Mental health isn’t something we talk about enough. Mental health issues affect everyone; including you and me. And one of the common causes of mental health issues, however impactful, is a stressful work life.
Burned out by the weekend?
We’re all guilty of doing a bit too much every now and again, juggling too many work and personal commitments and finding ourselves wishing we had more hours in the day or that Friday would hurry up (when it’s only Monday).
But if you find yourself flagging every week, burnt out every night and desperately in need of the weekend, then you’re pushing yourself too hard and it could have repercussions down the line.
Listen to the warning signs from your mind and body, and start to better manage your work-life balance. Yes, your career is important but nothing is more important than your mental health.
Learning to switch off
In a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, it was found that there is a strong link between not being able to switch off from work and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and stress.
Unhealthy habits such as checking emails and taking/returning calls after working hours disrupts the work-life balance and prevents you from switching off from the pressures you experience in work. Never being able to relax puts undue stress on your mind, resulting in mental health issues.
Mindfulness: a healthy way to switch off
Mindfulness has been dubbed a style of meditation that helps you to focus the mind on the current moment. Being more aware of your surroundings and the emotions and thoughts you’re having right now, in this moment, is a great way to detach from the worries of the past and the future, whether they are work pressures or personal worries.
It isn’t hard to put into practice and you don’t need any special equipment or clothing to do it! All you need to do is take some time out of your day (it can be as little as 5 minutes). Sit somewhere quiet and comfortable and switch off your phone/laptop/anything that could interrupt your peace. Start to focus on your breathing. By focusing on your breathing alone, your mind naturally starts to empty of the stressful thoughts that plague you. Sit there and just focus on your breathing and feel that moment for as long as you need to.
There is no limit to how often you should practice mindfulness, or where/how you should do it. It’s all down to your personal preference and what makes you feel most comfortable. Some people like to practice mindfulness through yoga or pilates, while others simply take a break in a quiet room for ten minutes a day. However you choose to practice it, the result will be the same; a calm and relaxed feeling, like your mind has been rebalanced.