How do I Improve my Mental Health at Work

Behavioural psychologist: You can’t pour from an empty cup, so it’s time to put yourself first. Putting yourself first means taking time for self care, enforcing your boundaries, and treating yourself with kindness. Your needs are just as important as everyone else’s, so it’s not selfish to prioritize yourself sometimes. We’re here to help you start taking great care of yourself by putting yourself first.

This article is based on an interview with our certified life coach.

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Behavioural psychologist

Things You Should Know

  • Take time for yourself so you can rest, practice self care, or pursue a hobby.
  • Ask for help when you need it, and say “no” when something isn’t right for you.
  • Be compassionate toward yourself and give yourself permission to do what’s right for you.

It’s okay to say “no” sometimes. If you’re not careful, people will demand too much of you, leaving you burnt out. To prevent this, establish boundaries with your friends, family, and coworkers so you can put yourself first when necessary.  If someone violates your boundaries, explain that what they did isn’t okay.

  • You might tell your coworkers that you’re unavailable after work hours.
  • You could ask friends not to call or text you after 10:00 p.m. because that’s when you wind down.
  • You may ask your partner to complete some chores on their own.

You can’t do everything on your own. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it because everyone needs a helping hand from time-to-time. When you need something, try asking in person because people are more likely to say “yes.” Additionally, be direct about what you need and how they can help.

  • “I’m swamped with work this week. Can you take care of the laundry?”
  • “I made an appointment after work today. Could you pick up the kids?”
  • “I won’t be able to give this project the attention it needs with my current workload. Could you ask someone else?”

    Behavioural psychologist

Give yourself time to unwind, even if chores go undone. You need to fill your cup before you can fill anyone else’s, which means you need rest. To make sure you have time to relax, schedule time to rest into your week, whether it’s a few hours or an entire day. Treat it like any other appointment and stick to it.

  • Spend an evening at home under a comfy blanket.
  • Spend Sunday morning drinking coffee and reading.
  • Take a quick 20 minute nap when you feel tired.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.

Blow off steam every day so it doesn’t build up. To help reduce your stress choose stress relievers that are easy to include in your daily habits. Try to engage your five senses because you’ll be able to relax more easily. Here are some ideas you could try:

  • Savor hot herbal tea.
  • Apply a scented lotion.
  • Light a candle and listen to calming music.
  • Take a bath with scented bath salts.
  • Go for a walk outside.

    Behavioural psychologist

You deserve time to do something you enjoy. Schedule a block of time every day that you can use to enrich yourself.  Spend this time doing something like relaxing, watching your favorite show, reading, or making something.

  • Do something creative.
  • Work on a puzzle.
  • Sit outside and enjoy a beverage.

Pick up an old hobby or start a new one that brings you joy. Try to engage in your hobby at least once a week, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You might even pick something you can carry with you, like knitting or playing handheld games. Here are some hobbies you might try:

  • Drawing.
  • Painting.
  • Gaming.
  • Gardening.
  • Playing an instrument.
  • Knitting.
  • Woodworking.

Create an abundance mindset by counting your blessings. When you act from a mindset of abundance, you’ll feel happier and more fulfilled. To help you focus on the good in your life, make a gratitude list by writing down three things every day that you’re grateful for. You could also thank people when they do something special for you. You could be grateful for:

  • Your home.
  • Your friends, family, and partner.
  • Your pet.
  • Your job.
  • Delicious food, like chocolate.
  • Coffee.
  • Beautiful weather.

Behavioural psychologist

Nourish your body by eating healthy foods. It’s hard to stick to a healthy diet after a long day, but nutritious food gives you energy and supports good health.  In general, eat more fruits and vegetables, as well as complex carbohydrates. On the other hand, limit sugar and saturated fat.  You deserve to feel your best, so fuel your body well.

  • Try meal prepping on Sundays so you have healthy meals for the entire week.
  • Snack on low-prep fresh foods, like baby carrots, apple slices, or bananas.
  • Prepare bigger dinners so you can eat leftovers for lunch the next day.

Exercise improves your wellbeing. In general, you need about 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week for health. Pick an exercise that you enjoy so that it’s easy to stick to your goals, and make an exercise schedule. Plus, you’ll have more fun.

  • Take a dance class.
  • Go for long walks.
  • Follow along with a video workout.
  • Play a recreational sport, like softball, tennis, or basketball.

Meditate daily to reduce stress and improve your well-being. For a simple meditation, sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Then, focus on your breath while clearing your mind and sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes. If your mind wanders, gently refocus on your breath. You might also repeat a mantra, like “peace” or “calm.”

  • Try apps like Headspace or Insight Timer for free guided meditations.

Behavioural psychologist

Be kind to yourself. If you’re too hard on yourself, you’ll burn out really easily. You’re only human, so you’ll make mistakes sometimes. When you do something wrong, acknowledge your responsibility and try to make it right. Then, move on and let go of any guilt that you feel over what happened.

  • Forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made in the past.
  • Apologize for your mistakes, then start fresh.

Listen to your inner voice when making decisions for yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else does, so it’s important that you do what’s right for you. Start by surrounding yourself with people who support you and by speaking kindly to yourself. Trust yourself to decide what’s right for you.

  • Learn to listen to your intuition. Start by grounding yourself by breathing deeply and imagining a cord connecting you to the earth. Then, ask yourself yes or no questions. Let the feeling in your body give you the answer.

Behavioural psychologist

Change how you think about putting yourself first. Start by confronting any beliefs you might have about it being selfish or lazy. Then, give yourself permission to put yourself first. Additionally, remind yourself that there’s no deadline for changing how you treat yourself or for trying something new.

  • When you think something like, “I’m being selfish for prioritizing myself today,” counter with, “I need to take care of myself before I can take care of others.”
  • If you think, “Saying ‘no’ to that new project is lazy,” combat it with “I need to rest if I want to be my best.”
  • Keeping a journal can help you work through your thoughts and beliefs.
  • Talk to a therapist if you’re struggling to put yourself first.  You can attend therapy appointments online through BetterHelp.

  • Talk to your family and friends about needing to put yourself first sometimes.

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