We spend most of our time at our jobs, so it’s important that these are environments in which we can be healthy and happy. Yet according to a recent Gallup poll, 70 percent of Americans hate their jobs. Given this rate of job dissatisfaction, it is especially important for people in this predicament to care for their mental health at work. Yet even people who love their jobs may struggle to prioritize occupational mental health, such as by staying too late or spending a lot of time thinking about their work during their personal time.

Whether you are fulfilling your life’s purpose through your work, are going through the motions just to pay the bills, or are somewhere in between, it’s important to prioritize your mental health at work.

Take Your PTO

It’s time to start planning your next vacation. If you’re feeling burned out and like you can’t take time off, this is probably the time when you need it more than ever. More than half of Americans don’t use all their time off in a year, and their mental health suffers for it. Many people worry that if they take a vacation, their employer will perceive that they aren’t as committed, putting their jobs at risk. Others feel overloaded, and don’t trust coworkers to cover their workload.

Keep in mind that you get time off for a reason, so use it. It’s part of your pay package, so not using all your PTO is essentially working for free. You have legal rights to taking time off, so as long as you are following company policy, you can’t be let go for taking PTO. If you are sacrificing your wellbeing for the sake of your employer, remember that a job can always be replaced, but your health can’t.

Exercise

Exercise is the ultimate stress reliever, and if you are finding yourself tightly wound from your job, one of the most impactful things you can do is to incorporate exercise into your routine. Exercising before work may help put you in a good mindset to start your day. Alternatively, if you have a longer lunch hour, you could spend it in a fitness class or taking a run. Many people also find it helpful to hit the gym after work to blow off some steam.

However you choose to do it, exercise offers a wonderful way to relieve some stress and promote mental and physical health.

Let It Out

If you’re holding onto tension about your job, it has to come out somehow. For many people, this manifests in unfortunate ways, such as arguments with their spouse or unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs. A mentally healthier way to address your stress is by facing the issue head-on. Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling about your job, or confide in the page by keeping a journal at home. If you’re the type to spend the evening stewing about what happened at work, make it a habit to come home, write out everything you’re frustrated about, then let it go so you can enjoy your personal time.

Go on Walks

If you spend 8-to-10 hours sitting in front of a computer every day, it’s no wonder you’re burned out. No one can sustain that long-term. Make sure you are taking regular breaks throughout the day. A great way to both make sure you’re getting away from your desk and getting some exercise is to schedule walks. You could bring a trusted coworker along for the ride so you can also have a chance to vent to someone who will understand.

Set Boundaries

The people who are healthiest at work set boundaries between their job and their personal life. Avoid taking work home with you if you can and set certain hours where you do not take work emails or calls. The more you can contain your job to your regular work hours, the less it has to impact your mental health.

Invest in Other Areas of Your Life

Be intentional about your time outside of work. Many people feel so spent after a day’s work, they don’t want to do anything. If you get home, sit in front of the TV with a beer, and numb yourself until you need to go to bed, your work is your whole life. If you invest in other areas of your life, whether that is your family, your friends, your hobbies, your pet, or your passion project, you create a healthier work-life balance.

If you are struggling with your mental health, we would love to help you with cognitive behavioral therapy in Palatine. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment.