National Relaxation Day falls on Saturday August 15th this year! In honor of the day, we at Springer Publishing Company want to offer you unique methods to practice mindfulness and stay mentally healthy.

The following content is adapted from Workplace Mental Health: Manual for Nurse Managers by Lisa Y. Adams. This post is Part 2 of a three-part series for National Relaxation Day.

Bogged down by the seemingly ever present workplace conflict and colleague drama? Not sure how to maintain a sense of self at work? The average person spends approximately 30% of their life at work so it’s imperative to take the steps necessary to address and foster your mental health needs in this environment.  Remember that no one will look after you as well as you will; you are in the driver’s seat and in control to promote and maintain good mental health at your job.

1. In order to continue to be the best employee that you can be, you must learn to listen to your body and take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is more easily said than done for most of us. As parents and caretakers, we’re so used to taking care of others that our own health, thought processes and stress levels go virtually unchecked. Try the following to practice self-care:

-Say no when you want to. If you have a hard time saying no, offer alternatives (“I can’t do that, but I can do this”) and avoid situations where you’ll be asked to do too much.

-Unwind after work before you jump into your responsibilities at home.

-Don’t base all of your self-worth on your profession – develop outside interests!

- Plan for regular breaks, days off, conferences and vacations.

2. The Golden Rule - No matter whom you are, what you do or what you know, the Golden Rule will always apply. You need to treat others the way you would like to be treated. Treating others with respect can forestall many negative evils of the workplace, such as negative people, difficult personalities and condescending coworkers.

3. Exercise and Activity - The value of exercise and physical activity in promoting good mental health is significant. Exercise promotes the release of many different chemicals and neurotransmitters in the brain that serve different purposes to promote good mental health. It decreases the risk for depression, reduces stress and anxiety, elevates mood and decreases fatigue and anger.

4. Sleep serves many mental health purposes. It promotes good working memory and cognitive recognition. In addition, it can prevent the onset of mental illnesses, help the brain reorganize to adopt newly learned skills, and even decrease hostility and aggression.

5. Food for Thought - The old adage “you are what you eat” is just as true for health and well-being as it is for mental health. Nutrition is a new and rising area of research and discovery, and the selection of specific foods can actually strengthen the mind, as well as memory, perception, and concentration, and it can actually help ward off mental illnesses.

6. Talk to Someone - Talking to someone is perhaps one the best forms of therapy you can engage in to deal with stress and promote your good mental health. A friend, a spouse, a confidant, a coworker, or even a trained counselor can help you express your inner feelings, stress, and frustrations. Counseling or just talking serves to relieve stress and provides an outlet for negative energy, which can help you to see things from a better perspective, relieve some of the stress you were experiencing, and work optimally.

7. Overcome Workplace Negativity - To overcome workplace negativity, there are many strategies you can entertain. Avoid the negative thoughts so as to not damper your self-esteem and self-confidence and create self-doubt and perceived failure. Second, replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk to produce positive actions and results. Third, build relationships based on trust, and do so with enthusiasm to influence positive change, increase comfort levels, and strengthen relationships. Fourth, win people to your way of thinking. View disagreements and debates as opportunities for positive change.  Finally, disagree agreeably so that you can keep the lines of communication open and try to see things from a different perspective.

Workplace negativity, difficult colleagues, and workplace conflict can test your mental endurance, but you need to maintain your sense of responsibility and accountability as well as use effective coping strategies instead of succumbing to the destruction that negative events can cause. While exercising, eating right, avoiding making assumptions, and taking care of yourself are effective, the extent of the stressor and the impact it can have on your mental health can all really boil down to how you perceive it.