Mental Health Tips and Tricks for the Tech World
Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day, so what better way to celebrate than to talk about how we can help each other with our mental health?
As most know by now, I have been on a mental health journey myself for the past 15 years (if you don't know what I'm referring to, you can check out that post here. Within that time frame, I've picked up a lot of things that have helped me along the way as well.
I feel like the stereotype of people that work in tech is that we sit in a room alone all day just typing on our computers and where that can be true sometimes, we do a lot more than that. Our jobs are filled with things that can affect our mental health such as:
Having users want something from you all the time
Being on call 24/7 and not having the best work/life balance
having to creatively solve problems on the spot under stressful conditions
When you aren't working, having to work on learning all of the time so you don't get left behind
sometimes users can be unappreciative or just plain mean
A lot fo big wigs don't really understand the value that we bring, so we have to prove ourselves constantly
And so many more stressors that I'm probably missing. This can be a hard industry to be a part of and taking care of your mental health is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Here are some tips on how to take better care of yourself:
- Make your physical health a priority
A lot of people don't realize that your physical health affects your mental health. If you are missing certain nutrients, it can mimic certain mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
If you try to make exercise and healthy eating a priority you'll feel much better during the day.
I just started doing this and even when I don't want to go to the gym, I'll feel so much better when I leave. If I was feeling anxious or depressed before going, towards the middle of my session the good hormones will kick in and I'll feel more confident and happy. Even if you just take a short walk in the sunshine, it can help you a lot.
- Get enough sleep
If you aren't sleeping well, you'll be more anxious, stressed, and irritable the next day. I struggle with this a lot because my brain loves to come up with my best ideas in the middle of the night and I can't help but start working on things right away.
If I'm going through a phase like this, I'll cut down my caffeine and take some melatonin before bed to help me sleep. I will also keep a notebook by my bed so when I get an idea I can write everything out and then go back to sleep.
- Schedule some time for Self-Care
When I was first going through my journey and dealing with almost daily panic attacks, I started blocking off one night a week just for me. I would create a spa night for myself and do a facial, hair mask, body scrub, a hot bath, and my favorite food. Sometimes it can even be eating a bunch of junk food while binging the latest Marvel show or queer eye. Do whatever makes you feel the most relaxed and happy.
If you do this for just a couple of hours each week, you'll feel much better because you've given yourself what you needed.
4.Find a Healthy Way to Express Yourself
If you are feeling stressed, angry, or anxious it can be easy to take it out on other people. But this behavior causes more problems and doesn't really help you in the long run. Over time, I've found that writing everything down and throwing it away helps. If I'm super angry, I need to do something more physical and I've found that a good HIIT workout can knock out those feelings.
Find something that you can do that won't hurt yourself or someone else. Once you have calmed down, you can go back to the situation with a more level head and actually solve the problem instead of just pushing each other's buttons.
I hope that these tips help you on your journey to better mental health. If you have any tips of your own, please share them below! We are all in this crazy industry together and there is no reason why we shouldn't help each other.