Mind Matters: 10 Actionable Tips to Protect Your Mental Well-Being
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an important time to highlight the significance of mental well-being and to promote understanding, support, and self-care. For young professionals in the workplace, this can be challenging, as different generations have different notions surrounding the topic.
PMMI’s Young Professionals Network firmly believes that maintaining good mental health is critical to being the best you at home and in the workplace. You cannot foster meaningful success and relationships without it. So, in this post, we asked our Emerging Leaders Committee members to share tips for how they focus on their mental health and try to lead by example in the workplace. We hope they empower you to take control of creating a healthier work environment for yourself.
It’s easy to become consumed by work demands and neglect your personal needs. Prioritize what brings you joy, whether it be a hobby, exercise, walking your dog, dinner with friends, or simply curling up with a good book. Self-care is never selfish. It’s like the flight attendants say: You can’t save others in the event of an emergency if you don’t put on your own oxygen mask first. By prioritizing your investment in your own well-being, you can bring your best self forward.
Break down your goals into manageable tasks with measurable outcomes. Set long-term goals for larger projects, such as quarterly or annual targets. Additionally, establish smaller goals on a weekly or monthly basis to maintain a sense of progress and experience the satisfaction of success more frequently. This approach keeps your motivation high and helps you stay engaged without feeling overwhelmed.
Kickstart your mornings with coffee. Research suggests coffee consumption is linked to lower depression rates, so fill your cup! Pair that coffee with a friend to keep you company, and you’re strengthening the social connections needed as well to enhance your mood.
Getting enough sleep is critical, not only for your mental health, but your ability to be alert and live a healthier life. Aim for the standard 7 to 8 hours by setting reminders for yourself at least 30 minutes before bedtime so you can begin winding down. Create a sleep routine that is reasonable for your lifestyle and try a reward system to get yourself to follow it. Having enough sleep changes your disposition and approach to the day.
You know the adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well, we aren’t sure how true that is, but we do know that what you eat is linked directly to how you feel, learn, and grow. Eating a nutrient-rich, balanced diet is known to support good mental health. Boost your mood by focusing on nourishing your body with what it needs to thrive.
Engaging in physical activity is not only good for your physical health but your mental health too. Working out can reduce stress, anxiety, and produce mood-boosting endorphins! It’s a win-win-win. Try running, yoga, lifting weights – whatever you prefer will work best in creating this habit. Even aiming to go for a walk outdoors can have a major impact on your mental health and allow you to disconnect from the world for a bit.
In partnership with getting moving, put your connection to the world away so you can connect with yourself. Social media and the subliminal messages we receive about society can cause anxiety or angst, causing us to carry stress we are not aware of, not to mention the strain on our eyes from screens. Find ways to disconnect for a bit and reconnect with what calms you.
Take the initiative to engage in casual conversations with colleagues, discussing random topics like events, trips, hobbies, or interests (avoid controversial subjects like politics and religion). These conversations help foster positive relationships, create a relaxed atmosphere, and promote a sense of belonging within the workplace. When you feel like you belong, your mental state of being is happier.
If you work from home, designate a specific space for work to separate it from your personal life. If you work in the office, do not be afraid to create time blocks for solo work for yourself. Establishing boundaries for your time and you ensures that work does not encroach upon family or leisure time, and you’ll feel more in control.
When you can, establish routines in your life to help navigate the stress that can come with the unknown. Routines help us reduce the feeling of failure that can come with not getting done all we would like to. Start with morning and bedtime routines to create calm in the beginning and at the end of your day. This will help you better tackle what comes your way in the workplace.
Remember, not all of these tips work for everyone. Use trial and error to figure out what works best for you, and be open to speaking with a professional if you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, or just need someone to talk to for any reason.
Do you have other tips that promote and protect your mental health? Get in on the conversation on our LinkedIn network.