Mental health issues are on the rise. Even before the pandemic, mental health-related illnesses were the most common cause of long-term absences in economies around the globe. Stress, anxiety, and work-related depression accounted for 54% of working days lost pre-pandemic.
What’s more, mental health conditions can influence motivation in the office, productivity, and turnover. In the accountancy and finance landscape, the problem is only continuing to grow.
As of 2021, 37% of respondents to the CIPD health and wellbeing survey say stress-related absence has increased in the last year.
Though part of the responsibility for minimising mental health conditions in the accountancy and finance space falls on the employer and their commitment to team wellbeing, staff members need to be prepared too. Learning how to care for your mental health and build resilience properly can ensure you continue to achieve outstanding results in your role, no matter how the workplace changes.
Step 1: Communicate
The first step in caring for your mental health is knowing how to talk about your feelings. When accountants feel overwhelmed, it’s easy to simply ignore the issue.
Many of us attempt to keep “pushing forward” on our own, which may be part of the reason why worker burnout is at an all-time high. However, people struggling with mental health concerns don’t have to go it alone. Many of the top employers in the accountancy and finance space are now committing to increased investment in teams’ wellbeing and support strategies.
Speaking to your employer about your issues and looking for solutions together can help solve the problem before it becomes too significant. For instance, if you’re struggling to manage working from home during days when the kids aren’t at school, your employer could offer a mix of in-person and remote (hybrid) work.
Step 2: Rediscover Work/Life Balance
Achieving work/life balance in the new age of work can be extremely difficult. With many employees now working from home, it can be challenging to determine when you should be concentrating on tasks in the office and when you can switch off.
To avoid overwhelm and reduce stress, many accountants will need to redefine what work/life balance means. This could be having a dedicated space for work at home when office work isn’t available. It also means setting a schedule to know when you can log out of workplace apps and shut the door to your “office” at the end of each day.
Remember, regular breaks are vital whether you’re working in the office or at home. They can help to refresh your mind and recharge your creativity. Try taking a walk around the room every hour or so or going for a drink of water.
Step 3: Remember Self-Care Basics
Self-care isn’t just something we need to focus on in our spare time. To perform well at work and deliver excellent results for our employers, we also need to look after ourselves during the working day. There are various components to this, such as:
- Eating well: Nutrition is vital in ensuring productivity and creativity. Make time to stop for a nutritious bite to eat at lunchtime rather than just having a snack at your desk. Make sure you’re eating well, wherever you’re working from.
- Staying active: Research suggests excessive sitting at your desk may be responsible for draining brainpower. Standing up every so often to exercise is a great way to keep yourself on track. You should also be committing to regular activity sessions throughout the week.
- Hydration: Don’t rely on coffee and sugary drinks alone to manage your focus during the day. These can lead to crashes in mood and energy. Instead, stock up on plenty of water.
A good night’s sleep is often essential to good mental health too. Committing to a strong sleeping schedule will give you more resilience to deal with any stresses you face at work.
Step 4: Explore Coping Mechanisms
Sometimes, accountants can feel more overwhelmed in the workplace than usual. When this happens, it’s important to have suitable coping mechanisms in place. For instance, you might consider downloading an app with guided mindfulness and meditation sessions you can do in a couple of minutes at work to help you relax.
Another option is simply getting outside and taking a breath of fresh air. Exposing yourself to nature and briefly changing your surroundings will help to give you the time out you need when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Surrounding yourself with the right people, either virtually or in person, can also be helpful. Laughing with friends at work is one of the best ways to reduce stress, ease pain, and relax your body. Laughter even helps to boost your immune system.
Step 5: Be More Realistic
It’s easy to hold yourself to unreasonable standards when trying to build a great career in [Sector]. You want to show your recruitment professional they’ve done the right thing by getting you this great job or prove yourself to your boss.
However, holding yourself to unreasonable standards can seriously impact both your mental and physical health. With that in mind, it’s important to be aware of your capabilities and restrictions as a human being. Understand the realities of what you can do.
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed at work, speak to your boss, or ask your co-workers for help. Take advantage of the ecosystem you have around you for support and guidance. Your team is there for a reason.
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