How to Protect Your Mental Health at Work

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Published Date|
December 22, 2023

How to Protect Your Mental Health at Work

At home, you’re thriving.

You have supportive relationships, fun hobbies, and you genuinely enjoy the hours you have to yourself.

At work, it’s another story. You feel overwhelmed, anxious, and frustrated - and even worse, your workplace stress is starting to affect your mental health at home, too.

Here at KMA Therapy, we know that “work-life balance” is more than just a trendy topic - it’s a necessary component for a healthy and fulfilling life.

After reading this article, you’ll know how work can impact your mental health, the importance of setting boundaries, and three ways to improve your workplace mental health.

How Does Work Impact Your Mental Health?

You spend a lot of your time at work - so the conditions you work in can play a huge role in your overall mental health.

impacts of work on mental health

Things that can negatively impact your mental health at work include:

  • Long hours
  • Understaffing
  • Excessive workload
  • Lack of pay for the work you’re doing
  • No opportunities to get promoted or raise your salary
  • A lack of support and understanding from management

Even in a great job, you also face the risk of burnout - when long-term stress doesn’t ease, and leaves you feeling emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted.

Why Boundaries at Work are Important

It can be hard to say “no” to a demanding boss or schedule time-off during a busy season.

Setting boundaries at work isn’t always easy - but it’s important for your mental health, and can even make you a better employee overall.

Some ways to set boundaries at work include:

  • Saying no to tasks that are not your responsibility or tasks outside of your job description
  • Identifying your priorities every week (which includes identifying what doesn’t have to be done)
  • Taking time off when you need it (both vacation time, as well as taking smaller breaks during the day

3 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health at Work

These three simple tips can help you improve your workplace mental health.

1. Change your work routine

When you’re doing similar things every day, it can become boring - and even if your job requires you to adapt to new situations, the job itself can start feeling stagnant.

Figuring out small changes you can make throughout your day is a great way to boost your mental health.

If you can’t control anything once you arrive at work, explore what you can shake up on the way there - can you listen to a new podcast during your commute, or check out a cool new restaurant on your lunch break?

2. Take advantage of workplace resources

Does your benefits package cover therapy services? Does your workplace offer mental health resources?

Don’t be afraid to use them!

Many people have insurance for therapy and don’t even know it - check if your benefits package covers “psychological services.”

You can also take advantage of independent resources. If your workplace doesn’t have any self-lead resources, explore those offered by organizations like Calm and the CMHA.

3. Ask for support when you need it

When you’re getting slammed with too many tasks, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

It can be easy to feel like you have to handle every single thing on your own, but delegating tasks to someone with the time to complete them can be one of the most effective ways to prevent burnout.

Delegating has benefits for your mental health, but it also has benefits for the workplace - delegating tasks can enhance productivity, encourage professional development, and help you hone your leadership skills.

Next Steps for Protecting Your Mental Health at Work

After reading this article, you know three new ways to protect your mental health in the workplace.

Here at KMA Therapy, we know that workplace stress can permeate every area of your life. If you need help coping with it, you’re not alone - and our therapy team is here to help.

Register online to get started or download our free Therapy 101 Guide to learn how therapy can work for you.

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Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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