Even work you are passionate about can be difficult and demanding. As stress accumulates, it can take a big toll on your well being and your performance. A UK government study estimates that in 2016/17 there are 526,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety.
Mind is a UK-based charity devoted to improving mental health, and trying to reduce this shocking figure. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. A key aspect of their work involves raising awareness of the importance of well being and mental health in the workplace. They've put together some top tips for battling stress at work and maintaining a healthly work-life balance.
1. Reclaim your lunch break
Make the most of that precious time. Step away from your desk and try a new restaurant nearby or take advantage of a nice day and head outside for a picnic. Try to fit in a quick walk too - stretching your legs and clearing your head for a few minutes can work wonders.
2. Leave work a few minutes earlier
Are you often the last one in the office? Long hours do not necessarily correlate to increased productivity or better work output. In fact, they may lead to quite the opposite – overworking yourself will eventually take a toll on your concentration, productiveness, and health. So next week, why not make an effort to leave work even 10 or 15 minutes earlier?
3. Create clear work-home boundaries
If you do need to bring your work home, be sure to set aside a separate area to do it. It doesn’t matter where it is – the kitchen table, the sofa, your spare room – as long as you have a defined space that you feel comfortable and productive in and which is deliniated from other parts of your life. It is essential that you distinguish between work and home to allow yourself some (physical and head) space in which you can switch off.
4. Start a to-do list
At the end of each day, write down what you need to do tomorrow. This way, when your thoughts are on paper, you can expel them from your mind as you try to focus on enjoying your time at home after work. It may also be helpful to keep a pen and paper next to your bed so that if you mind is racing as you try to drift off you can jot down your thoughts and then concentrate on getting some truly restful sleep.
5. Use the time on your commute home to wind down from work
Use this time to listen to some relaxing music, an entertainig podcast, or to read a book. You could also try to learn a skill which isn't related to work - like getting started on a new language using apps like Duolingo or Babbel. Finally, change up your route once in a while or get off a stop early to spend a little time walking in the fresh air!
6. Ask for help
If you feel overwhelmed by your workload, you are likely to become stressed and your productivity levels may drop. Talk to your supervisor about how to manage or perhaps delegate your work and ask them to help you set realistic goals!
© Mind. This information is published in full at mind.org.uk
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Originally published November 2, 2017