Manage your wellbeing at work: Tips from career experts

In our fast-paced modern world, it’s easy to get stuck in the routine of work, eat, sleep – repeat. But this is a quick way to spiral towards a burnout. That’s why looking inward and starting to focus on your mental wellbeing at work can be incredibly beneficial. Here’s how to get started on a more positive path.

Why is wellbeing important at work?

In the pursuit of success, we’ve all been guilty of pushing our mental wellbeing, and we end up tiring ourselves out trying to juggle all the hats we wear. Even if we can see what’s happening, it might be too difficult to figure out which strategies will actually make a difference towards achieving balance and managing our mental health and work-related stress.

Expert strategies for boosting wellbeing at work

It can be tough shifting your mindset at work, but there are plenty of strategies to help improve your wellbeing. We reached out to two workplace experts – a psychologist and a career coach – to learn how to do just that.

Psychologist Kirsten Forgione shares five practical, science-backed ways to get started:

1. Find meaning in what you do: Look for the ‘why’ behind your tasks. One way of doing this is to identify your values – the things that are most important to you – and find ways to work in alignment with them. Rethinking your to-do list with this kind of inspiration will give your wellbeing (and your motivation) a boost!

2. Play to your strengths: There’s an element of magic in aligning tasks with your strengths. These are the things that you’re good at, that come naturally to you and that give you energy. Not only is it good for your career – because you get to show off your best work – it also enhances your wellbeing.

3. Get into flow: Find projects that challenge and excite you. When you find that sweet spot, you’ll enter the realm of flow – that elusive state where time distorts and brilliance unfolds effortlessly. The power of flow is transformative – it’s the ultimate work high and has incredible wellbeing benefits. 

4. Be curious: Continuously seeking to learn and understand boosts your wellbeing. It keeps you in the present (i.e. mindful), and it unleashes feel-good chemicals. It’s not just about acquiring knowledge, it’s also about thinking of different ways to do things, taking on new opportunities and seeking challenges. 

5. Make friends: Strong connections at work mean a happier you. Invest in your work tribe and celebrate their successes – this will help you navigate challenges together. Research shows that genuine connections not only make you feel good but also transform you into a productive, creative and resilient powerhouse.

Amie Duignan, Founder at A.D Connects says: “It’s important to remember that you matter – your needs matter and you are the most important variable at work.”

“Whatever you need to introduce into your work weeks to feel good, that’s a win-win for both you and your employer,” she adds.

Here are her strategies for how to feel good so you can show up to work as the best version of yourself:

  • You come first so you must always prioritise your health, wellbeing, and mental health. Listen to your body. If you feel a little off, give yourself permission to take a day to rest and relax. Allow yourself the grace to not be so hard on yourself for needing to take a day.
  • Establish healthy boundaries with your boss, peers, and employees – understand what your needs are when it comes to your wellbeing and what you need to help you thrive at work. Set boundaries that allow you to fulfil those needs.
  • Figure out what helps you relax and de-stress, then make sure to do that once a week. Also, do something for yourself every single day – don’t dismiss this by saying that you don’t have time, because you can do a five-minute breathwork in the shower or in your car, go for a walk around the block, or sit down for a moment and focus far into the distance to get out of your own head.

How to encourage conversation and combat the stigma

You’ve probably heard it before, but there’s incredible power behind just talking it out. When everyone is comfortable with sharing how they're really feeling, there’s no need to pretend that everything is perfect. Fostering a mentally healthy workplace is a joint effort between employers, leaders and workers.

Here are three considerations that you and your team could incorporate into your day to improve mental health in the workplace:

1. Establishing boundaries

Set healthy boundaries to ensure you don’t drown in your work and remember to take regular breaks to rest your eyes and avoid body stiffness, and to refresh your mind. 

2. Fostering a supportive work environment

At work, everyone is on the same team, working towards a common goal. An inclusive team culture allows people to thrive, do their best work and make genuine connections with their colleagues, which can contribute to a harmonious workplace.

3. Managing your workload

It’s normal for there to be ebbs and flows at most workplaces, but if your workload feels constantly unmanageable, it might be time to speak to your manager and seek their support with setting realistic deadlines.

Unique challenges and benefits of remote work

Remote work comes with its own variety of challenges in terms of wellbeing in the workplace. On the challenging side, the potential for loneliness and a lack of communication can be real. Distractions at home can also impact your focus.

However, the benefits are a big part of why so many employees and employers are embracing the option to work from home – especially in terms achieving work-life balance, reducing commute times, and letting people reclaim more hours in their day – which can also benefit their mental wellbeing. This new level of flexibility can suit your lifestyle and commitments.

While working from home can blur the lines between work and life, setting clear work hours and sticking to them can help. Having a dedicated space can also help keep your work separate from the rest of your home life and set clear boundaries.

Find your balance

Nurturing your mental wellbeing at work – whether from home or in the office – can help you find balance so you can avoid burnout and have the energy to thrive and succeed in all areas of your life, including enjoying quality time with your family. 

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Kirsten Forgione author photo

Kirsten Forgione

Co-founder and Psychologist at Myndly

Kirsten Forgione is a psychologist with a Master of Psychology (Organisational) and Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing. She draws on her wealth of experience as a psychologist, leadership coach, organisational development consultant, and adjunct lecturer to provide evidence-based ways to make work-life better. Kirsten is intrigued by the study of human behaviour at work, and is dedicated to bringing tools and kits to help people thrive in their careers, become more attuned with their values, strengths, motivators, and stressors, while avoiding being overwhelmed by work.