May is Mental Health Awareness Month, making this a great time to focus on your psychological state. It’s important to take a moment to address your daily work patterns before they lead to burnout and create serious health consequences.
Do you find yourself working longer days, being “on call” after hours or working during your time off? If so, it may be time to implement some changes. While some small businesses embrace the “no days off” mentality, this mindset can lead to stress, reduced productivity and a negative impact on other areas of your life.
Here are four tips to set and maintain boundaries to protect your mental health and encourage your teams to do the same.
1. Take your vacation days.
You are given vacation days each year, but how often do you find yourself taking them? According to a recent finding by McKinsey & Company, many employees either aren’t taking their vacation days or are finding it challenging to unplug.
Taking time for yourself will help you recharge and return to work with a refreshed mental state.
As a business owner, encourage your employees to take their vacation days too. To motivate your employees, it’s best to lead by example. When they see that you’re diligent about scheduling your days off, employees will be more likely to follow suit.
Taking time off as a leader also gives your teams a moment to step up and cover tasks that can help develop their skills and give them the confidence to grow in their career.
2. Put breaks on your calendar.
Schedule time for a lunch break or to go on a walk to reduce stress, enhance your mood and boost productivity. If a lunch break isn’t feasible, can you adjust your meeting length to 25 or 50 minutes to give a five to 10-minute break to prepare for your next task?
Even short breaks throughout the day will leave you coming back to a task with a whole new perspective.
Small business owners, I recommend collecting feedback from your staff. What do they need to have more work-life balance? Work on fostering a supportive culture that encourages employees to check in, support one another and take breaks.
3. Identify your why.
Finding the motivation to come to work each day is difficult without a sense of purpose. Identifying meaning behind your work is critical to maintaining a positive outlook. Recognize your purpose and put that “why” at the forefront of your workday.
At The UPS Store, our purpose is rooted in helping small businesses find solutions for their unique business needs. Our passion is helping entrepreneurs reach their goals.
There are additional strategies to raise employee happiness and mental health. Show your workforce you value their development as a professional by encouraging them to learn new skills to inspire new passion for the work they do.
4. Get back to the basics.
This may seem simple, but it’s important that you prioritize your basic human needs. Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night, eating healthy and finding time for some movement throughout the day.
With a never-ending to-do list, I always identify the tasks that are critical for the day and the ones that can be accomplished another day. This practice makes sure that I can leave work at a reasonable hour to spend time with my family and have time to rest each evening.
While mental health may be considered trendy, it’s important to remember that it’s all about your personal wellness. It was a key topic during our recent Small Biz Challenge: The Roundtable Discussion with celebrity chef and entrepreneur, Carla Hall, and founder of Walker and Company Brands, Tristan Walker.
To successfully set boundaries at work, we must continue the conversation surrounding mental health and its critical role in the workplace. By fostering a company culture that values and respects mental health boundaries, you are supporting both the well-being of your employees and the longevity of your business.