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In the not-too-distant past, people with mental health issues were talked about in whispers if they were talked about at all. Most people who needed help refused treatment because of the stigma associated with it. The concern was not unfounded. Senator Thomas Eagleton, a 1972 United States vice-presidential candidate was criticized unmercifully when the public learned he had been treated for depression. Fast forward to today. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, and tennis star, Naomi Osaka were denigrated by some but were applauded by so many more for acknowledging their bouts with mental illness. 

People with mental illness have always been present in all walks of life. The good news is we are acknowledging them and they are more likely to get help. The workplace is no exception. This is a two-part blog. This week’s post will focus on individual employees and next week will focus on how employers can support employees with mental health issues.

I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that a degree of stress comes with any job or work situation. However, too much stress can be unhealthy. There’s even more stress with high-pressure positions. Self-knowledge and job-fit help mitigate the stress.

When starting a new position, job stress was always the highest during the first year, especially in a news organization. It can also be stressful when moving up in the same organization because roles, responsibilities, and relationships change. I used to say when starting a new position, I had two jobs: learning and doing.

Uncertainty can be stressful, so the first order of the learning process is practicing coping skills. The first coping skill is insight. Knowing your actual strengths and weaknesses (not the canned answers given during interviews) is critical. Most of us like to be challenged, it keeps work interesting. However, you have to know your challenge-overwhelm tolerance range. In the digital age, the line between work and life is sometimes nonexistent. Recognize the warning signs, fatigue, illness, irritability, or other socioemotional triggers.

If it gets to be too much let your boss know and practice self-care. Here are some things you could try: reciting daily affirmations, deep breathing, listening to music or inspiring stories, diet, exercise, brief walks during the day as well as cultivating positive work relationships. If that is not enough ask for help: it’s 2022.

Feel free to share your thoughts about how mental health can impact people in the workplaceTo learn more about my coaching practice visit: