By Cesilia Faustina
As humans, we live in a society where we need to make a living to survive and nine-to-five work hours is almost a must. Yes, it does seem like we are stuck in a never-ending loop of routines and boredom, but before you go setting buildings on fire, what if I told you there are ways to make the mundane job cycle a little bit more interesting?
I know, I’m sure you have heard it all before, things like work-life balance and taking care of your mental wellness. Well, those things are true, but mental health issues from the workplace is a serious problem; one that companies and employees should be talking about more.
According to WHO, depression and anxiety have significant impacts on the economy costing the global economy USD 1 trillion per year in loss of productivity. So, if companies put more effort into ensuring they have a safer mental space for their employees, it can help increase production greatly.
Creating a safe workspace
There are many risks in the workplace that we may all face, from irritating clients to poor management and communication practices, it is crucial to create a safe place for yourself to stop you from, well, storming out of the office.
Before we get to that though, trying to survive in the challenging jungles of the workplace is not only important for the employees but also the employer. WHO described some steps to create a safe work environment for employees, which I highly recommend businesses check out, here.
Below are three approaches based on an academic report from the WHO:
How to stay sane at work
As much as companies try though, and some really do, it is not enough to only have them try to help make our experiences at work more enjoyable. Sometimes, work will just come with bad days and terrible clients. So, in order to look out for ourselves, here are some tips people can follow to try and get through workdays.
Make the most of your lunchbreak
Make lunchbreaks into a sacred and enjoyable time by making it fun for yourself. Go have a picnic somewhere with colleagues, walk out in the sun and feel the warmth on your face, or take a short walk around the block. Just having that hour of walking and changing atmosphere will help a lot. Also, if you don’t care that much about going outside or socializing with colleagues, you can also excite yourself with something you enjoy doing, like food perhaps?
Food is great. Your lunch break is the time to eat. Take this time to eat everything that you love, in fact, why not do a meal prep and change it up every day, that way you can get excited about the food you will face. Any form of excitement and motivation counts here, so why not enjoy your favourite meal and top it off by watching funny videos or reading a book. Your lunch break is precious time that should not be wasted.
Do group activities
If you are stuck in a job, you might as well make friends with your colleagues. They are your family away from home, your support system away from your support system, and fellow soldiers in the battlefield. Always remember that if you are suffering, maybe so are your co-workers. Try to support each other and be friends.
From here, you can learn to do something fun with each other like group activities. Go on outings together, have lunch together, or do physical activities together, it will help you form a bond and it is always fun to do group activities. Opportunities for group activities create a more conducive environment for you and your teammates, which in turn will make work suck a little less.
Work from home
So, this tip might receive some pros and cons, especially when we’ve been stuck working from home anyways for the last few months, but you should definitely do this on a regular basis. Employers should allow their employees to work from home every few days, this will create a change of atmosphere for employees, which will help to rejuvenate the brain. If, for some reason, you have to work extra hours, try to do that from home or go to a coffee shop and finish your work there for a change.
Working constantly from the same place over and over again is a drag and you should change it up. Work from home, a coffee shop, your public library, whatever, as long as it is not the same old place. I have realized this always gives my brain an extra boost every time I’m overworked.
Take a breather
When I say take a breather, you should give yourself a bit of a rest when you are on that eight or nine hours work program. Try doing activities that will make you feel better or you enjoy at work to help ease the stress a bit. You can listen to music, whistle, or even do some stretches. If you are worried people will look at you weird, well, mental health is more important than your colleagues’ judgement, so find a good space and stretch! You may also take a walk around the office or workplace, and if your office has a video game system in the break room, go play a few rounds before going back to work.
That’s right businesses, you should invest in a game room and a yoga room, just saying, think about it.
The work-life balance concept
I understand that work is important and sometimes, you do need to work late to meet deadlines, but for sure you should not be doing this all the time. Try as often as you can to leave work once your work hour is over. It is so important to still have a life outside of work. You need to set proper boundaries when it comes to work and personal life. It is not acceptable to overwork yourself to the point that your job starts to consume your life. Go home and make the most of the rest of your day, without the annoyance of work, and enjoy your weekends doing your own thing.
Ask for help
When all fails and you really do feel like the world is slowly crushing you, ask for help. Your workplace is responsible for your well-being too, and if you work in a team, you all should be watching each other’s back. So, when you feel like you can’t take it anymore, talk to somebody: your boss, your co-workers, or your HR personnel. If they are a company that cares, they should listen and understand your position. It is a situation you can discuss with your team, your boss, and your company in general. Just be open to realize when you actually need to ask for help and seek it, don’t just wait around for things to get better.
Yes, work can be tough sometimes, it does not necessarily mean you hate it though. Make sure you don’t get to that point by creating the right environment for yourself from the beginning and know that your mental health matters.