Managing Mental Health at Work

Did you know that one in four people will be affected by a mental health issue at some point in their lives?  This could range from issues like severe depression, anxiety and/or panic attacks or even stress.  Stress is often dismissed as just a part of everyday life but if not managed correctly it can have a major impact on both our mental and physical health and our overall wellbeing.  Have a look at some of the ways that you could manage stress in the workplace…

Get organised

If you feel overwhelmed by your workload it is bound to have an impact on your stress levels.  Take the time to break your work down and get organised to make it feel more controllable.  Many people find writing a list and then prioritising the tasks can help to make the work feel immediately more manageable. It also helps you to feel that you have achieved something as you tick the items off your list.

Make the most of your downtime

It’s unlikely that workplace stress will go away altogether so making the most of your time away from the office can help you to calm down, relax and recharge so you feel ready to tackle the office again the next day.  Whether you chose to unwind by relaxing on the sofa or going for a run, find what makes you de-stress the best and do this as much as you can outside of work.

24/7 access to our emails can sometimes leave us feeling like we never really leave the office.  If you find switching off a problem, give yourself some strict rules and stick to them, such as, no emails after 8pm or a policy of switching the laptop off for the weekend.  This will mean that you have some time when you can focus solely on your life outside of work.  If things are really getting overwhelming, book in some annual leave.  We have annual leave for a reason, so make sure you use it to stop yourself burning out.

Learn to say “no”

Saying “yes” to everything people ask you to do at work isn’t going to make you amazing at your job and indispensable to your boss, it is going to make you stressed, tired and leave you struggling to cope.  It can be hard to learn to say “no” but you need to know your limits.  If your workload is already high and you get asked to commit to yet another big project then being realistic about what you can achieve and giving an honest response to your colleagues will make for a much better work life in the long run.  It may be that you could contribute in another way or that your colleagues realise your workload is too high and are able to step in and help.  Either way being able to say “no” and to hear “no” from our colleagues will make for a workplace that is much better for our mental health.

Take a proper break

When we are busy and feeling stressed it is tempting to give in to the feeling that you should work through your lunch break and just plough on but it is important to take a break. Going outside for a walk can help clear your head and give you a boost to get you through the afternoon.  Just stepping away from our desks to make a drink can help with giving us a renewed focus when we return.  Even if you don’t leave the office, try and leave your desk to eat your lunch.  If you don’t, the likelihood is that people won’t realise you are on a break so will continue to ask you questions or you will be tempted to pick up the phone.  Make use of staff rest areas to read a book, listen to music or catch up with your colleagues while you enjoy your lunch.

Talk to someone

Stress and other mental health issues can be really isolating, especially at work where we like to give the impression that we can cope with whatever is thrown at us.  It is easy to imagine that you are the only one finding things difficult, but it is much more likely that other people have or have had their own mental health issues to cope with. Admitting you need support and finding someone to talk to can make all the difference to the impact of stress on your overall wellbeing.


If you feel like you are struggling with Mental Health issues at home or at work Staff Care Services have some great advice and resources on their website which could help you. Alternatively find out more about our Mental Health First Aid Training Courses which can help to minimise the impact of mental ill-health in your organisation.