Both your physical and mental health are the result of a complex interplay between many individual and environmental factors, including:
- family history of illness and disease/genetics
- lifestyle and health behaviours (e.g., smoking, exercise, substance use)
- levels of personal and workplace stress
- exposure to toxins
- exposure to trauma
- personal life circumstances and history
- access to supports (e.g., timely healthcare, social supports)
- coping skills
When the demands placed on someone exceed their resources and coping abilities, your mental health will be negatively affected. Two examples of common demands are: i) working long hours under difficult circumstances, and ii) caring for a chronically ill relative. Economic hardship, unemployment, underemployment and poverty also have the potential to harm mental health.
While there is growing awareness of the role that the workplace plays in affecting our mental wellness, workers can also take steps towards promoting their own mental well-being by building a strong resilience to stress - a process referred to as mental fitness.
By actively practicing mental fitness, we can elevate our health and work performance, while effectively managing varying levels of stress.
Here are some ways to practice mental fitness:
1. SCHEDULE "me-time" daily.
2. REWARD yourself.
3. PLAY to your strengths.
4. ASK for and OFFER help.
5. DE-STRESS your diet.
6. PRESS pause once in a while - downtime is good.
7. GET regular physical activity.
8. SET goals and stay on target with a journal.
9. PRACTICE relaxation techniques and get enough sleep.
10. CHOOSE a positive attitude.