We are constantly being bombarded from the minute we open our eyes.
Our alarm goes off and we’re checking Facebook, we’re scrolling through our work emails and listening to the radio or tv as we pull our clothes on. Life stresses us out, so do our relationships, and especially work.
Businesses are starting to recognise their part to play in their employees’ wellbeing, with mindfulness workshops, meditation sessions and duvet days off becoming more common place. But although mental health is in our periphery, we still haven’t got to the point where we can reconcile mental pain with physical pain.
Regardless of whether you work for a company that champions wellbeing or not, your mental health is something you need to keep on top of. Here are three ways to make sure you’re safe guarding your mental health.
Being aware of your body, your sleep patterns, the way you cope with stress will help you recognise when things are starting to slip. Extending this awareness to friends, family and your colleagues means that even if they can’t see it, you will. Mental Health Awareness New Zealand has clear advice about the kind of things you need to look out for. Signs include - avoiding social situations, experiencing extreme highs and lows and being disengaged from the things you usually enjoy doing – have a look at the full list here www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/in-crisis/worried-about-someone/
Take time off
Finding the space for “you time” to hit stop and refocus is something we have to timetable into our lives. Training yourself to say no and not feeling weighed down by others’ expectations doesn’t mean your letting people down, sometimes you just need a day off.
“You time” could mean practicing yoga or meditation, but it could also mean watching something mindless on TV, baking a cake or having a bath. If you don’t already have something just for you, think about starting a new hobby (or taking up an old one), Meet Up is a great avenue to connect with people outside of your immediate network and do something you enjoy: www.meetup.com/cities/nz/auckland/
Build a support network
Find someone you can talk to at work. They could be your manager or someone in your team, or maybe they’re someone a bit further afield. There’s a lot to be said for being able to share your concerns and figure out issues you’re having with someone you trust. If you need more guidance at work, start the conversation about getting a mentor – approach the subject with energy and positivity and position the idea as not only beneficial for your development, but also to your performance at work.
Modern living has pushed us to fit more and more into each day. We’re told to be more productive, to do 10 things at once and be thankful for the opportunity. And where does this leave us? We’re stressed, we feel like we never get anything done and we’re trapped in this never-ending to do list. Protecting your mental health starts by knowing what’s normal for you, and then it’s a case of reaching out for support or taking a step back when you need to. Keep checking in with yourself, know your worth and value your sanity. This is YOUR mental health we’re talking about!!