference in how you feel. It’s proven that exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good, so it’s definitely worth making time for in your busy schedule.

  1. Foster Positive Relationships

Positive relationships with colleagues and managers can go a long way in protecting your mental health at work. Building supportive and respectful relationships can provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation or stress. Make an effort to connect with coworkers, participate in team-building activities, and communicate openly and honestly with your colleagues.

  1. Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment and paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. This technique can significantly reduce stress levels and contribute to an overall sense of well-being. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, such as meditation, deep breathing, or simply taking a few moments to focus on your surroundings.

  1. Stay Organized

Disorganization and chaos can contribute to feelings of stress and overwhelm. Staying organized can help you feel more in control and reduce stress levels. Set up systems and routines that work for you, such as using a planner or calendar, creating to-do lists, or breaking larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps.

  1. Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is a really powerful tool for improving one’s mental well-being. Focusing on the positive aspects of your life and work can help shift your mindset and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Take time each day to reflect on things you’re grateful for, whether it’s a supportive coworker, a successful project, or simply a beautiful day outside.

  1. Care for others

Engaging in volunteer work can be an immensely fulfilling experience, and it allows us to gain a different perspective on the world. This can help to put our own problems into perspective, and can often help us find ways to deal with challenges in our lives.

How the Yellow Tribe does it

In all the eagerness to be kind and supportive of those around us, we often forget to be kind to ourselves, and usually end up being our own harshest critic. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Stop and fill your heart with kindness for yourself first.

We asked the Yellow tribe members to share seemingly small but powerful ways to care for one’s mental health, here’s what they had to say:

“No longer feeling guilty about adjusting meetings to have at least one hour in a day to work out.”
Emiko

“Realizing the power of a lean calendar! Some meetings really can be emails.”
Ravi

“If a task seems huge, just concentrate on the next immediate task. You don’t have to run the marathon yet, just get in those shoes.”
Bulan

“Journaling – writing about my feelings, thoughts – allowing space for both positive and negative emotions”
Minervi

“Find time to catch up with friends and create a safe space to talk freely and watch your favorite shows together.”
Cathy

“Encouraging and practising async work so we have fewer ‘sync-up meetings’ and respect each other’s times and working schedules.”
Gulshan

“Learning to apply: you grow through what you go through!”
Vibh

“Making peace with the fact that it is okay to not know everything and ask for help rather than take unnecessary pressure!”
Vatsla

Conclusion

In conclusion, protecting your mental health at work is essential for maintaining overall well-being and preventing burnout. By setting boundaries, taking breaks, practicing self-care, seeking support, managing your workload, fostering positive relationships, practicing mindfulness, taking vacation time, staying organized, and practicing gratitude, you can prioritize your mental health and thrive in the workplace. Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health, so don’t neglect it!

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