Saturday 10th October was World Mental Health Day and with the unprecedented circumstances we are all facing at present, looking after your mental well-being and health is more important than ever. We are very thankful to OV Kate Abercrombie (08-09) for sharing her tips for looking after our own mental health…
“Since leaving higher education and entering the world of work, looking after my mental state has become even more important, especially being responsible for speaking up for your well-being and creating and maintaining a work life balance.
It’s undoubtedly scary telling an employer you have a mental health condition or feel that you are struggling with your mental well-being. However it is important to do so as it strengthens your support systems and maintains a healthy work/ life balance, plus it can also help prevent ‘burnouts’.
I remember the first time I had to tell an employer about my mental health. I did so during my interview; it was nerve-racking but afterwards it felt like a weight had lifted and we were able to discuss if I were in post, what support they could offer me.
This gave me a great insight into the type of company they were but also opened my eyes to the support that employers can provide to employees. You would be surprised how many people are willing to offer you help or signpost you to services, if you ask and it’s not just “go see your GP”!
So what are my top tips for managing mental health and well-being after education?
- Seek support and/or medical advice, as soon as you feel something isn’t ‘right’. There are loads of resources and charities on the internet that offer free helplines which are great for helping you navigate which services are right for you, as well as providing a confidential and impartial ear to listen. You don’t always need to tell someone you know, if you don’t want to.
- Ask for help at work. Speak to someone you trust (in person or email) be it a colleague, manger, HR or your work place health company. See if they can offer you any support to make your day a little easier. You might be surprised at what they can offer!
- Take your work breaks – it can tempting on a busy day to work through or take them at your desk. Don’t.
- Get up, go to the break room or different area if at home and take that time to yourself! Daily self-care is important to help your body and mind to process things.
- Keep track of the things you struggle with. It could be as simple as managing emails in the morning, to struggling with certain targets/tasks. This can help your employer better understand what you need support with.
- If working from home, ensure you keep a work life balance. It can be isolating and frustrating, working in the same 4 walls you also relax in. Have a routine for the work day, finish at the same time you would in the office and turn work equipment off!
- Make use of video calls and other tech to connect with colleagues; you are not alone.
- Most importantly, don’t neglect your hobbies and interests just because you now work at home. Take that ‘you’ time! “