The third Monday of January is infamously known as the most depressing day of the year, or as most call it, Blue Monday. Whether it’s because of the post-Christmas hangover, the realisation of piled-up festive debt, the winter weather, or the ongoing dark days, there’s no denying that something will likely put a downer on your mood. 

On the up-side, the creation of Blue Monday has helped bring attention to the mental health struggles many face during this time of year, leading to an increase in awareness, and resources to help them through it. 

Mondays are already dubbed as the worst day of the week for those who work, so adding the blue on top can be the last straw. Taking care of your mental health within the work environment is essential for your overall well-being, not only on this particular Monday but every day of the year. 

Here are our three golden rules to take care of your mental health at work:

  • Communicate your needs

Regardless of what your mental health needs and struggles are, the first step is to communicate what you’re going through, along with any specific concerns, to the people you answer to at work. 

Unless you make them aware of what you’re going through, they won’t be able to make any adjustments to help accommodate you or provide you with the necessary support. 

  • Establish boundaries 

Having a healthy work-life balance is one of the best ways to ensure you’re taking care of yourself and your mental well-being. Once work is over, make sure you’re fully disconnecting and focusing on other areas of your life. No thinking about pending tasks, or answering emails. Use your free time to rest, both mentally and physically, and to enjoy pleasant activities. 

  • Ask for support

If you can feel yourself beginning to struggle, reach out and ask for help. Sometimes, all you need is a slightly lowered workload, some understanding, and the space to take it a little easier. Professional environments are often able to provide you with some guidance, helping you access the right resources to get you back on your feet. More so, asking for support allows you to talk about what you’re going through, which can make all the difference. 

Of course, a healthy work environment that contributes to your mental well-being hugely depends on the people in charge. So the following section of tips is specifically for those who manage a team: 

  • Listen to your team

Taking onboard any concerns and feedback is essential, and you should strive to implement any necessary changes to better the work environment. Happy workers lead to better performance, trust us!

  • Create clear expectations

A lot of workplace stress can come from bad communication or overwhelming workloads. Make sure you provide clear expectations within the team regarding everyone’s responsibilities, and the resources available to them to complete their tasks. This will help things run smoothly, minimising work-related anxiety. You should also set clear procedures on how to ask for support and guidance!

  • Give praise

Recognising hard work and praising achievements is an excellent way to create a feel-good environment in which your team members feel valued. Positive reinforcement is the best way to encourage certain behaviours within the workplace, and it’s important to appreciate the effort that goes into a job well done, especially during tougher times. 

  • Integrate ‘fun times’ into the work schedule 

Taking the time to wind down and have some fun can hugely boost team morale. It doesn’t have to be a fixed regular thing, but having the occasional fun activity can provide a well-deserved break to the team, and create genuine moments of connection that make everyone feel seen and appreciated. It could be something as simple as hosting a dress-down day, or a team outing to grab lunch!

Something both employers and employees should do is normalise mental health issues, creating a space to talk about them. The more open people can be, the easier it becomes to ask for help or create a supporting community. 
For more tips and insights, read another one of our articles on the It Works blog. Or, if you want to find out more about how we can help your business, get in touch today.