TL;DR – When you feel like you’re fighting your battles all alone, remember this: You are not alone.
If you haven’t been on LinkedIn lately, you might have missed out on some HR professionals flexing about how their organisations have granted their employees a day off earlier this week, on 10th October. (That’s right, a day off even though it wasn’t a public holiday!)
What’s the special occasion? Well, 10th October is not just a day with massive 10.10 sales, but it’s also the World Mental Health Day.
According to the World Health Organisation, the objective of the day is to raise awareness of mental health issues and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health.
No doubt, the day off is a nice gesture from companies, and all of the online posts do help with driving awareness.
Behind the rosy pictures painted, however, some of you might have treated the day off as an opportunity to ‘OT’ and catch up on work. Or worse, taking the day off might have created even more mental stress as you feel that more work has piled up.
Well, you are not alone. A study conducted by NTUC Youth Taskforce found that one of the top worries workers have is work-life balance (surprise, surprise).
This study is part of NTUC’s larger efforts to engage 20,000 workers and beyond in the #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations, to understand their concerns and aspirations in order to distill key findings, and produce recommendations to the government.
As the age-old saying goes, ‘Health is Wealth’ and this includes our mental health.
It’s no secret that work-life in Singapore can be stressful and here are some notes that may come in handy:
1. Remember that you’re not alone
Someone out there is probably fighting their own battle, as you are.
If your workplace is a demanding one, you can well be sure that one of your teammates might be burning the same midnight oil and feeling as burnout as you are.
Sometimes there’s comfort in knowing that someone feels the same. Have a work spouse? It’s time to reach out! You might not know, but one of your colleagues might even be a trained peer supporter.
News has it that Young NTUC, the Labour Movement’s youth wing, has trained and certified 675 people who can render peer-to-peer support on mental well-being and psychological first aid till date.
This update came one year after the Workforce Skills Qualifications Certified Training in Peer-to-Peer Mental Well-being Support @ Work was launched.
According to Young NTUC, it is in their pipeline to train up to 1,000 peer supporters by March 2023.
Ten minutes may seem to be too time-consuming when you’re already trying to beat a deadline at work. However, meditation has been known to be able to reduce short-term stress. Focusing on breathing normalises your blood pressure and clears up your mind too.
Giving yourself some time to reflect may even help inspire new ideas for tackling your work problem. You’ll never know – perhaps it’s not about having more time to finish your research for a project, but having that clarity to look at your problem in another way to solve it.
3. It’s okay not to be the best
With the proliferation of social media, it seems like everyone (except us) is going somewhere. We see LinkedIn updates of acquaintances climbing up the ladder, or Instagram stories documenting others’ extravagant work trips.
At work, we may hit a plateau, and everything just seems to not be working for us.
However, it’s always key to remember that there’s always another story behind the social media updates. Besides, sure – we might not excel at work (how many of us really do realistically), but there’s a whole life outside of work when you let there be.
Rethink and evaluate your priorities – what are you working for and why?
4. Learn to say no
Or suggest alternatives to your boss. Sometimes, when bosses are not the ones doing the actual dirty work, they get carried away with their demands. You might be surprised, but when you lay out a new plan or explain your difficulties, your boss might even accept those.
When this (or other solutions) doesn’t work, then consider seriously if it’s time to say ‘no’ to the job. Perhaps it is a culture fit, perhaps it’s the job nature. Regardless, if things get too tough, perhaps it is time to get some career advice in and evaluate if it’s time for a change.
5. Seek professional help
There’s absolutely no shame in reaching out to professionals for help. Most importantly, do not trivialise what you are feeling. In fact, seeking help is actually more common than you think, and not such a huge deal as you thought it to be!