Putting yourself on the back-burner can be detrimental to not just your physical health but also your mental and emotional well-being. You need a strong mind to be able to connect effectively with and manage your team.
Luckily, there are strategies to ensure you don’t give more to your team than you do yourself. Prioritize your own mental health productively in order to show up as the best version of yourself for your team.
1. Build self-care habits
With such a significant focus on everyone else, it’s no wonder your needs fall to the wayside. When you don’t address your mental, physical and emotional health needs, you can’t care for yourself adequately. This inevitably affects how you lead your team.
The first step to better mental health is building self-care habits into your daily routine. For example, exercise regularly. Care about your personal hygiene. Develop a healthy sleep schedule. Use preventive care services to stay on top of your physical health.
Consider adding a therapy or counseling session to your weekly schedule. Although you’re likely busy, setting aside time to learn how to cope with stressors and boost your mental health will help you keep up with your busy schedule in the long run. Practice mindfulness, too. Self-care is vital in maintaining your mental health, especially when managing other people.
2. Fuel your body with nutritious food and drink
A stressful day managing people is all it takes for many of us to indulge in things that seem to help us relax, but they really do more harm than good. Alcohol is a great example of one of these things. Slurred speech, slowed reaction time and blackouts are some of the short-term effects of alcohol on your brain. Long-term, excessive drinking can exacerbate mental health issues, like depression, anxiety and alcohol use disorder. It could even lead to brain shrinkage.
Instead of reaching for a glass of wine, mixed drink, or shot, choose a healthier alternative — like a cup of tea, fruit-infused water or a sugar-free drink. It’s also important not to feed your body foods full of fats, sugars and carbs. Instead, snacking on vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy proteins is much better for your mind and body. Fueling your body with the right food and drink choices only aids your mental health.
3. Set boundaries at work
It’s essential to set boundaries at work if you want to maintain good mental health. If you don’t set boundaries, your team won’t understand what’s acceptable and what isn’t. You’ll lose your voice in the workplace. You may start to take on work you know you can’t handle.
It’s much better to be clear about who you are and what’s allowable in your work relationships. Set boundaries around the work you’ll do, and don’t add anything to your workload if it’s going to burn you out. If something in the workplace threatens your mental health, don’t be afraid to turn your back on it. You need the bandwidth to work on the most important tasks and do so efficiently.
4. Unplug from work each day
Working all day at the office and bringing your work home leaves no time for you and your life outside work. As a result, you’ll burn out, and your work performance will decline. You’ll also never have a chance to figure out who you are and enjoy what you’re passionate about, harming your mental health even more.
Commit to unplugging from work each day. Do your best and leave the rest for the next day once you clock out. If you’re working from home, set intentional work hours and turn your laptop and work phone off when you’re done for the day.
5. Take time off
There will come times throughout the year when you need an extended break — and that’s okay. Use all of your vacation days. You can plan actual vacations or even staycations to let your mind and body rest after weeks of hard work.
Also, whenever you feel like you need a mental health break, use your sick/personal days. You should also see if you can work out a flexible schedule with your employer. A combination of in-person and remote work days throughout the week allows you to create balance in your life.
Plus, allowing yourself to have a good work-life balance promotes positive mental health for employees across the board. Lead by example. Take time off you need and deserve. Your mental health will thank you for it.
6. Lean on your family and friends
Healthy family relationships and friendships are critical in maintaining your mental health. Not only can they be a source of support when things are rough, but they can also get you away from work and remind you of what life has to offer.
Lean on your family and friends for support after tough days at work. Go on date nights with your partner. Spend time with your children and completely detach from work. Allow yourself to enjoy time with friends to help you de-stress and have fun.
You should also go to your friends and family when your mental health challenges become too much. Take stock of mental health red flags at work. For example, if you’re having difficulty making decisions or meeting deadlines, it might be time to reevaluate your workload and mental well-being.
Be honest about what you’re going through, and be open to the advice of family and friends on how to navigate these challenges. A solid support system is one of the best weapons you can have in your fight for good mental health.
People management can take a toll on your mental health and emotional well-being if you let it. Committing to the above can help you maintain your mental health while still providing tremendous support to the people you manage.