29 Oct 10 Tips to Look After Your Wellbeing at Work
The Technology industry is a fast-paced game with high stakes. Tight deadlines, diverse technical challenges and demanding projects are inherent to this competitive field, but they can also make it easy to neglect your own wellbeing.
The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to look after your workplace wellbeing. We’ve put together ten tips to look after your wellbeing at work.
What is Mental Health and Wellbeing?
The majority of working professionals spend about a third of their lives at work. It’s little wonder then that our work lives significantly impact our general mental health and wellbeing.
The Australian Government Department of Health defines mental health as a state of wellbeing that enables you to deal with what life throws at you. It’s about maintaining resilience, enjoying life and having the ability to engage with others.
In the context of mental health in the workplace, a reduced feeling of wellbeing may be caused by stress, challenging workplace culture, unexpected change, heavy workloads or a lack of support.
The Importance of Workplace Wellbeing
There’s no question that our mental health and wellbeing at work have a massive impact on every facet of our existence. Poor mental health can adversely affect relationships, performance, productivity and even physical health.
On the flip side, if you look after your mental health, you are more likely to be content, productive, happier, healthier and maintain a better work/life balance.
The British Interactive Media Association recently revealed that tech workers are five times more likely to suffer from a mental health problem compared to the wider population. In an industry where your greatest asset is your brain, it’s more important than ever to look after your workplace wellbeing.
10 Wellbeing Tips to Care for Your Mental Health in the Workplace
Don’t aimlessly struggle through each day, hoping things will improve. Start following these 10 wellbeing tips to look after your mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
1. Break projects into manageable chunks
We all know that complex digital and tech projects can often appear overwhelming at first glance. It can be easy to lose hours to a task and still feel like you’ve barely made a dent – an all too familiar and frustrating scenario. Breaking big projects into manageable tasks can make them seem less daunting and give you a sense of achievement each time you tick something off.
2. Don’t compete with your teammates
Nothing good ever comes from comparing yourself to the other people in your team. Everyone has different circumstances, personalities and ways of coping – some may thrive under pressure and others may prefer to work at a steady pace. We’re all individuals, so rather than comparing and competing, begin to appreciate your growth, celebrate your achievements, and plan for your career growth.
3. Take note of your stress levels – and possible burnout
Stress is a normal part of daily life. Everyone experiences it (especially around the time of a tight deadline!), but ongoing and excessive stress can result in burnout. A 2018 user survey by Blind – a workplace app for tech employees – asked one simple question: Are you currently suffering from job burnout? Of the over 11,000 people who responded, more than half (57.16%) answered yes, highlighting just how common this issue is!
Burnout results from striving for too long with too much effort and energy expenditure, so if you feel yourself on the path to burnout, you need to take steps to reverse the course. Check in with yourself regularly and be prepared to make changes before the situation worsens.
4. Maintain work/life balance
Being able to switch off at the end of the day allows your brain to recharge. Taking work home, logging in after-hours and answering endless office phone calls can be detrimental to your ability to properly rest. Let yourself have time to relax, do things you enjoy and spend time with your loved ones.
5. Take regular breaks at work
It’s all too easy to get lost in work and find that you’ve been sat at your computer for nine hours straight. While this might lead to increased output, it isn’t a healthy way to approach work. It’s important to take the odd break so you have the chance to clear your head and let your body and brain relax. Whether it’s grabbing some lunch or a coffee, taking a walk outdoors, or popping out to run an errand, taking a break will help you refocus once you’re back at the desk. Ultimately, it will support both your productivity and your wellbeing.
6. Implement time management
When things seem overwhelming, time management is essential. It’s all about prioritising and getting the most critical tasks done. However, sometimes time management requires outside assistance. If your workload is unmanageable and you’re being asked to deliver more than is possible, talk to your manager about how you can prioritise the most urgent tasks and possibly put some others on hold.
7. Work to a routine
A regular schedule can help us take control of life where we can. Simple habits like getting up at the same time, taking your lunch break, finishing work on time, or going to a daily gym session can all give us a feeling of control. A certain degree of flexibility is necessary for those last-minute meetings, but even having a regular lunch break can add to your overall sense of stability.
8. Maintain your physical health
There is an undeniable connection between physical health and mental health. Getting enough sleep, eating well and making time for physical exercise all contribute to our physical and mental wellbeing. Continually cutting corners on the basic cornerstones of good physical health (think skipping lunch or not moving for eight hours) has the potential to compromise your overall wellbeing.
9. Be kind to yourself
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. We set ourselves idealistic goals, expect unrealistic results and establish vicious cycles where we just can’t win. When things seem a struggle, don’t be too hard on yourself. Let yourself be human and acknowledge the emotions that come with the circumstance. If you feel it will help, talk to a trusted friend, your manager or a professional. Sharing our experiences and receiving support can often bring perspective to a situation.
10. Watch for warning signs
Despite our best efforts, there can still be times where we find our mental health and wellbeing slipping into unwanted territories. If you feel this happening, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Common signs could be changes in your mood, withdrawal from work and colleagues, feeling overwhelmed, lacking motivation, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue or anxiety.
The impact of our workplace wellbeing on our overall quality of life is intrinsically linked. And in such a fast-paced and competitive industry, it’s more important than ever that you’re aware of how your work life might be affecting your mental health and wellbeing.
If you feel like you’re struggling and can’t ask for help at your workplace, please make sure you contact a professional support service or medical professional. A helpline, your GP or your organisation’s EAP are all great choices, and they’re there to help.
In situations where a change of scene may be in your best interests, we recommend reaching out to a Technology recruiter to discuss your options. They’ll be able to empower you to make the right decisions for your future – whether it’s at your current workplace or exploring new horizons.
If a change sounds like the right approach for improving your workplace wellbeing, speak to our team of Digital & Technology recruitment specialists at Emanate Technology. We’d love to help you find your next opportunity in Brisbane or Canberra.