The Workforce

Practical steps for your own mental health as a professional

If you want to get started on improving your own wellbeing immediately, you might find some helpful advice in this guide.

Poor mental health can affect anyone regardless of whom we are, where we work or our circumstances and background. We as individuals can experience and interpret similar situations differently and therefore how we think, feel and respond will all be different.

We are so used to being the helper that we often do not recognise when we are struggling to cope and to ask for help.

It is important to remind ourselves that this is a strength to seek support and guidance for our mental health. It is one thing helping others to identify triggers and look for patterns of unhelpful thinking, quite another when looking at this for ourselves. Endeavouring to comprehend our triggers, our thought patterns and responses is important to looking after our mental health.

Although it can be difficult to change our admit as professional workers that we may at times need support to address our own mental health, it is crucial to our well-being and our professional practice that we do this. Being able to take time out for ourselves and having supportive relationships is important. Where trust is there to give us that opportunity to speak about your mental health and to feel listened to, can have a helpful impact on our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It is a step towards looking after our mental health

We are not always aware or recognise when our own mental health dips. We can be so busy with work and family life that often we neglect and ignore the tell-tale signs.  Most mental health problems appear gradually so it is important to attempt to understand ourselves better so we can best support ourselves through our own actions and through the support of others.

Sometimes we can be diagnosed with a mental health disorder or feel you may have one. It is important that you seek professional medical advice, guidance and support.

Your employer has a duty to care and to support your mental health. Your work place will have information and resources available to you. These should be easy to access and readily available.  

Talking therapy, also known as psychotherapy, divides out in many different directions. These include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, humanistic therapy and more. Most of these types of therapies are available in both individual and group settings. It is helpful to find the one that will be more suitable to you.

  • CBT can help you to change your thought patterns and unhelpful behaviour. It is usually used for depression, anxiety and C-PTSD(complex post-traumatic stress disorder). This tends to be a more structured talking therapy and involves practicing different techniques.
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) – combines mindfulness techniques with cognitive therapy.
  • Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) – Usually used to treat PTSD and C-PTSD.  

Please know you are not alone – we all face difficulties and hard times and we all need help and support throughout our lives.

It can often feel like taking care of your mental health is difficult. Often times the reasons that we are not feeling our best are complex or outside of our control. Try not to be too harsh on yourself, as even the steps outlined in this guide might be difficult to complete if you are not doing so well. Most importantly be kind and gentle to yourself and recognise that your mind is reacting as it should to stress that is higher than usual.

If you would like to start to address some of the areas that you feel may be contributing to your mental health here are some tips you may find helpful to begin the process.

  • Make self-care a conscious choice to look after our mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Book in your self-care, make it your routine.
  • Whether working from home or in the office it can be easy to neglect our breaks and not take them. Take regular breaks and a lunch break away from the desk.
  • Go for a walk at lunch time or after work.
  • Eat well and drink plenty fluids especially water. Eating foods that can energise you and staying hydrated can have a huge positive effect on your energy levels.
  • Our workload can be hectic and all our tasks may seem urgent. Write a task list for each day and prioritise. Set your goals for the day, week, month.
  • Use S.M.A.R.T goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, with in a Time frame.
  • At the end of the day write down your task list for the next day.
  • Be kind to yourself. We all miss deadlines; we can all make mistakes. We can all have good days and bad days. Its okay to have days where we are more productive than others. Some days we will be more focused.
  • Resist the inclination to multi-task. Learn to focus on one task at a time.
  • Learn to say No. You do not have to agree and do everything. Knowing your important values and priorities will help.
  • Take time to reflect on the work you have completed and how well you have done, no matter how small the task may have been.
  • Write down what you are struggling with. Decide on who you feel most comfortable with to talk to.
  • Write down your triggers/mood changes and what influences them.
  • If you are not comfortable speaking to someone face to face there are options to telephone and have online chats or to email.
  • If you are going to your GP you can take someone with you for support.
  • Write down what you want to get out of speaking to someone – someone to just listen? Practical advice? Guidance? More information?
  • What do would you want to happen after you have spoken to someone?
  • It is good to know what you would like to change or what you feel you would like support with.

Related Guides

Ways of taking care of your mental health for Professional workers

Mental health – everyone has it and we all need to take care of it. There is a more over-all awareness nowadays regarding our mental health and how to look after this, through many different information outlets and resources available; however, despite this, poor mental health issues are continually increasing. Mental health problems can affect around 1 in 4 people currently in a given year. Poor mental health can happen to all kinds of people from all different walks of life and there can be many contributing factors. You may be looking for some pointers and guidance to improve your mental health or need advice on how to access professional help. This guide will offer you some mental health advice and support links which we hope you find helpful.

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