- JCI Blog
8 Ways to Balance Your Work & Mental Health
By Sydney Kovach
Working hard and prioritizing your mental health are not mutually exclusive. While finding the right balance for you may be challenging at first, it'll be worth it in the long-run. Here are a few tips you can use to balance your work and your mental health:
Ask for flexibility
Flex time and telecommuting are becoming established as necessities, and many companies are drafting work/life policies. If you ask, they might allow you to work flexible hours or from home periodically. Research shows that employees who work flexible schedules are more productive and loyal to their employers.
Take 5 minutes
Taking a break at work isn’t only acceptable, it’s often encouraged by many employers. Small breaks at work will help clear your head, and improve your ability to deal with stress and make good decisions when you jump back in. Take five, and take a deep breath.
Listen to your favorite music at work to foster concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and stimulate creativity. Studies dating back more than 30 years show the benefits of music in everyday life, including lowered blood pressure. Be sure to wear headphones on the job, and then pump up the volume (and your productivity).
Set Manageable Goals
Being able to meet priorities helps us feel a sense of accomplishment and control. Research shows that the more control we have over our work, the less stressed we get. Make a “to do” list, and take care of important tasks first and eliminate unessential ones.
Do you feel stressed when you just glance at your calendar? If you’re overscheduled with activities, learn to say, "no." It's okay to take a break!
Use your company's Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Many organizations offer resources through an EAP, which offer guidance on issues like where to find a daycare center and caretaking for an elderly parent, as well as referrals to mental health and other services. Taking advantage of your company's EAP can save you time and energy (and save you from unnecessary stress).
Aside from its well-known physical benefits, regular exercise reduces stress, depression and anxiety, and enables people to better cope with adversity. It’ll also boost your immune system and keep you out of the doctor’s office. Find a workout you love, and you'll look forward to treating your body right!
Ask for support
Chatting with friends and family can be important to your success at home or at work, and can even improve your health. If you are persistently overwhelmed, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness—taking care of yourself is a sign of strength.