For people struggling with a mental health condition, it can be challenging to get through the day to day tasks others take for granted. And this includes getting through the working day. If you are struggling to maintain work with a mental health condition, you are not alone.
One in four people across the UK are currently experiencing a mental health condition, and many of those are in some form of employment.
The Importance Of Maintaining Work With A Mental Health Condition
It is crucial to put your health before anything else, including your job. There may be times when taking time off work can be beneficial for your mental state. However, working whilst you have a mental health condition has many benefits. For example
- working gives you a sense of purpose and identity
- It provides a daily routine and structure
- working provides financial insecurity
- It offers the opportunity to build positive friendships and socialise with others
- working can boost confidence and self-esteem
- it provides an opportunity to set personal and professional goals
In addition, unemployment can have a detrimental impact on a person already struggling with their mental health. A study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation found that unemployment is associated with increased rates of depression and suicide.
So, now we’ve covered the importance of maintaining work with a mental health condition, let’s discuss our top tips.
Communicate With Your Manager Regularly
Very few people feel comfortable discussing their mental health with their employer. However, in order to receive the support you need to maintain work, you should be open with your manager.
Your company will likely have a mental health policy. If not, they are obliged to accommodate your needs under the Equalities Act. Regardless of this, we understand how difficult it can be to open up to an employer about your mental health.
Your manager has a duty of care to all of their employees and will very likely be very understanding. Plus, having mentally healthy employees is in the benefit of the company.
The first conversation is usually the hardest, but once you have been open with your employer, you will feel more comfortable communicating your needs to them.
There may be certain aspects of your job role or workplace that trigger anxiety or a mental health episode. For example, this may be a strict deadline or a particularly challenging client. You can identify workplace triggers by keeping a journal or making notes of the factors that have triggered your mental health.
Once you have identified these triggers, you can speak to your employer about effectively managing them. Plus, you can try to calm yourself and prepare for these triggers before dealing with them.
Ask For Adjustments Where Necessary
Discuss any adjustments you feel would help you maintain work with a mental health condition. This may be flexible working hours that enable you to attend appointments. Or it may be a quiet space to take breaks.
Bear in mind that your employer may not always be able to deliver on adjustments. However, it is always worth asking if you think the adjustments will help you cope better.
Meet Regularly With A Professional
Whether it is a mental health coach, psychologist or just a trusted person of support, meeting with someone regularly will help you maintain your work life.
You will be able to discuss any problems or worries you have, talk about triggers, and set personal goals for the future. Your employer will likely be able to provide support from a mental health professional.
Take Regular Breaks
It is simple but effective. Taking regular breaks during the day can do you the world of good. Something as simple as going for a short walk outdoors or chatting to a colleague in the break room can help lift your mood and reduce stress.
Taking regular breaks can also improve concentration and boost productivity.
Ensure Your Workload Is Manageable
An unmanageable workload is a common stressor within the workplace. If you want to maintain work with a mental health condition, you must ensure you are not taking too much on.
If your workload is becoming overwhelming, discuss it with your manager or colleagues. Making a to-do list is also an effective way to prioritise your workload and stay on track.
Setting achievable goals is another excellent way to stay on top of your workload. If you have got a large project to carry out, break it down into smaller, achievable goals.
Get In Touch
Mindful Partners is a specialist recruitment agency that helps people recovering from poor mental health get back into the workplace. We also help companies create mentally healthy workplaces.
If you are recovering from mental ill-health and are looking to get back into work, please get in touch. Alternatively, if you are an employer and would like to find out more about partnering with Mindful Partners, please get in touch.