10 Tips To Make Working With A Mental Health Problem Easier
When you are living with a mental health problem, stress and anxiety are two fighters on the battlefield that you want to avoid coming to blows with. However, as we all know, becoming stressed at some point is inevitable when it comes to working, so taking action to build up your defences is key. Here are some things to try before becoming a pulling-your-hair-out, procrastinating mess.
1. Organisation will be your saviour
There’s nothing more stressful than having an important task to complete and being hit by the realisation that you haven’t got all the resources that you need. Whether it’s a case of not having a working pen or forgetting the memory stick which holds your most precious files, when you’re already feeling stressed, avoiding further anxiety is a must.
- Make notes: Writing down what you need to do, or what information needs to be included in an assignment, helps to organise your thoughts. It also helps to ensure that you’ve covered everything that you need to.
- Leave reminders: The intention to be organised is not enough – forgetfulness happens, and it happens often. By leaving yourself reminders on your phone, a piece of paper stuck to the wall (and so on), you will receive a reminder from your past wise self to pack that all-important USB.
Lists are wonderful. They will help you greatly with your organisational skills and you can tick things off as you complete them. This is especially useful when you’re trying to get a task done that is really dragging as you can organise the task into small sections and tick each section off at a time. Look at you go, you pro!
3. Get enough sleep
Yes, this sounds terribly boring, but a tired person is not a productive person. A tired person is also often a person who is not in a good mood. Get your sleep.
4. Ask questions
What does being unsure of what is being asked of you lead to? ANXIETY. If you are struggling with something be sure to ask your boss. They should always be willing to help and will be happier knowing that, with extra guidance, you will be doing your work properly. Friends or colleagues may also be able to assist (but they may be just as confused as you are!).
5. Make negotiations
There are times when you can’t realistically cope with the burden that work places upon your shoulders. Pretending that you are absolutely fine or running away from the task completely will not help anyone, especially not you! At times like these, it should be a priority for you to negotiate with the appropriate person/people to re-distribute the workload to better suit your needs. If you are a person who gets anxious in social situations, this is of course easier said than done. Try to focus on the beneficial outcome of reaching a negotiation and seek moral support from those around you if need be.
6. Don’t avoid work unless absolutely necessary
Unless your mind is complete mush (as can happen), you have the ability to push through and achieve at least something to show for the day. When you doubt your ability to complete a task procrastination can seem like the only option. Contrary to our weird logic, attempting to get on with a task can actually make you feel a lot better. If there is a specific problem stopping you from doing your work, see the points above and below for ideas on how to sort it.
7. When you can’t focus, make plans
Sometimes, it’s just not happening. Rather than trying to do work and ending up just staring at a screen (or whatever else you are working with), write down ideas for what you can do when your brain is willing to cooperate.
8. Talk to friends and family
When the dreaded mental block hits, talk about what you’re trying to achieve – they may be able to offer solutions and insight.
9. Focus on the positive feeling of achieving your goal
Getting too hooked up on the thought of a seemingly never-ending task is enough to make anyone want to hibernate for the next month. Instead, believe that you can do it and take it one step at a time.
10. Recognise that you are human
As an actual real-life human, you have needs, strengths and vulnerabilities. Sometimes things just can’t be done right away in the way that you’d hoped. Don’t despair when you can’t do something that you are working on. Take the day to calm yourself and try again tomorrow. Look after number one (that’s you!).