Since it’s Mental Health Week, emphasis on the week part, we want to talk about the place where we spend most of our time during the week: taking care at work.
Most people work a 36-40 hour week, but there are also a lot of people who work more or less than that. Regardless of how much you work, it can still take a toll on your mental health. Why? Because we are all trying to find a balance in life, and sometimes work can both help and hinder that balance.
Taking care at work: Workplace stress occurs when:
- The demands of our role exceed the time available to us to perform in our role.
- There are inadequate resources available to succeed in your role.
- You’re exposed to potentially toxic or traumatic environments.
- There is a lack of support from your colleagues or management.
- Organisational changes affect morale, job security, and the requirements of your role.
- Reward and recognition is missing from your work.
- Your environment isn’t physically safe.
A lot of things can contribute to workplace stress, and while anxiety and depression are different to workplace stress, unchecked stress can lead to greater mental health and wellbeing issues.
So what can you do to help make your work day a little less stressful?
Take regular breaks. Change your physical position at least once every hour.
Go for a walk at lunchtime – even if it’s just around the building! Keep an eye on your phone’s health app to track your steps and try to get more in each day.
Plan your time:
- Can you fit in a walk before work?
- Can you prepare your lunch the night before so you’re eating healthy and not rushing in the morning?
- Can you consider flexible working hours to manage both work and personal commitments more effectively?
- Does your work provide an employee assistance program (EAP)? If you need to, give them a call. Being proactive will help keep you in good mental shape.
Go home on time. According to the ABS, over 60% of Australians work over 40 hours per week and 20% work over 50 hours per week!
Leave work at work. Do you need your work emails on your phone? Do you need to be contacted at all hours? Consider ways to disconnect with work after hours. You may be surprised by how little it is actually necessary to be connected and by how much better you feel as a result of letting go.
Say no. If something is outside of your realm of responsibility, or perhaps you’re swamped and can’t prioritise new requests, now may be the time to speak up and clearly outline why you have to say no.
Talk to your colleagues about ways to be more productive and more efficient.
If you are struggling to cope, call one of our SuicideLine Victoria counsellors on 1300 651 251.
If it is an emergency, call 000.