Caring for Your Mental Health in the Workplace: Tips for a Happier, Healthier You

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I had to write a post about the importance of mental health in the workplace. I want to be a part of raising awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Let’s reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourage people to prioritize their mental health and seek help when needed. 

Unfortunately, many people often feel uncomfortable discussing mental health at work and fear being stigmatized or discriminated against if they reveal their struggles. By addressing mental health in the workplace, employers can create a more supportive and inclusive culture that promotes the well-being of all employees.

Workplace Culture and Mental Health

Workplace culture plays a significant role in shaping employees’ mental health. A positive and supportive workplace culture can boost employees’ sense of belonging and job satisfaction. On the other hand, toxic or unsupportive workplace cultures will harm employees’ mental health, leading to stress, burnout, and even anxiety or depression. 

Take into consideration the following when thinking about workplace culture and mental health:

  • Communication. Open and honest communication is essential for a healthy workplace culture. Employees should feel comfortable discussing mental health concerns with their managers and colleagues, and employers should respond with empathy and support. Always foster psychological safety. 
  • Workloads. Heavy workloads, unrealistic deadlines, and long work hours can lead to stress and burnout. Employers should create manageable workloads that allow employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. 
  • Flexibility. Offering flexible work arrangements, like remote work options or flexible schedules, can help employees better manage their mental health by reducing stress and increasing autonomy. 
  • Work-Life Balance. Encourage employees to take breaks, disconnect after work hours, and prioritize their personal life. 
  • Be a Leader. Real leaders lead by example. Read that again, and then find a way to model healthy behaviors by prioritizing your own mental health and encouraging your employees to do the same. 
  • Support and Resources. Providing employees access to mental health resources, such as counseling or employee assistance programs, can help support their mental health needs. 

Create a supportive and inclusive workplace culture that prioritizes mental health. This simple mindset shift will improve employee well-being and foster a more productive and engaged workforce.

supporting mental health at work

Adverse Effects of Toxicity on Mental Health in the Workplace

A toxic work environment is characterized by bullying, harassment, and discrimination. This can cause major stress, anxiety, and even depression for employees. These environments almost always consist of poor leadership. Poor leadership leads to low morale, poor communication, and a lack of employee support. It all contributes to stress, burnout, and feeling undervalued. 

Some workplaces have high-pressure environments where employees work long hours, meet demanding deadlines, and achieve unrealistic goals. This can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, and even physical health problems. 

Many workplaces stigmatize mental health issues, and employees may be reluctant to seek help for fear of being judged or penalized. Are you the kind of manager that makes snide remarks about mental health? Do you laugh when someone acts out of sorts and suggests snidely that they need therapy? Are you dim enough to do this in front of other employees? Many of us have seen it happen. You won’t keep your employees for long with that attitude, and frankly, I think they should send you the invoice for their therapy bills. This can create a culture of silence around mental health issues and make it more difficult for employees to access much needed support. 

Promoting Mental Health in the Workplace

Promoting mental health in the workplace should be a priority for many reasons. First and foremost, it’s the right thing to do for employees. Many people spend most of their waking hours at work, and a hostile environment can significantly impact their mental health and overall well-being.

Need more convincing? In addition to the ethical considerations, promoting mental health can significantly benefit your business. Employees who feel supported and valued are likelier to be engaged and productive at work. They are also less likely to experience burnout, turnover, and other negative outcomes that can cost your business money.

Creating a culture prioritizing mental health can help attract and retain top talent. In today’s job market, employees seek more than just a paycheck. They want to work for a company that cares about their well-being and offers resources and support. 

As you can see, promoting mental health in the workplace is a no-brainer win-win situation. It can lead to a healthier, more engaged workforce, bringing us closer to creating a more compassionate society. 

toxic workplace effect on mental health

Managing Your Stress at Work

Here are some tips for employees to manage stress levels at work. These have all been tried and tested by yours truly.

  • Take regular breaks. Take short breaks throughout the day to rest your mind and recharge. Stand up, stretch, or take a short walk to clear your head and relax your poor tired eyeballs.
  • Prioritize and plan. Prioritize your tasks and plan your day to clearly understand what you need to accomplish. This can reduce stress and increase productivity. I like to do my planning the evening before for a good night’s sleep. 
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are great ways to relax and reduce stress. I highly recommend downloading Andrew Johnson’s relaxation apps from the Apple or Android store. 
  • Connect with others. Building positive relationships with colleagues and finding a supportive community can help reduce stress and increase feelings of connection and belonging.
  • Set boundaries. Don’t take on more work than you can handle, and learn to say no when necessary. Setting clear boundaries can help reduce stress and improve work-life balance. Set your boundaries and, more importantly, stick to them! Do not let your boss or your coworkers stomp all over them. You must be firm because some people see an inch and take a mile. 
  • Get organized. A cluttered workspace can increase stress levels. Organize your workspace and add little touches that make you feel good. I had many strange objects on my desk that tickled my fancy, everything from a cat phrenology head to a Kate Spade tumbler I loved. I made sure I had pictures of friends and family around me to remind me why I work so hard. Surround yourself with whatever brings you joy. 
  • Take care of your physical health. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep are essential for managing stress and promoting mental health. Make sure you stay hydrated!

