The Value of Mental Health for Business Success

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that how I feel can really affect how I work. I’m sure the same is true for just about everyone. If you’re feeling tired, overworked, stressed, or just down—you’re not likely to put out good work. On the flip-side, getting enough rest, having clarity, feeling accomplished and driven, and having a positive outlook is going to produce good work.

Our business success is affected by far more than the mood we happen to be in. That can change from day to day. It can change depending on whether or not we had our morning coffee! What business success ultimately depends on, more than momentary, temporal conditions is mental health.

It can drastically affect not just your day-to-day performance at work, but your overall success and satisfaction in the working world. If you want to succeed in your field, it’s crucial to take care of your mental and emotional well-being.

Let’s get it out there: 1 in 5 Americans deal with some kind of mental health issue each year. Anxiety and depression are more common than ever. Yet, there is still a stigma to talking about mental health, taking “mental health days,” and getting help when things get to be too much.

In business, those at the top often are ignorant or indifferent of what’s going on with their employees—or they themselves struggle to admit that they might need help. As we climb the ranks, talk about mental well-being becomes more and more scarce. And in high-pressure leadership roles, care for one’s mental health should take center stage!

Here are some top tips on how to better your mental health in the workplace.

Recognize the signs.

Do you know what depression looks like? How about anxiety? If you know the signs, you’ll be better equipped to recognize them in yourself and in those around you. Educate yourself and it will allow you to not only take better care of yourself, but help people in your workplace, too. If someone is stressed, withdrawn, or acting out, it might be time to reach out.

Don’t suffer alone.

Dealing with a mental health issue is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not unusual and it’s not representative of a flaw in your character. If you are struggling, reach out to someone and ask for help. Let a loved one know how you’re feeling. Talk to someone in HR, find a local mental health service, faith-based organization, or therapist that can help you work through your issues in a healthy way.

How do you know it’s time to seek help? When your mental health is interfering with your ability to enjoy life or do work, it’s time to do something about it. 

Balance your life.

One of the best ways to take care of yourself mentally is to make sure you’re living with a good work-life balance. While there is such a thing as a healthy level of stress, too much can generate anxiety and depression and hurt your ability to do work and be productive. As an employee, do your best to balance your work. Take your lunch breaks. Use vacation time. Save answering e-mails for office hours.

Take a break.

Too many of us don’t know how to take breaks anymore. We let vacation days pile up. We never take sick days. We eat lunches at our desks. We stay ‘on’ around the clock and don’t allow ourselves time to focus on our own needs. Even if work and career is important to you, leave room for hobbies, relationships, exercise, and rest. You’ll be in a better place for it.

Care for your body.

I’m an endurance runner, so you knew this one was coming. Taking care of your body physically goes a long way towards maintaining good mental health. Eating right, exercising often, and getting enough sleep all keep your mental health in check by keeping your body in balance. It’s one of the best preventative measures you can take.

Ultimately, valuing mental health is going to make you a better business leader and professional. It’s just as important as physical health!