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Looking after your own mental health and wellbeing

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Use this page to learn how to support your own mental health and wellbeing at work or while volunteering.

Five simple ways to improve wellbeing at work

Research by the New Economics Foundation has identified five ways to promote mental wellbeing.

1. Connecting with others

Connecting with others is key for people’s wellbeing. Research shows that good quality social interaction helps prevent many mental and physical health problems.

You can:

  • introduce yourself to a new colleague or fellow volunteer in person or during a virtual meeting
  • ask someone how they’re doing and really listen to their answer
  • have lunch or a coffee break with a colleague, fellow volunteer or friend in person or online.

2. Being physically active

Exercise protects and improves our overall health, mood and wellbeing. You can be active by:

  • doing sitting exercises or stretches
  • going for a walk in your break
  • signing up for an exercise class after work or volunteering in person or online.

The NHS has information on sitting exercises and getting active.

3. Learning

Learning can boost your self-esteem and help you connect with others. Setting goals is particularly beneficial for wellbeing. You can learn something new by:

  • finding out something about your colleagues and the people you volunteer with
  • taking part in an in-person or virtual club, like a book or language exchange
  • attending a class after work or volunteering in person or online.

4. Giving

Giving improves mental health and wellbeing by creating a sense of reward. Some ways you can give at work are by:

  • helping a colleague or someone you volunteer with carry out a difficult task
  • making a cup of tea for someone
  • volunteering outside of work or using your volunteering leave.

5. Paying attention

Noticing things can help you have a clearer mind and slow down your thoughts. You can pay attention by:

  • taking a different route into work, volunteering or changing your work-from-home routine a little
  • creating a pleasant working or volunteering environment with plants or photographs
  • being present in conversations with colleagues and volunteers.

More tips for staying well at work

Some other ways you can increase your wellbeing at work include:

  • taking breaks
  • having nutritious meals and drinking enough water
  • having a regular routine and enforcing work-life boundaries
  • listening to music that helps you focus
  • being aware of signs of stress and knowing how to manage stress
  • asking for help and support, including resources and training when you need it.

Mind has more information on taking care of yourself at work and managing stress at work.

Impact of workplace problems

Problems and challenges at work can impact your mental health and wellbeing. Examples include:

  • unmanageable workloads or excessive pressure to perform
  • inappropriate, challenging or changing demands
  • poor management and lack of support
  • workplace conflict and tension
  • experiencing discrimination or harassment at work
  • poor work-life balance and lack of flexibility for individual needs.

Whatever the reason, there are ways to help you feel better. Mind has information and practical suggestions for being mentally healthy at work.

You can use the Acas helpline to talk about workplace problems and learn about your options.

Further support

Last reviewed: 01 August 2022

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 01 August 2022

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