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Tips for Your Physical and Mental Health in the Workplace

By Akhila Sriram on July 29, 2021

As beautifully demonstrated on the global stage by Simone Biles, you might be in excellent physical shape, but your mental health matters just as much to your overall wellbeing and should be prioritized. Ignoring or not addressing one aspect of your health will harm you in the long run. Finding that balance and forming good habits when it comes to physical and mental health in the workplace is vital to overall health. As inspired by the GOAT herself, we wanted to share some tips on applying that idea of balance and listening to both your body and mind to the workplace.

Tips for Physical Health in the Workplace

Whether you work behind a desk or on your feet all day long, monitoring and listening to your body is important when forming good habits. Make sure that when you implement any habits or programs around your physical health that you also consult with your physician on what your specific physical needs are. Listening to and trying to understanding your own body only goes so far, and a medical professional can help you pinpoint what you need for your health.

Take Short Breaks to Refresh Your Mind

When it comes to learning and working, our brains get overwhelmed and tired fairly easily, and needs regular breaks in order to perform at peak condition. According to research done by the productivity app DeskTime, “The most productive workers engage in job-related tasks for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break.” At least taking a break every 90 minutes can help give your brain the break it needs for re-centering and refocusing for the next round of work tasks. These breaks seem short but can be very impactful in the long run by refreshing what you’re thinking about and your attention span.

Easy Movements to Help Your Body

If you’re the type of person who just needs quick breaks from your work in order to continue performing well, this is the tip for you. NASA (yes, that NASA, the space agency) released a guide called DeskFit, detailing 20 simple exercises that you can do without leaving your office or home workspace. I imagine that astronauts would find such small exercises very impactful when in space. This guide is a great start for testing out what muscle movements work for your body and workspace and provides a great foundational understanding for how your body needs these small exercises. Their diagrams make the exercises simple to follow and create habits.

Switch Up Your Routine

Using different physical activities in the same way at the same time makes for regular good habits for physical activity, but also adding more variety and change to your routines will help your body. Just like gym-goers joke about not missing Leg Day, focusing on different parts of your body at different times can help your overall strength and stamina grow. By adding variety and changing up your routines regularly can help you try out new exercises while also using new muscle groups, allowing them to strengthen and grow.

Tips for Mental Health in the Workplace

No matter what your job is, you’re using your brain just as much as your body, so equally understanding your strengths and limits is important in helping maintain a health mindset. The CDC released an entire brief about the importance of addressing and understanding your mental health in the workplace, as your mental health as an employee can impact your work, the work of your teammates, and your company’s work in the long run. By checking in with yourself and your teammates, you’ll have a better handle on how your mind works and what you need to succeed.

Check In with Yourself

What tools or strategies do you have for checking on your personal mental health? If your answer is none, it’s never too late to start building good habits around understanding your own mind and taking breaks to listen to your own mind’s needs. Mindful shares this three-minute guided mindfulness practice, designed to help you focus on your mind and body and acknowledge your current condition. This helps you take a step back from whatever is happening around you and focus on what is happening in your mind currently. Doing check ins like this with yourself regularly can help you track your mental health over time by understanding what thoughts are cropping up most often and most prominently in your mind.

Staying Organized Your Way

When it comes to tracking your mental health, many find journaling and recording their daily check ins or thoughts to be helpful in tracking trends over time. Finding the tactic that works best for you and your mind is essential in establishing good habits. This can look like adopting a journaling time or technique, or using an app designed for recording and understanding your mental health. This list is a great place to start, but talking to a mental health professional about other helpful resources and technology options is also worthwhile. Getting recommendations from the pros can help you know what works best and what has been effective for other people.

Communicate When You’re Approaching or Surpassing a Limit

Establishing team or manager practices for communication around mental health limits and boundaries is useful for establishing a productive and focused work environment. By understanding your own limits and those of the people working with you, you can be better prepared for approaching or surpassing any limits, so that you can keep your mental health balanced. Discussing mental health with colleagues can feel uncomfortable, but starting a conversation with a trusted teammate can lead to more good in the long run. Creating an open environment for talking about how you best work, you can help your own success as well as supporting your teammates in their work.

We hope you find these tips useful and effective in your work. As we learned this week, sacrificing your mental health isn’t worth a gold medal on the global sports stage. So make sure you’re taking care of yourself and supporting a healthy work environment for yourself and your team!