First, a sobering statistic. According to the CDC, only 57% of employees who report moderate depression and 40% of those who report severe depression receive treatment to control depression symptoms. Workplace stress can affect productivity, communication, physical ability and day to day operations. Fortunately, with the increasing popularity of remote only and remote-friendly organizations, employers are taking a hard look at employee wellness. Many of these forward-thinking organizations are developing self-care programs and sharing information on how employees can improve their mental health. Now, distributed teams across the globe are discovering their own wellness tools like live-streaming discussions with mental health counselors and webcasts on personal wellbeing and warning signs of depression and dealing with workplace stress. Here are 5 actionable strategies you can start using today to improve your mental health at work…   1.  Stick to the Plan – Routine creates habits. Scheduling your “me” time to relax and decompress throughout your workday is a simple, but easily overlooked tactic for improving mental health. Set your digital reminders or download one of the hundreds of productivity apps and live by them.

2.  You Can’t be Everything to Everyone – Burnout is real. We can all relate to wanting to impress our clients, bosses, or co-workers with the quality of our effort. However, it is important to set personal boundaries and communicate timelines with stakeholders in an open and honest way. As my mom always says, “just do one thing at a time, Dan.” Multi-tasking is great, but not at the cost of your health.

Burned out worker who is biting her pencil with stress

3.   Stay Connected– I don’t know about you, but I despise feeling like I am on a deserted island, facing the challenges of my workday all alone. Depending on your job, personality, and organizational workflow, interacting with co-workers can be a challenge. However, research shows that connecting with others through fulfilling conversation has a dramatically positive effect on mental health. Next time you’re out for afternoon coffee, try inviting someone new.

Coworkers getting together for a cup of coffee and good conversation

4.   Break Time is not Work Time – Just breathe. I can’t count how many times I catch myself holding my breath every day typing away on my laptop! What a difference stepping outside and walking around has done for me personally. Take your well-deserved breaks away from the digital suck and just take a few deep breaths in and out. Connecting with an activity that literally keeps you alive can quickly improve your mood and increase work productivity.

Remote employee on break taking a deep breathe in

5.   Join the Co-Working Revolution – According to, 40% of the workforce will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and solopreneurs by 2020. Communal working spaces is not the future of employment, it is the here and now! Companies are aware of this growing trend and are learning more about the physical and mental health benefits of a remote or co-working lifestyle.

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By applying a couple of these simple strategies on a consistent basis, you will be well on your way to achieving a successful work-life balance. Just saying a kind word or lending a helping hand to a coworker in need can have a major impact on company morale. Let’s all be good to ourselves and each other.  

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