It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) – and so I wanted to talk about something that I’ve found personally affects me and my mental health: work.
And I’m not alone.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) carried out a survey of more than 4,500 people regarding stress at the workplace.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the study found that millennials – those aged between 18 and 38 – felt more under pressure at work than their older colleagues with 28% stating that working through stress was expected in their job.
This is compared with just 12% of those aged between 53 and 71.
Overall, the data also revealed that across both generations just 14% of people said they were comfortable speaking to their manager about their stress levels.
When I feel overwhelmed at work, the anxiety begins to creep in and I know I withdraw. However, I wanted to share a couple of things that I’ve been working on doing, that I’ve found to help alleviate this:
- Make sure I’m getting enough sleep – I try and stick with the routine I’m used to and go to bed early to try and get as much ZZZZ as possible
- Shut it out – I find working with headphones on limits distractions and allows me to plough on. Obviously this won’t work every time (especially with ridiculous workloads) but it helps with focus and productivity for short, busy periods.
- Get in some exercise – it’s no secret that exercise helps deal with stressful situations! I try and get out at lunch time when I feel overwhelmed as it forces me out of the office for a bit. If I can’t handle that because I’ve got “too much to do”, then morning workouts it is!
- Force myself to socialise – I’m the first to admit I’m not the best at this, but I find engaging with people helps take your mind off it.
- Tell someone at work – this can be tricky, obviously (as the stats above show) not everyone is comfortable speaking out. However, I would always recommend you talk to someone at work if it all gets too much – a problem shared is a problem halved after all. And I find it’s good to know I’m not alone in my struggle.
Working through severe stress and feeling as though we can’t put our hands up and ask for help is not ok. We deserve better than that.