You've been a leader and have been pretty good at it for a while now. You've got a great team and can easily handle most challenges. But are you taking care of your mental health? If not, that's okay! You don't have to be perfect; just being aware of the challenges will help immensely. Here are five tips to help keep your mental health healthy as a manager:
Be realistic about your capacity.
The first thing you can do to be more realistic about your capacity is to start small. You don't have to do everything at once, and you don't have to do it all alone! Start small and work your way up. If you have a big project coming up at work, build in time for rest and relaxation. Don't overcommit yourself because this will only lead to burnout or, worse--a mental health crisis (which could also affect your productivity).
Being realistic about your limitations doesn't mean being afraid of failure; it means being honest with yourself about what's possible, given the resources available at any given moment. If something needs doing that requires more energy than what's currently available within the framework of your life right now--whether it be physical energy or emotional/psychological reserves--don't try anyway! Ask for help instead; plenty of people out there willing and able would love nothing more than to help out a friend in need!
Set boundaries and stick to them.
Setting boundaries is a very important part of self-care. It's also one of the more difficult parts because it requires you to say no and set limits for yourself. It's easy to feel like we don't have time or energy for other people, but remember that saying yes all the time can be just as harmful as saying no all the time!
To help with this process:
Give yourself permission to say no when necessary. Don't be afraid of disappointing others if they push back against what you want from them; instead, focus on making sure that your needs are being met first and foremost in any situation where there might be conflict over them!
Ask for help when needed--and don't stop asking until someone actually agrees (or gives up). Don't underestimate how much power there is in asking others for assistance; often, people around would love nothing more than to see us succeed at our goals!
Say no to the things you "should" do.
Sometimes we're so busy saying yes to everything that we don't realize how much it's affecting our mental health. And sometimes, saying no can actually be helpful for your mental health.
Why? Well, first of all, it gives you time for yourself. You get to care for yourself and do things that make you happy! It also helps with guilt because if someone asks something from us, but we don't have time or energy, then they won't feel bad about asking again later on (and maybe even give up). Also, when people see that someone else is stepping in to help out instead of always being "the most helpful one"--which doesn't really exist anyway--it makes them less likely to ask again later on because they know there are others who can do the same thing just as well or even better than them!
Think about all the things in life where people say no without feeling guilty: sleeping late after working all night; taking a break while studying; leaving early from work without feeling like an awful person; eating ice cream every day (this one might not apply so much).
Take care of yourself physically.
Remembering that you are more than just your mental health is important. You have to take care of yourself physically, too.
Make sure you eat well and exercise regularly. Exercise helps many people with their mental health, releasing endorphins in the body, and making us feel better about ourselves. Don't overdo it, though--you don't want to injure yourself or burn out on working out--but don't be afraid of pushing yourself either!
Don't forget about rest: Sleep is super important for our minds and bodies alike, so make sure that when it comes time for bedtime, you get into bed early enough so that you get enough sleep each night without feeling tired during the day (or worse yet - tired AND stressed).
Take care of yourself emotionally.
Know your triggers.
Ask for help if you need it.
Be honest about your feelings and be open to discussing them with someone you trust, such as a friend or family member.
Remember, taking care of yourself doesn't mean you must stop leading or doing all the important things in your life. It just means knowing when enough is enough and having strategies in place so that when those moments arise, you'll know how best to handle them.