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How to maintain our mental health at work

Work can have beneficial effects on our mental health. It reinforces our feeling of having a place in society, gives us an identity through our profession and contributes to our self-esteem. But it can also be the cause of mental health problems. As in our personal lives, we can experience periods of well-being and others of malaise in our jobs.

At work, our well-being depends on many factors over which we have no direct control, such as the financial situation of the company that employs us, the working conditions or the general atmosphere. However, there are ways to act, on a daily basis, to preserve our mental health.

Here are a few suggestions from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, a government agency, and the Canadian Workplace Strategies for Mental Health website.

Take regular breaks, even short ones. Taking a break to stretch, drink tea, listen to music, make a phone call or send a text to a loved one can help reduce stress. You can also go hand-deliver documents to colleagues, go for a walk or take a bike ride.
Avoid unnecessary stress by...

-learning to say "no
-categorizing tasks and responsibilities as urgent or non-urgent
-Recognizing our limits and accepting that we can't do everything
-Breaking down tasks that seem insurmountable into smaller successive goals
-Asking for help and letting others help us
-Focusing on our successes in our work
-Practicing so that we feel comfortable saying "I don't know" when we do
-Thinking of ways we can be of service to our colleagues. When we engage in helpful behaviors, it can help us feel less stressed.
-Better manage conflicts with our colleagues.

If we have a problem with a colleague, we can discuss the facts of the conflict with someone we trust. They can give us another opinion and help us adjust our perception of the situation.
We can sit down privately with our colleague. It is important at this time to resist the urge to blame or humiliate the other person. We need to focus only on the solution by asking ourselves: what change can be made?
If the task seems too daunting, we can ask another person we both respect to help us do it.
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