How does mental health affect work life?
Mental health has become more prevalent in recent years, and while people have only started to discuss it more openly in this time, it’s fair to say it has been around for much longer. Mental health issues can affect every aspect of your life, from home to work, and learning your triggers and how to maintain good mental health is incredibly important.
If your mental health is affecting your work life, it’s crucial you speak to your employer. Whether there’s something they can help with or not, they’ll want to know so they can help you in every way they can.
What is good mental health?
Good mental health is often characterised by a person’s ability to fulfil a number of key functions and activities such as:
- the ability to learn
- the ability to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions
- the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others
- the ability to cope with and manage change and uncertainty
Having good mental health isn’t simply the absence of a diagnosable mental health problem, although having good mental health is likely to help protect you against developing such problems. If you’re struggling with your mental health, whether that’s in your personal or professional life, it’s important to speak to someone. There are a number of mental health charities and organisations out there who are on hand to listen.
Why is good mental health important at work?
Having good mental health at work not only benefits your employer, but you as well. Mental health issues such as anxiety can cause someone to lose concentration, making it challenging to multi-task or simply carry out normal day-to-day work activities and responsibilities.
If someone is suffering with anxiety or depression, they may also suffer from paranoia, meaning that even constructive criticism could be taken personally and cause damage to their confidence and future work.
A team or people that have good mental health at work often boast increased productivity, have a much better work-life balance and are happier. This means they’re more likely to produce better results or work and enjoy a more positive atmosphere too.
Top tips on improving your mental health at work
As an employee, there are a certain number of things that you can do to achieve good mental health at work (which will also carry over to your home life too):
- Practice all-round self-care – remember that prevention is better than cure
- Take a break – if you feel overwhelmed, step away from your work and take a breather
- Maintain a positive work-life balance – turn off your computer and leave the office at a reasonable time
- Communicate – it might be difficult to do, but communication is key
- Use employee support – whether there are avenues to follow in your workplace or its simply speaking to your boss, make sure you use employee support where possible
What can employers do?
Don’t worry employees, there are also things your employers can do to help too. If you own a business or run the department that deals with mental health in the workplace, here are some things you can do:
- Make recognition and praise a part of your company’s culture
- Invest in affordable regular employee wellbeing – whether that’s meditation, yoga, team-building or wellness classes
- Show you care with quarterly or half-yearly care packages
- Provide employees with all the equipment they need – sounds simple, but if they need extra equipment such as ear defenders, additional PC monitors, or any other bits of kit, provide it for them
- Make workplace mental health a priority.