I’d like to tell you that it’s ok to take breaks and to stop working for a little while but that’s not a reality for most people. Bills and other financial obligations don’t stop when we aren’t feeling well. This list is helpful for me and my hope is that it may help others to think about things that can help them get through a work day. Think of them as suggestions. Some tips just will not apply to your situation. Take what you will and leave the rest!
Working when you are struggling with mental health can be very difficult but here are some tips to help.
- Be mindful of your situation – Understand and accept where you are right now.
- Don’t compare yourself to others – Comparison makes everyone miserable. You are uniquely you.
- Work at your own pace – Rushing can exacerbate or trigger negative feelings and anxiety! MEH! Slowing down a little is ok.
- Take breaks and rest when you need to – Pushing yourself when you need self-care will make you feel worse. Remember that more self-care means more productivity later.
- Practice healthy coping skills such as deep breathing, physical grounding, and emotional grounding.
- If possible, make your work area comfortable and helpful for you to get through the day
- I mentioned taking breaks for selfcare but there is more to selfcare such as taking care of your basic needs: drinking water, eating well, if you work sitting down a lot make sure to stand up frequently, stretch, and walk around a little.
- Get support – There are tons of groups online now for mental health or even by industry. There are forums, reddit, telegram, and discord to find other people in the same field or struggling with similar things. Other means of support can include getting a therapist. Talking with someone else about what you are going through can be very helpful and take some of the weight of the frustrations off your shoulders.
- Prioritize – There is always more to do in life but making a list and prioritizing the main things can help with focus. I get overwhelmed, confused, and sidetracked often so I refer back to my list of priorities.
- Forgive yourself – It can feel bad when we don’t get the things done that we should or if we think we should be farther along. As humans, we tend to be hard on ourselves. Give yourself permission to be done for the day. If you did your best, that’s all you can do and your best is good enough.
- Take things one day at a time – You don’t have to get everything done in one day. Putting a lot of pressure on yourself can trigger negative feelings, overwhelm and more anxiety.
- Have a destress plan for when work is done for the day – Having routines and things in place to destress and relax is important and will help in the long run. Letting stress build up is not going to be helpful for your mental or physical health. Find out what those things are can be challenging but worth it.
Do you have some helpful tips to share about working when you are struggling with your mental health? Please leave a comment below and maybe we can help each other find better ways to navigate working while struggling with mental illness.
Thank you for reading my blog post. You can find the audio version on my Patreon account:
I often have to work when I’m struggling with my mental health and this post hits the nail on the head – especially about setting my own pace. Great post.
I remember your comments about creating hope organising things to look forward to. Lately I’ve had a “to do list” in a book separated into 3 pages, inside house/outside house and creative projects… instead of viewing the list as overwhelming, I try to view it as being able to choose one something I want to do, if I don’t want to do some of the others, which has helped me get something done instead of nothing