Self-care is key to your work life, whether that's in the office or working from home. Having positive focus on you're a healthy mindset and wellbeing positively impacts your work life and professional performance. Healthy Australian employees are almost three times more productive than their unhealthy colleagues, according to research cited by Gallagher Bassett's Health and Wellbeing Program.

Here are 5 mental health habits to practise

1. Make a point of taking breaks and time out from your job

One of the simplest things you can do is to declutter your weekends of non-essential errands and projects that don't allow you time to decompress from the demands of your working week. There's nothing wrong with doing nothing for a change. Taking time out on statutory holidays and making a point of using your leave allowance time also gives you a break and time to recharge, especially if you can get away from your usual surroundings. Regular time out helps ensure stresses don't build up and overwhelm you.

2. Make meditation part of your daily routine

Meditation helps to clear your mind and sharpen your focus because it exercises your brain's reticular activating system (RAS) which is responsible for noticing patterns and trends — essential survival skills for dealing with change and uncertainty. Accessing this part of your brain makes sorting things out in your life easier, rather than getting lost in the jumble your brain naturally creates. It also helps with feeling comfortable with living with this jumble and with making decisions. Because during meditation you let go of yourself, many people feel greater connectedness with something bigger than themselves. It's good for your brain and helps melt stress away.

3. Take even just a little exercise every day

The connection between the mind and the body has been well researched. A healthy body contributes to a healthy mind, and a healthy mind can build a healthy body. Regular exercise also decreases stress and is good for you physically. Even if it's just by taking a walk, increasing your heart rate and working up a sweat prompts your brain to release feel-good endorphins that act as mental medicine every time you exercise. You feel better, have more energy and resilience to deal with challenges. Make regular exercise a habit to reap the benefits in wellbeing.

4. Learn to let go of anxieties about what you can't control

While it's important to be in control of the factors you can manage in relation to your own life, it's equally important to be philosophical about the many aspects that are beyond your ability to influence. This involves recognising the distinction between what you can and can't control and simply letting go of the things you're worrying about that may never happen. Instead try to focus on building confidence in your resilience in meeting challenges. This could require some conscious learning and repetition but you will feel lighter without the stress and more able to appreciate the smaller positives.

5. Try your hand at keeping a journal

Writing things down allows you a space for recording your thoughts and feelings, and it lets them out of your head. Research shows that doing this is good for mental health because it enables you to give expression to what's on your mind and to gain perspective on what may be troubling you. This helps you to think more clearly and to be consciously grateful for the good things in your life.

Make a positive difference to your mental health

Working well is not just about productivity — employee mental health is a key area that contributes to positive growth at work and outside of work. Businesses are increasingly focused on workplace wellbeing to support employees.

Gallagher has experts who support workplace wellbeing and workplace safety so if you are interested in this for your business and staff we can help.

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