by Stephanie Anderson

We’ve been tackling some very relevant topics around mental health in the month of May. So before it comes to a close, we’d like to dive a little further into these aspects of self-care and how beneficial it can be for your mental health and overall work mentality.

Prioritizing self-care is crucial to your mental health. Completing work tasks and job responsibilities make this difficult, but like your flight attendant says, “Put YOUR oxygen mask on first BEFORE helping others.” Some may see this saying as an overused cliché, but I think it sums up self-care very well. Self-care means taking time for yourself and doing anything which fills your cup in a positive way. 

Finding Your Outlet

Taking time away from work and disconnecting from the daily grind is a powerful self-care tool. As was discussed last month during our Work-Life Balance theme, disconnecting from work to the great outdoors is one way to take time for yourself. Outdoor activities come with both positive physical and mental benefits. For myself, I disconnect from work daily when I participate in spin class. I know this helps me be a better mom, employee, and overall human.

Running On Empty

One aspect of the argument to prioritize self-care which is typically forgotten, however, is how do we take the time to focus on ourselves? Disconnecting sounds great, but it’s easier said than done. There’s always an email awaiting a response, a report or other job task left undone. Sadly, most employees underuse their PTO because they’re too busy or possibly afraid of the pile up of work while they’re out of the office. I get it. Work is important and when we love what we do, we forget to prioritize disconnecting for a minute. Taking time from work allows us to decompress and hit the reset button. We all need it from time to time.

The Underused Benefit

Since the COVID pandemic, the amount of unused PTO share has jumped to an estimated 55% in 2022, compared to 28% pre-pandemic. Some may see the use of PTO as a signal to other co-workers or team members of being unprofessional or less committed, but PTO is something much more. Paid Time Off is accrued and can be seen to have a dollar amount tied to how you are compensated for your work. Are you using what you’ve earned?

In honor of yourself and your mental health, put self-care first. If you accrue PTO make sure to take advantage of this benefit and recharge from time to time – even if it’s a staycation to binge Netflix and cuddle with your fur-baby. Do something daily that fills your cup.

Stephanie Anderson || Stephanie has over 25 years experience as an HR professional. She holds her Human Resource Management from San Diego State University. Apart from work, she’s obsessed with spin class. You’ll most likely catch her multitasking while listening to an audiobook. The rest of the time she’s hanging with her family and fur-babies.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!