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How To Look After Your Mental Health At Work

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How To Look After Your Mental Health At Work

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In the UK, a large number of the population experience mental health issues whilst at work. For many, the stress of trying to stay on top of things whilst maintaining a highly efficient work output can prove to be too much. On top of this, many people face burnout as a result of working too much and not enforcing a good work/life balance.

To highlight how much of an issue mental health is in the workplace, here are some key statistics you should know:

  • 1 in 6.8 people in the UK have or will experience work-related mental health issues
  • Women are twice as likely to experience mental health issues in the workplace
  • Up to 12.7% of sick days are mental health related
  • 95% of employees who call in sick due to poor mental health cite a different reason for their absence
  • £42 billion is lost every year in the UK due to mental health related poor productivity, staff absences and employee turnover

From office workers to construction workers, mental health affects employees across every sector. No matter where you work, you need to look after your mental health in the workplace. If you’re struggling, here are some tips.

1. Don’t Overwork Yourself

There is a tendency for employees to feel like they need to work to the bone in order to be recognised and appreciated. It’s true that there is an unhealthy work ethic in the UK and across the world. It’s drilled into employees that unless they work at maximum output and put in overtime or do bits from home, they’re not a good worker. This simply isn’t true. First of all, you will have bad days and it’s simply not sustainable to work at maximum capacity for longer than a few weeks. At some point, something has got to give, and you need to make sure it isn’t your mental health.

As soon as you acknowledge that overworking yourself will only have a negative impact in the long run (both on your mental wellbeing and your quality of work), the sooner you can work to build a better level of mental health in the workplace. There is plenty of evidence to back up the notion that we are more productive at certain times of the day, so don’t feel bad if you can’t perform at 100% all day every day – it’s simply not possible.

2. Take Annual Leave

Doing overtime every day goes hand in hand with not taking annual leave. A recent survey found that on average, people in Britain do not take five days of their annual leave, with 36% of people saying they have too much work to do to take time off. For those who do take their annual leave, 32% use their holiday for doctor’s appointments, and a further 56% saying they use annual leave to catch up on household chores. In the UK you’re entitled to 28 days annual leave. The idea behind annual leave is to ensure you have enough time to rest and recuperate.

If your mental health is good or bad, it’s important to take annual leave and use it for its intended purpose. This will allow you to really relax and have some much-needed ‘you’ time.

3. Be Open With Your Employer

Most employees with mental health issues do not feel comfortable talking to their employer about their mental wellbeing, but being open is an essential step towards changing the attitude on mental health in the workplace. You can’t be fired for mental health issues. In fact, you might be surprised at the effort your employer goes to to improve your mental health and make your workplace more suited to the needs of both you and your colleagues.

Summary

These tips won’t solve your work related mental health issues, but they could go a long way to allowing you to better manage your symptoms and making going to work an overall more positive experience.

Featured Image: Supplied by the author
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