How to look after yourself at work when times are tough

Updated: Jun 24, 2019

We all go through tough times, it’s part of being human. We often hear phrases along the lines of “Leave your personal life separate from your work life". Most of us know that, that is truly impossible. We are human and we all have feelings. It is OK to have feelings. You don’t always have to feel all cheery and positive. When you are going through a rough time it is important to look after yourself, of course we can’t just quit our jobs and live in a cave (even if that is what you would like to do).


Here are some tips that you can take to make your work day a little better, or at least, not completely sucky:


Take regular breaks

Set yourself an alarm and get away from your desk every hour. Take a lunch break (and I mean a real break where you leave the office and eat some food). This will give you a mini-recharge and give you a break away from fluorescent office lights and managers lurking over your shoulders. If you leave the office nobody can actually “just quickly interrupt you”.

Get outside

We all know how good it is for us to be outside, especially if the sun is shining. We need Vitamin D to function. Stress levels can decrease significantly from being in the sun for just 10 minutes. If it’s raining, at least sit in your car or a café window so you get some natural light.

Exercise

Exercise is good for you. It’s no secret. Regular exercise will not only increase your endorphin levels but will also decrease your stress levels. This doesn’t mean you have to transform into a gym bunny or a marathon runner. Just getting outside and walking for 10 minutes a day will make a massive impact on your mental health.

Avoid negative co-workers

You know those co-workers that always have the latest gossip on everyone? Yea, stay away from them. Gossiping and listening to the many negatives that come out of those people aren’t healthy. Surround yourself with positive people who know how to appreciate life.

Share with others

This can be hard, especially when you are going through a tough time, but it is so important. Find just one person whom you can be truly open with. One person who will ask you how you are and actually care about your answer. Often, verbalising our feelings will give our brains the opportunity to process them, which will help us move on.

Take a mental health day

It’s ok to take a day off. Taking a day for yourself is a good thing and something we all need every now and then. It is up to your discretion whether you tell your manager that you are having a mental health day or not.

Eat and drink, regularly

Let’s be honest, we either stress eat or stress fast, neither of which is healthy. In times of stress it is important to eat and drink plenty of water, regularly. Prepare healthy snacks in advance and set a reminder, this way you can’t forget and then binge-eat when you get hit be another wave of stress. Our bodies function better with regular energy intake and therefore we are more likely to cope well with stress.

Clean your desk

This may sound odd but a good clean of your desk can make you feel more settled and act as a little mind re-set. Sort out all the stuff that has been bogging you down and start fresh. Give your desk a wipe and have a cup of tea. It will feel like a mini new beginning.


Unfortunately, the reality of life is that we all must work to earn a living. However, we still need to ensure that we put our mental health at the forefront. If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after anyone else.




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