Take Breaks

Taking breaks and disconnecting from work is crucial for maintaining good mental health. When we work for long periods without breaks, we become fatigued, leading to burnout, among other nasty outcomes. Breaks help us recharge, refocus, and return to work with renewed energy and motivation. 

Disconnecting from work during off-hours is equally essential. This means avoiding checking work emails, taking work calls, or doing work-related tasks outside regular work hours. By disconnecting from work, we allow ourselves time to rest, relax, and recharge. It can also help us maintain a healthy work-life balance, essential for good mental health. 

Employers can encourage their employees to take breaks and disconnect from work by promoting a culture of work-life balance and setting clear expectations around work hours and communication outside of work. Encouraging employees to take vacations, mental health days, or personal days can also help them disconnect and recharge. 

Employees can also take steps to disconnect from work. This might include turning off work-related notifications outside work hours, setting boundaries around work-related communication, and taking breaks throughout the workday. Additionally, finding activities outside work that bring joy and fulfillment, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones, can help employees disconnect and maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

A Supportive and Inclusive Workplace

A supportive and inclusive workplace is one where employees feel valued, respected, and supported personally and professionally. It’s a culture that prioritizes the well-being of its employees and encourages them to bring their whole selves to work. 

In a supportive and inclusive workplace, there is a sense of belonging and community, with opportunities for open communication, collaboration, and feedback. Employees are recognized for their contributions and encouraged to develop their skills and talents. There is also an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, with policies and practices that promote equity and respect for all employees, regardless of their background or identity. 

Such a workplace culture recognizes that employees have different needs and life circumstances and seeks to provide resources and support to help them manage their personal and professional lives. It is a culture that encourages work-life balance and flexibility, with policies like flexible schedules, telecommuting options, and wellness programs.

Ultimately, a supportive and inclusive workplace culture fosters a sense of well-being, engagement, and productivity among employees. It benefits both the employees and the organization, creating a positive and healthy work environment that can lead to tremendous success and satisfaction for all.

Supportive and inclusive workplace

The Benefits of an Inclusive Workplace

An inclusive workplace culture that prioritizes mental health can have numerous benefits for both employees and the company. Employees who feel supported and valued are likelier to be engaged and productive. This can lead to better job performance and increased job satisfaction, which can, in turn, lead to improved retention rates and a positive work environment. 

From the company’s perspective, prioritizing mental health can result in reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity, and an improved reputation as a socially responsible employer. A positive workplace culture that prioritizes mental health can help attract and retain top talent, as more employees are looking for employers who are committed to promoting a healthy work-life balance and fostering an inclusive environment. 

Prioritizing mental health can lead to a happier, healthier, more engaged workforce and a more prosperous and socially responsible company. 

Walking the Walk

There are several companies and organizations that have made mental health a priority in their workplace culture. Here are a few examples:

  • Starbucks. The coffee company offers its employees access to mental health resources and services, including a hotline for mental health support and free counseling sessions. 
  • Patagonia. This outdoor clothing company offers employees paid time off to participate in environmental causes and encourages them to take time off to recharge and practice self-care. 
  • Adobe. The software company offers employees mindfulness training, meditation classes, mental health resources, and support groups.
  • Microsoft. The tech giant provides employees access to mental health services, resources, and counseling and encourages them to take advantage of flexible work arrangements to manage their mental health.
  • Thrive Global. The wellness and productivity company offers employees resources and support to help them manage stress, practice self-care, and maintain work-life balance. 

These companies recognize the importance of mental health in the workplace and are taking steps to prioritize the well-being of their employees. 

Follow their good example and implement policies and procedures to help your employees manage their mental health. Remember that company culture starts from the top down, so CEOs, presidents, and owners listen up. Lead by example. If you’re a good, compassionate person, this should be an easy decision, even if you don’t know where to start. If you’re a greedy person, I’ve outlined many ways in which prioritizing mental health will help you make more money. Make good decisions, leaders!

Are you tired of the shenanigans out there? Me too. Follow the Girlboss Burnbook for more reporting on corporate nonsense. 



Founder of Girlboss Burnbook

Hey there! I’m Jenna, the founder of The Girlboss Burnbook. My mission is to support women feeling isolated in their leadership roles. After leaving the corporate world, I realized many women face the same struggles I did. I wanted to create a platform where we could share our stories and empower each other.

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