Your Mind At Work//

6 Specific Ways to Check in With Your Mental Health

Asking ourselves the right questions is key to keeping our well-being intact.

I live with bipolar disorder, an illness that I write and speak about on an international level. My illness requires constant self-assessment to keep me physically and emotionally well. However, it doesn’t take a chronic health condition for work and life to impact our mental health. It’s important for everyone to pay attention to our bodies and minds and take action to keep working and feeling our best.

Having been surprised by my symptoms in the past, I created this two-step strategy that helps me assess my well-being, be responsive and proactive, and thrive. I’m putting it out there in hopes that others might find it useful in their lives as well.

The Check-in

Every week I perform a three-step check-in, looking at myself from the outside. Because my brain does not always register it is struggling, analyzing my outward actions (declining performance, unmet deadlines, etc.) allows me to see if my mental health needs to be addressed. Here are my three steps:

  1. To-do check. Am I on schedule? Why or why not? I am driven by deadlines. Seeing that I’m at risk of missing deadlines (or have missed some already,) I know it is time to increase my mental wellness routines.
  2. Time check. How much time am I working? Am I overworking and on the verge of burning out? Could I be preventing this by reaching out for support from colleagues or delegating? Or, am I barely working because I am already burnt out?
  3. Colleague check. What do my colleagues think? What are they seeing? Are they noticing changes in my habits and deliverables? Am I leaning too much on them for mental health support or could I be asking for more support?

The Check-out

After I check in with myself I decide how much energy I need to focus on self-care. Even if I’m doing well, it’s important to take time to “check out” of work and life stressors and decompress. (Side note, there is a time and place to “check out.”) Here are three check-out steps I do every day to practice self-care and thrive.

  1. Take a break. Even if I can’t take a lunch break, I always take small breaks where I can completely check out. I watch a short TV show while I eat, read a book, meditate, or do something that helps me not think. I don’t count social media as a break because it often brings me right back to work worries. By forgetting the world for small moments, I allow my body to relax and my mind to reset.
  2. Take a walk. Another strategy is to leave my workspace. I take a walk or change rooms for a bit. Getting out of the space in which I spend most of my day working, thinking, and stressing allows a reset and recharge.
  3. Put the phone down. Growing research is examining the connection between increased screen time and decreasing mental health. Working in communications (for the Americans with Disabilities Act National Network) I am ALWAYS on my phone checking email, social media, and news outlets. This means my brain is always on. However, taking breaks from technology is when my body feels the safest telling me how I’m really feeling. True, it’s not fun realizing that when I slow down, I may be super sad or super anxious, but that is when I begin to recognize the importance of maintaining well-being.
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

“I Educate Others Whenever I Can, I Focus On What People Can Do And Not On The Negatives” With Bianca L. Rodriguez And Ann-Noreen Bird

by Bianca L. Rodriguez, Ed.M, LMFT
Well-Being//

Why Depression Is Making Me Happy

by Annika Rose
Community//

“Whenever I Feel Depression Nipping At My Heels, It’s Usually Correlated With Feeling Disconnected” With Bianca L. Rodriguez And Megan Bruneau

by Bianca L. Rodriguez, Ed.M, LMFT

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.