With the holiday season completely forgotten and all work budgets reset, it’s time to get some real work done. I know I am not the only one who gets hit by the January fever that just so happens to come around every year. It’s not a covid-anything kind of fever, more like the “when-did-life-suddenly-go-back-to-normal” shock to the system. You know what I’m referring to right? And the funny thing is that even though it comes every year, I am never truly prepared for it. Is that you too?
As we move on from the year that everything slowed down to survival mode, I have been looking for ways to make sure that my mental health remains in check. If you haven’t already been thinking about it, I urge you to do it too. Here are some simple ways that I will try to maintain my sanity while still keeping my performance top-notch.
Block off some breathing time in your work schedule
This is a trick that I learned from my husband but took a good amount of time to implement. If you are in the corporate world and basically find your days taken over by surprise meetings, block off time in your calendar. What you choose to do with this time is entirely up to you. You could use it to focus on some projects that you have been pushing under the rug, or use it to relax. This is something that you may need to be flexible with though, as other pressing issues may overtake your plans. However, getting a few breaks in over the span of a week will definitely change your mood and productivity.
Initially, I was a little skeptical to take a chunk out of my paid hours to focus solely on myself. But after months of neglecting my mental health, I have finally succumbed to the idea. After all, being mentally stable and physically fit is beneficial to your employer in the long run!
Stop trying to multitask
If you are still working from home and think you can get away with multitasking, please stop. Of course, you still need to cook, you might have an electrician pop in, or whatever. All of that is absolutely normal and will not take too much time away from your productive hours. The problem comes in when you start trying to create blog posts or run a separate business altogether during working hours. The simplest way to do well at one thing is to do it wholeheartedly.
If you still have a list of personal things that you
need want to get done, do it in your personal time. I promise I am not being paid by your company to say this, I’m just speaking from experience. This is the hard realization that came from my seven years’ experience in the corporate world. And please, don’t try to calculate my age… just don’t.
Make sure you stay well nourished
I’ve got a mind-blowing secret that I just have to share with you. Well, mind-blowing is definitely an overstatement, but in many situations, it is very fitting. Food is essential for your mental health. It’s as simple as that! Don’t worry if you often forget that, because I do too. I’m not entirely sure what the science is behind our amnesia when it comes to very basic concepts.
In Portuguese, we have a saying that goes “Saco vazío não fica em pé”. This basically means that an empty sack won’t stand. Now before you detach yourself from that scenario, note that you are the sack. You will not function if you do not find the time to feed and nourish your body. Eventually, the caffeine will run out and your brain will get foggy again. So to combat this, make sure you are not only feeding your body but also feeding your brain with some omega 3s.
Schedule some ‘me-time’
“Me time” is something you should be scheduling regardless of whether or not you have a formal job. But when you are in the corporate space, it is too easy to fund yourself consumed with meetings, gatherings, and even parties. What do you do when your schedule suddenly has more work events than anything else?
Something that I personally ensure is to have some time set aside for the things I enjoy. Some days it may be a thirty-minute exercise session or blogging session. Other times I could be playing with my daughter for hours. Most days, I only have time for a five-minute run through my skincare routine. Even though the time varies on different days of the week, the effect is compounded and I generally feel relaxed. What I learned the hard way was that making time for myself is not a luxury, it is a necessity!
Speak up about the work
Sometimes you can try everything and still not find ways to cope with your workload. If that is what you are experiencing, make sure you raise this to your manager or team. Speaking from experience, powering through heaps of work will always bring more upon you. And unless you speak up about how you are feeling, no one will actually know!
In my first few years in the corporate world, I found myself continuously working overtime. And not just an hour or two each day. I was crazy enough to work on the weekends too! Needless to say, I got burnt-out very quickly and actually started resenting my job. But it didn’t stop there. The weekends turned into team lunches on the weekend and working extremely late hours.
Of course, my case is a little extreme but the moral of the story is still the same. If you have come close to your mental or physical limit, speak up!