Last Updated on July 19, 2022 by Morris Green
Work can be a grind sometimes, even when you like what you do for a living. If you don’t like your work, for any reason, going in day after day can make you feel as though you are trapped, especially when it’s occupying your thoughts during off-hours. There are a lot of variables that, on any given day, can cause you stress.
If you feel as though your mental health is getting ragged at the edges, it might be time to consider ways to cope. Stress can cause tunnel vision in that it might seem like you’re spending your days recovering from one negative episode and bracing yourself for the next. Whether it’s the type of work, the hours, your boss or colleagues or some other aspect of the job, there are ways to protect your mental health at work.
1. Establish and Honor Your Boundaries
You might think that being a team player means saying yes to everything requested of you. Though it’s hard to say no, you should be aware when folks are piling things onto your workload that aren’t part of your job. If you feel as though your boss has given you something overwhelming, speak up. If your colleagues are trying to unload their burden onto you, speak up.
A good technique is to practice these conversations before you have to have them. If your colleague asks you to help with the email marketing campaign, for instance, learn how to say no efficiently and clearly. You can’t control their reaction, but at the end of the day, you’ll be responsible for your work while they will certainly figure out a way to get theirs done, too.
2. Don’t Take It Home With You
Easy to say but hard to accomplish, leaving work at the office starts by not talking to yourself on the way home. If you do this, your mind is literally trying to process the negatives to help you understand or feel better, and you’re not alone.
Though it can be hard to control your mind and you may want to invest in yoga or mindfulness to help disappear the black cloud of work stress, it’s easier to physically disconnect. This means not checking your email or any other work-related electronics. Whatever it is, allow yourself to be okay with leaving it at work.
3. Find a Trusted Ally To Vent to
If there’s somebody that you trust at work and you feel like you can engage with them without burdening them, it can be a powerful strategy to discuss your feelings with them. Trust is the key because you don’t want any gossip coming back your way and because you’re going to be saying honest things, possibly about other people.
Talking out loud is so powerful that there are entire therapeutic systems devoted to it. It’s how humans process the things that they go through. A key to the ally relationship is to reciprocate when you can as it can take your mind off of your problems.
4. Employ Stress Relief Outlets
There are loads of real-time stress relief options for when you’re feeling acutely stressful situations. Here are some options:
- Walk around the building
- 5-minute body scan
- Lunch with friends
- Send quick, happy texts to your loved ones
- Play online chess
5. Leave the Drama for the Players
Work communities include all types of people. Some people either enjoy drama or they can’t help behaving in a way that promotes drama at the workplace. Remember that you don’t have to participate. If somebody tries to drag you in, diplomatically dismiss them. You’ll walk away feeling better.
Stress and work will always go together for most people. When your stress spikes and leaves you feeling like you are psychologically at odds with your environment, remember that there are steps that you can take to get your mental health back on track.