Workplace mental health best practices


Improving our mental health does not always mean seeing a therapist (even though it’s a great thing to do!). There are a few easy things we can do daily to help with our overall well-being at the office (and outside). 
Here are our 11 favorites best practices, quick and easy!  

1. Food for thoughts

You are what you eat they say. 
What we know for sure is that food impacts your mood. We are all different, but in general, eating too much sugar and drinking too little water will disturb our ability to concentrate or impact our patience. Skipping meals to “save time” can easily make us grumpier, but also lead to unhealthy eating habits and weight gain. 
Keeping a healthy diet that works for our lifestyle and body type and drinking enough water might sound like it has nothing to do with work, but they are key actions that will impact your well-being in the long run. 
Our team’s favourite healthy pick me up afternoon snack: Any kind of energy balls – They are quick and easy to make, and you can take them with you to the office. 

2. Get out

Whether you are working from home or the office, chances are, you are spending most of your working time inside. We often eat in as well. Once the day starts, it is easy to get into the flow of tasks and just forget about the “outside world”. 
The truth is, rain or shine, getting some outdoor time every day is essential for our mental health. Our body needs to see the sky, no matter how gray it is, breathe in the air… if we are lucky enough to have some greenery around, it will help even more as it has been proven time and time again that nature has a positive impact on our wellbeing. 
Getting out when you’re comfortable inside and “on a roll” is a pain. But trust us (and science), push yourself to take a short walk every day, and you will feel refreshed and even inspired! 

3. Get together

Even as part of a team, work can get lonely at times. 
Meetings are not a time to “get to know each other”. Having a few scheduled “get-together lunches” or after-work fun (picnic, pottery class, gardening, karaoke…whatever rocks your boat) is a nice way to create memories and bond with colleagues in a different, more relaxed way. 
It is important, though, that these remain optional. Nothing says “toxic culture” quite as much as mandatory fun. However, genuine team gatherings will nurture a sense of camaraderie that will make it easier for people to help each other out (#8 and #11).

4. Soundtrack your life

Who hasn’t dreamt of having their everyday life narrated by Morgan Freeman? (No? just us then). 
The next best thing is a great playlist. The one that is subtle enough that it wont get in the way of your work, but perky enough to keep you in flow. 
If music is not your jam, but you still want to block out the sounds of people around you (coworkers or family members), you might be curious to try ASMR or just white noise in your headphones.

5. Boundaries 

These should probably be the #1 priority, as they are so important. Having clear boundaries and being able to share them with leadership and your coworkers is a key to overall well-being. 
Saying no, though, is never easy. Remember that every time you say yes to someone, when you mean no, you are saying no to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up, but do experiment and find the right balance between what you can do now and then to help out and what is nonnegotiable. At the end of the day, this is in everyone’s best interest. 

6. Make Lists

Some lists have the power to send you down a spiral of anxiety. They are an arm long and never seem to end. We would advise against these todo lists. What we can recommend, though, are several lists. 
One that would be your daily priority, on which you will only add a maximum of 3 items a day. Everything else is a bonus after the completion of the three priority ones
One that would be your daily well being: a list of a few things you need to do every day to feel your best (maybe it is ready a few pages, take a walk, drink more water…) just a reminder that those things are important too.
One that is your overall todo: things that come to mind throughout the day and need to be done at some point, but are not on the price list of the day. That way, you are not anxious to forget something. 
Every day, take a few minutes to review the day’s tasks and update the next day’s list. It should help feel more in control. 
A simple thing to do: there are so many options for list and management apps. Some of us like to use Google Keep. It is probably as simple as it gets.

7. Wind down during Commute 

“I don’t mind the commute, I get work done”. That is something we’ve all heard and maybe even said ourselves. Granted some of us may not have commute time anymore due to more and more companies offering remote and hybrid solutions. 
But if you do, see that time as yours instead of an extension of the office. Take advantage of the limitations a train, bus, bike, or car journey brings: carry a good old book with you, listen to a fun podcast, or call a friend. 
Use that time almost as a decompression chamber between work mode and personal mode. 

8. Ask for help 

Probably the most underrated advice of all time. Well, probably not all the time since we, humans, used to be much better at supporting each other. Nowadays though, asking for help is almost as stigmatised as mental health issues. As if asking someone for support was a sign of weakness rather than a sign of knowing and understanding remarkably well. 
It is something that should be celebrated rather than frowned upon. We are here to cheer you on, and everyone else is daring to ask for help! 

9. Proper time out

Take real breaks. More and more of us tend to “take a break” by uploading a YouTube video in front of which we’ll eat our lunch before getting back to work, or something of the sort. 
Breaks only work if they actually break” the routine of whatever you are doing. If you get up, move, take yourself away from screens for a bit, and set your focus on something completely different: maybe petting the office dog, maybe walking outside to the courtyard, looking up at the sky, having a coffee with a friend and talking about anything but work, reading a few pages of your book… only 10-15 minutes of a real break can do wonder, but only if they are done properly; otherwise, they are just glorified procrastination sessions. 

10. Good job You!

Celebrate the wins”—we say it often, but we also mean to celebrate yourself! Be proud of the work you do, share your progress with others, and keep track of what you accomplish. So on the days you are feeling a little low or when impostor syndrome comes around, you can get back to it and remind yourself you are worthy. 
Another tip from our team is to keep all the positive feedback and reviews you’ve received in a folder on your phone or desktop for emotionally rainy days. 

11. Help others 

Pay attention to the signs that someone else around you might be struggling. Helping others is a wonderful way to feel like you belong, to feel valued, and to make ourselves feel better. 
Sometimes you can even offer help without waiting to be asked (concerning your boundaries of course #5) and make someone’s day. Chances are, they’ll pass it forward and contribute to creating a positive environment. 
What are you already doing? What would you like to try? Share with a friend/colleague! 
Stay tuned as we release our Best Practices for Employers piece.