It’s World Mental Health Day: are you well at work?

2017-10-10T08:39:59+00:00 Anxiety tips, Work & money|
Sow Ay illustration anxiety

Illustration by Sow Ay


It’s World Mental Health Day! For 25 years, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dedicated the day to raising awareness of mental health issues.

And this year’s theme in workplace wellness.

Given we all spend a ridiculous amount of our time at work, the day is a prompt for us and our bosses to ensure we’re able to cope on the job. You know, things like:

  • Avoiding the urge to smashing the photocopier with a brick when it tells you about another goddamn paper jam.
  • Connecting with colleagues, instead of hiding in the loos and crying.
  • Paying attention in meetings and not daydreaming about being on a beach with a Spanish lothario and bottomless cocktails.

Yes, I’ve done all three. And no, I wasn’t coping at work.

Now I work for myself from home. That means when I have issues with my boss, I have to go into some seriously deep self-reflection!

But World Mental Health Day prompted me to reflect on my working life and all the jobs I’ve collected along the way. And I realised that before being self-employed, I really struggled in the workplace. I think that’s why I became a freelancer actually: because my anxiety isn’t on show every day to a room of people I don’t really like.

So if you’re struggling at work, know that you’re not alone. And consider trying these things to ease your mind:

Get support

Many workplaces today have to follow strict guidelines (sometimes laws) for supporting staff. So you might be surprised to find that once you open up to a trusted colleague or manager, they’re ready to help.

I know some companies are better than others. I remember when my dog of 17 years died (she was my little sister), my boss teased me for being upset and requesting time off. At another job, I told my manager I wasn’t coping with the work…he gave me a day off, reshuffled my projects, and even bought me a massage voucher!

If you seek support at work, and don’t get what you need, there are many mental health associations and workplace organisations that can step in.

But the first step is up to you: ask for help.

Sow Ay anxiety

Illustration by Sow Ay

Take a break

When did it become cool to eat lunch at your desk, and be last to leave the office? It’s ridiculous how few people take time away from their work. And yet we know that all work and no play makes us cray cray!

This is where you really have to take a stand.

Make a habit of taking your full lunch break – tell colleagues you can’t be contacted, and go grab yourself a sandwich and take a walk. Or read a book in the park. Or meet up with a friend.

You know how Gandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world?” He said it because it works. When enough of us stand up to rigid rules and silly systems, we can create a shift. And then a tidal wave of change.

So don’t follow the crowd and munch a carrot while stressing over a spreadsheet. Take that break. Think of it as your daily medicine for your mind.

Do you feel well at work? What are some things you could try to ease your anxiety? Let me know by replying below! x



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