By Mia Casey
No matter where you work, chances are you’re going to go through a rough patch every now and then. The Australian Human Rights Commission supports this, noting that ‘around 45% of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives’. And, unfortunately, work-induced stressed plays a pretty important role. Workplace stress is so common in fact, that on average a total of 3.2 days per worker are lost each year. Anxiety and depression make up the most common mental health conditions for Australians, so taking care of work-related mental health issues is a must.
Did you know?
- Over 5000 workers were surveyed, and a quarter ‘took time off each year for stress-related reasons’.
- After heart disease and cancer, mental health is the third biggest health issue in Australia.
- It is estimated that of 40 people a GP may see each day, 20-25% will need support or treatment for anxiety or depression.
- Only 52% of employees believe their workplaces are mentally healthy.
- In workplaces that are considered mentally healthy, self-reported absenteeism drops by almost half (to 13%), by comparison to mentally unhealthy workplaces.
So how can you look after yourself when work’s stressing you out?
If you’re stressed, then you’re likely not doing your best work. If you’re feeling overwhelmed have a chat with your manager, and review your workplace mental health policies to see how your workplace can help! If you’re still studying, and your study load is really impacting your mental health, have a talk with your tutors or check out some of the mental health initiatives UTS offers (the UTS counselling services is usually free for current UTS students).
Sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day. If you’ve got more work than you can handle, and your mental health is suffering because of it, talk to your manager and coworkers about getting a few more hands on deck!
Even if you can’t take a few days off of work, it’s good to set up boundaries. Give yourself at least a week where you finish work on time, don’t take any work home with you, and ensure you take all of you breaks at work to eat healthy food and do something relaxing.
Do what you enjoy
Seriously, work belongs at work! Organise some weekends where you do absolutely nothing – sit in your pj’s the whole weekend, play a new video game, get stuck into a great book, and treat yourself to some totally delicious takeout. If you need one of these weekends, turning down offers to hang out does not make you a bad person – you need to put yourself first!
If you’re naturally a pretty active person, and a weekend at home would make you a bit stir-crazy, plan a night out to dinner with your friends, visit a beach you’ve never been to before, or see a movie. Just plan something that is purely for fun, has no connection to what’s stressing you out, and can help you find a bit of relaxation on your days off.
See your doctor, or chat with a professional
If things are getting really stressful, and nothing seems to help, it might be time to see what services are available to help you out. If you’ve got a good relationship with your GP, have a chat with them about instilling some good mental health practices in your life, and potentially get some good recommendations. There are also a HEAP of resources online – Batyr has a great list, so check it out!
So many people suffer from mental health issues throughout their lives, so it’s time to take a deep breath and start looking after yourself – because really, life’s too short not to put your own wellbeing first.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.