Five tools for keeping track of your mental health at work and at home
It’s easy to get lost in a mountain of work that you go through on a daily basis. Here are five tools for keeping track of your mental health at work and at home.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it might be best to take a step back and relax. This will not only improve your mental health at work but also allow you to come back with increased productivity.
Wondering how you could effectively manage your mental health while managing your responsibilities? Here are five useful tools that can also be applied at work and at home too.
1) Keep a digital or written journal
Keeping a written or digital journal has been a staple of cognitive behavioural therapy for many years. A thought journal is the most popular type of diary, and is typically divided into three columns: events, thoughts and feelings.
Keeping track of each makes it easier to spot any trends and patterns that could be affecting your mental health. For example, if you feel anxious when working on specific tasks, this could be a cue to discuss it with your supervisor.
Lugging round a journal and using it regularly at work however isn’t always practical. (You may also not welcome questions from your colleagues about your ever-present notebook.) If so, consider using an app like MoodKit. Another advantage of apps like these is that they usually come with cloud back-ups, so you can’t lose them.
2) Track your habits
Your mental health could be affected by a wide variety of factors. Many of the habits that we’ve acquired in our daily life can collectively be contributing to our high stress and low happiness levels.
Habits like smoking, drinking too much coffee, skipping meals, snacking on high sugar treats, using electronic devices in bed all directly or indirectly impact how we feel.
Even work habits like procrastination can be affecting your mental health – according to recent findings, procrastination increases stress without providing meaningful relief.
So one way to take a healthier approach to managing your emotions is to keep track of your daily habits.
A simple journal listing how much time each day you spend smoking or procrastinating, or how many coffees or other caffeinated drinks you consume might be the motivator you need to kick the habit once and for all.
Don’t fancy keeping a pen and paper to list your habits? Quit That! and similar apps help you to track time for each activity. But we need to warn you: you might be unpleasantly surprised at just how much time you spend watching YouTube when avoiding tackling your to-do list!
3) Make quick mental health exercises a habit
When people think about mental health, the idea of managing it and getting to (and maintaining) a healthy headspace can seem like a LOT of hard work. It might even feel an impossible task to you right now.
But our mental health is on a spectrum, and even small steps can help move you, slowly but surely, to a better place.
Take the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a simple exercise that requires no equipment, or special environment or skills. Anyone can practice mindfulness anywhere, any time and reap the benefits. Here’s a really simple mindfulness exercise that you can try right now.
If you haven’t tried mindfulness before, here are some of the benefits it’s said to offer:
- Mindfulness can help to reduce stress by regulating emotions in your brain.
- The focusing decreases distraction, which helps to improve your concentration.
- Mindfulness can encourage a healthy lifestyle by increasing your self-awareness.
- It’s also said to help increase our happiness levels.
If you’d like help, there are a number of apps that can help you to make mindfulness and other calming techniques a regular part of your daily life. Starting simple healthy habits like these can, over time, have a big impact on your mental health and work and at home.
And many mental health exercises like mindfulness exercises only need to take 5-10 minutes a day so you could comfortably fit them in your lunch break or commute.
4) Give your brain a creative break by colouring
It’s all well and good knowing how to help your mental health at work, but finding time on your busy day to actually implement the ideas is a challenge in itself.
So you need to be creative and find wellbeing outlets that don’t take too much time or focus to reap the benefits from. A recent report compiled by Huffpost name colouring as one of the most beneficial strategies for staying creative and happy.
The great thing about colouring is that you can pick it up and put it down – and you can spend just a few minutes on it at a time. It’s something you can carry with you and even do on your commute if you use public transport.
There are a variety of apps for colouring such as Lake: Colouring Books, which allow you to create something beautiful within a short space of time. Completing a small picture should not take more than 5-10 minutes, and should make you feel calmer and more refreshed.
5) Talk to an AI ‘therapist’
It’s not often that you have an opportunity to talk with a certified therapist, even is it’s just via your phone, or internet therapy services. And it’s even more difficult to find time for therapy during your working day.
However, there is ‘someone’ who is always there to listen and offer advice. Apps like Youper offer an AI companion who can listen to your concerns and frustrations, keep a thought journal for you, and even make specific recommendations for managing your mental health.
Of course, an AI ‘therapist’ is not a real person and the conversation won’t flow in the same way as it would with a real, human therapist. But the app is a good solution if you need to get something off your chest in your working day.
Anna Clarke specialises in education, marketing, business and technology topics. As the owner of online writing company 15 Writers, she has extensive experience in providing academic Literature Review writing help to students around the world.
Photo by Imani Clovis