In the Asian context, for too long have we been taught to put our careers before our health. And this has left many of us stressed and burned out. China’s 996 work culture which has been recently denounced by the Chinese government, and Singapore’s unenviable rise to the top of the Most Fatigued Nations list is testament to a continental lifestyle that is experiencing an imbalance between work and life.

Coupled with a blurring of lines between a work and living space at home as WFH becomes a ubiquitous norm, our mental health may have been taking a beating.

And perhaps for some of us, unknowingly.

So what can you do to ensure that work pressures do not become uncontrollable stress that ultimately damages your mental health?

Here are 5 tips for you:

1) Limit Your Media Consumption

With information at your fingertips through your laptops and mobile devices, you can be highly susceptible to unnecessary anxiety caused by fast-changing reports on the latest COVID restrictions or lockdowns. Though knowledge is gold, sometimes you need to be cognisant of what to know, how to rationalise it, and what to not know for the time being.

2) Stay Connected

Even if you are working from home and are choosing to limit your physical social interactions, it doesn’t mean you have to shut yourself from the world. With digital tools like Zoom and Google Hangout, you can still remain connected to friends, colleagues and loved ones. Talk about your worries or concerns with people you trust, and knowing that they may feel the same way, can alleviate those very fears.

3) Keep A Schedule

Sure, the only constant right now is change, but a broad schedule on a work day especially can do wonders to your mental health. This helps to create a reasonable level of predictability in your routine and delineates lines between work and other aspects of your life. And don’t forget to leave some time for self-care – by keeping yourself healthy, you’ll then be in a better position to help others if need be.

4) Be Mindful Of Your Present

WFH has inundated many of us with seemingly endless virtual meetings and Slack conversations. Remote work may have quickened the pace of our professional lives, but at times, you must learn to live in the present. You can spend five minutes a day focusing on what’s happening at work – right now, not yesterday or tomorrow. Work, like life, has both peaks and valleys – it’s all part of the tapestry.

5) Practise Gratitude

The current lifestyle inconveniences, economic turmoil, societal lockdowns etc. can indeed make us ask ourselves, “What’s there to be grateful for?” But the truth is…much. Gratitude is about knowing that you could be in a worse-off situation than the one you already are in. Ironically, focusing on what could be better would do you no good. So do keep a gratitude journal – note down what is going well at work like a fruitful conversation with your boss or a care pack sent to your home from the company.

At the end of the day, improving mental health is a cooperative process between the employer and employee. In such trying, uncertain times, it is more important than ever.

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