Caring for your mental health at work

We spend a lot of time at work. For many of us, it is a central part of our lives and means we can make the most of our time outside of work doing things we enjoy. The time we spend at work, the friends we make there, and our achievements can be some of the most rewarding of all.

However, with ever-increasing workloads and expectations from managers and employers, along with the challenge of balancing time for family, sometimes work can become a hinderance. It can then have a detrimental impact on one’s happiness or emotional wellbeing.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that fluctuations in mental health at work doesn’t necessarily have to stem from an unhappiness in your job – there may be something impacting elsewhere in your life that affects your emotional wellbeing in all aspects of your life, including at work.

So how can you make sure you look out for yourself, and help support your friends and colleagues, when the going gets tough?

We’ve outlined our tips and suggestions below to help you stay, or get back to, feeling happy in your workplace.

When you need help or guidance, just ask

Employers appreciate employees that are open and honest. It helps build trust and helps them understand and address any issues or challenges you have, rather than leaving you to struggle alone.

If something is troubling you, impacting your happiness at work and therefore impacting your performance, ask to talk to someone. This could be your manager, a colleague you have a good relationship with, or a HR team member. They’ll be able to put some steps into place to help you feel better, or manage the situation you find yourself in.

If you are faced with challenges and decisions to make at work, and it is causing you distress, speak to your line manager, or someone else who can give you advice or support you in making these tricky decisions. A problem shared is a problem halved, and together you can come to the right conclusion for you, and the business!

Organise group activities with your team

This is a great way to become more connected with your team, which helps make the challenging workdays more bearable. Organise some lunch time board game sessions in the canteen, or head straight out after work and try an Escape Room – socialisation and problem solving all rolled in to one!

In summer, if you have easy access to some green space or a park, you could organise a group rounders match or picnic – invite some other departments along too for a friendly in-house competition.

You will find that spending time with work colleagues outside of the office can help you understand different personality types. In turn, this helps communication and work processes in the office to help keep you happy and content at work.

Get your work/life balance right

Are you always first one in the office? Last to leave at night? Signing in to work emails at the weekend? A one off is fine. But it’s also important to achieve that balance between work and home. Whether you’ve got a big family, or you live alone; a work/life balance is crucial for positive mental health.

Understandably, there are times at work when we must put in the extra hours to make sure things are just right – preparing for a key meeting, ordering equipment for an event or submitting a report on its deadline date. However, this should be the exception and not the norm regardless of how senior you are in your career or organisation.

Some people will thrive from being a 24/7 workhorse, but for these people it does not come at the detriment of their mental health and emotional wellbeing. If you need to reassess priorities, deadlines and expectations from your team, manager or clients, reach out and speak to someone.

Approach every day with a positive attitude

The Law of Attraction is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life. Even if you don’t believe in this type of philosophy, the way you approach situations can have an impact on your happiness and mental wellbeing at work.

So, if you’re faced with a challenge look at it as an opportunity to develop your learning. Say hello to everyone when you come into the office. Offer to do the tea round. Have small talk. Share good news stories and encourage others to do so, too. Have a glass-half-full attitude and look at everything as an opportunity to progress and develop.

If there are aspects of your personal life that are affecting your mental health, try using your time at work as an opportunity to be productive despite challenges elsewhere. However, if you feel you need help and support at work, even when you are affected by circumstances outside your professional life, don’t hesitate to talk to someone.

Choose a company and culture you love

This one’s a given, right?! Finding a company that ‘fits’ you is essential for positive mental health at work. This looks different for everyone – for some it may be a caring culture, for others a competitive culture. Some people want a company that will put flexible working at the centre of their offering, and others will look for financial benefits as a key driver for their workplace happiness.

Whatever makes you tick when it comes to work and company culture – don’t settle for second best. In today’s competitive market, employers are always looking for stand out candidates. With unemployment so low, this can be a challenge, and puts some power of say into your hands as the job seeker.

So be clear on your workplace non-negotiables (which you can learn more about in this blog). If you find yourself having more bad days than good, which have an impact on your mental health at work, start putting some steps in place to rectify this. That might be talking to management or HR at your current company to change your situation, or it might be looking for a new job.

If you decide you’d like to look for a new role with a company that offers you everything you want from work, working with a recruitment company to find your next ideal job can be a good place to start. Here at Anne Corder, we have strong, in-depth partnerships with companies where people love to work, and we really get to know their culture. This helps us join up the right candidate, with the right company, for meaningful, long-lasting job placements.

Get in touch if you’d like us to help you with your next step to finding happiness at work, every day.

Alternatively, you can call us on 01733 235298 or email

The NHS has a list of organisations you can talk to, who can also help you put steps in place to help improve your mental health at work. You can see them on the NHS website here.


About the Author

Emma Plummer

Emma Plummer

Recruitment Partner

Emma blogs for the ACR jobseekers’ blog covering tips on how to stand out, managing the job-hunting process and more.