Workplaces and employees alike are often guilty of claiming they’ll make mental health a priority when they have time. With deadlines, projects, balancing home life and daily stressors, however, the time never seems to come. Other things take precedence, and all the while mental health takes a back burner.
It’s not uncommon for mental health concerns to be stimulated or exacerbated by work, but few companies place the same amount of emphasis on mental wellness as they do on productivity. Sadly, businesses rarely notice that shifting priorities and making mental well-being a priority actually boosts productivity and has numerous other benefits as well.
If the hustle and bustle of workplace stress have negatively impacted your mental health and you’re looking to make a change, look no further. In this guide, we’ll share tips for how to make your mental health a priority and the perks you can expect to enjoy when you do.
Make your mental health a priority
It can feel counterintuitive to expend extra time and energy working towards something when you’re already bogged down, but following these tips are well worth the time. When you invest in rest, re-centering and meaningful reflection, you’ll find that your emotional state is much more equipped to handle the difficult tasks of your career. Here’s what you can do.
Take little breaks to yield big results
What most people gauge as the average work day is eight hours. According to a Gallup poll, the results are much longer. Americans work an estimated 47 hours per week on average. That’s nearly a full additional workday every week. Considering that most workers spend such a large portion of time at work daily, it’s important to take time to break up the day and rest.
While some of our work requires deep brain focus and sustained effort (and much of this depends on a person’s specific job), constantly concentrating is emotionally taxing, especially if it requires us to remain stagnant. It’s good for your brain and your body to take frequent short breaks multiple times a day. Aim to incorporate at least five minutes of movement each time and minimize your opportunities to fall into time-sucking distractions (like social media).
Embrace mental health conversation
Making mental health in the workplace a priority can be a challenge. There are often generational or cultural stigmas surrounding mental illness, and starting the conversation can be daunting. However, once the door is open to talking about and supporting mental health, you’ll be surprised how many people will embrace the topic and become advocates.
Offer spaces to promote mental health
As an employer or an employee, it’s important to advocate for spaces for mental health breaks. Whether you set up a corner of your desk with calming images and fidgets, or designate a section of the building for active breaks and relaxation, a physical space designed to promote calmness with tools to reduce anxiety can serve as a reminder that mental health is a priority and doesn’t exist in opposition to productivity.
Workplace stress is one of the primary contributors to mental health concerns. Whether you feel that your work tasks are too demanding, the hours you work interfere with family life or your boss contacts you at all hours of the day. Setting clear and reasonable boundaries can minimize your distress and help you be effective in your job without compromising your life outside work.
The best way to ensure that your boundaries are respected while simultaneously fulfilling the responsibilities of your role is to have a conversation with your superior regarding expectations. It’s fair to express your own desires, too.
Why should mental health be a priority?
Many employers and employees have wondered why mental health should be a priority, especially in a formal setting like a business. Mental health is a personal matter and disclosure of struggles should never be forced, many people struggle with mental health concerns and normalizing the impact it can have on work allows employees to feel that they’ll be supported by their employer when issues arise.
In addition to normalizing mental health, there are numerous reasons why mental health should be a priority.
Employees who support mental health and provide resources and services benefit from reduced absenteeism, greater productivity and reduced employee turnover
Employees who live balanced lives are more likely to be energized and in a positive mood at the workplace
Signs of positive mental health make a company attractive to potential employees
Employees who take care of their own well-being will engage well with other employees and communicate appropriately, reducing workplace conflict
Employees who feel supported by their company are more likely to be aligned with its mission and contribute to the best of their ability
Employers who treat their employees with respect and care foster relationships of mutual benevolence
Mental health and the success of a company are never at odds. Fostering mental wellness practices and beliefs in a business promotes balanced lifestyles for employees. It’s a win-win situation that benefits employers and employees alike.
Supporting employee mental health
If your comping needs some guidance in supporting employee mental health, check out Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP. Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP is a premier employee assistance program that offers a wide range of high-quality services. Supporting day-to-day mental well-being as well as mental health crises can be managed with the tools Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP provides.
Decrease absenteeism, increase productivity, minimize employee turnover and maximize work performance when you get started. Contact Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP today to make mental health a priority in your workplace.