Coping with Mental Illness at Work
When a toxic work environment can cause (or worsen!) mental health issues and mental health issues can cause a toxic work environment, how do you break the cycle and cope? Here are a few methods:
Think through your typical days. Is there something in particular that causes your mental illness symptoms to worsen? Perhaps your trigger(s) could be a particular coworker, phone calls, dark office, etc. Pinpointing the triggers can help you begin forming a solution to minimize the effects.
Take a break
When you feel overwhelmed, take a short break to clear your head and perhaps go for a walk, get a coffee, or chat with a friend or coworker for a couple minutes. You could also plan to take short breaks throughout the day, whether you feel particularly stressed or not, as more of a preventative measure.
Take a mental health day
Sometimes a small break isn’t enough. This AtWork article will help you determine if it’s time for a mental health day. If that’s what you need, use a day to get caught up with household chores or errands, get some extra rest, spend time with a hobby, or something else that will help you relieve stress.
Talk to someone you trust or a therapist
Sometimes it helps simply to talk to someone you trust about what’s happening. However, seeing a therapist could be a more long-term solution to help you identify and break bad habits, create healthy coping mechanisms, and more!
Ask for help
Everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes, so your coworkers and boss will likely understand. If a particular task is causing you too much stress or your workload is particularly heavy, consider reaching out to your boss or a coworker to see if someone can help you.
For more serious mental health issues, here are two hotlines:
SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, offers a free helpline: 1-800-662-HELP
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available at 1-800-273-8255