When someone is not feeling mentally healthy, everything else in life suffers. This is just as true on the job as in any other area of life.

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness and 71% of people feel stressed. (1) Workplace stress is reported by 80% of employees and results in poor physical health, decreased work performance, and increased absenteeism. (2)

Since most people spend half their day at work, caring for mental health is essential for a healthy environment.

People Who Feel Stressed
Mental Illness

Five Tips for Better Mental Health on the Job

1. Take Advantage of Stress Management and Wellness Programs at Work

Many companies offer things like quiet areas, yoga classes, health screenings, and discounted or free memberships to gyms or health centers. Get involved and connected with the resources available through your job.

If your employer does not offer any wellness programs, take the initiative and start the conversation.

Take advantage of stress management and wellness programs at work

2. Take Mental Health Days When Needed

There is less and less stigma around the concept of mental health days. (3) Whether you use a personal day or a sick day, when you feel yourself edging towards burnout, it’s time to take a step back. Your mental health is a priority.

Make the day all about doing things that make you feel healthy and peaceful, so you can return to work refreshed.

Take mental health days when needed

3. Get Outside at Some Point During the Workday

Being outdoors increases serotonin levels, a hormone that can improve your mood and provide a feeling of calm. (4) Taking a walk at lunch or using a short break to step outside and stretch can be a useful mental release. It’s good for your mental health.

Get outside at some point during the workday. It's better for your mental health.

4. Choose Stress-relieving Activities During Your Lunch Hour or Break

If you let stress build-up throughout the workday, it will be harder to unwind at the end. Prevention is the best option.

Thus, find an easy activity you can do at work that makes you feel calm. It could be a brief meditation, reading a relaxing book, coloring, or stretching. Whatever you can do unobtrusively and without interruption for five to ten minutes when you need a mental reset.

Choose stress-relieving activities during your lunch hour or break

5. Do Something Kind for Someone Else

Acts of kindness benefit the giver as well as the receiver. Doing something nice for a coworker can boost mood, decrease stress hormones and increase feelings of well-being. (5)

This does not mean taking on more than you can handle or creating a situation where others take advantage of you. For example, doing something kind might include picking up a coffee for a coworker who is having a rough day, offering to take on a small task for someone you know is struggling, or just checking in with a coworker who may be feeling isolated.

Do something kind for someone else

Mental Health at Work is Good for Everyone

The more mentally robust and resilient you feel, the more you will contribute and be productive on the job—what better place to invest in the actions that will lead to better mental wellness – and your overall wellness.