Six Tips for Balancing Mental Health in a Corporate Job
To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked some of our experts how they stay balanced in the midst of challenging jobs. Here are their responses.
Posted October 30, 2023
While a corporate job in a competitive industry can be very rewarding, it can also come with long hours, a demanding schedule, and a heavy workload. To celebrate the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked some of our coaches how they stay balanced in the midst of a challenging job. Here are some of their responses:
1. Daily exercise–No matter how bad projects got, I always got 30 minutes of something in, typically high cardio (running was a go-to).
2. Non-work social engagement–Whether it was in an Uber, while I was eating dinner, or when I had a free 15 minutes, I'd try to call or facetime a friend/family and talk about something that wasn't related to work. I'm an extrovert and need that social connection.
3. Regular therapy sessions with a professional–Even though I wasn't depressed or over-anxious, getting professional help to manage stress, reset expectations, and broaden my perspective was critical. I don't know what I would do without regular therapy.
- Sam A., MBB Consulting, Venture Capital
Block out time for YOURSELF in your calendar! This includes time to focus on important work tasks, work out, socialize, and partake in your hobbies. I find it best to do so at the beginning of the week, before colleagues start filling in the gaps.
- Laura N., Ross MBA, Pro Admissions Coach
1. Establish priorities in your head about what is truly important to you: health, family, friendships, etc., and learn to intentionally make time for each of these. Work will always take your time, so it’s up to you to carve out space for everything else in life.
2. Take care of your diet, both what you consume physically and mentally. For your physical diet, eat nutritious meals regularly and drink lots of water. For your mental diet, be aware of what you consume. If you find yourself on social media regularly, try to follow pages that make you feel energized and positive, as opposed to ones that add stress or pressure to your life.
3. Find time for relaxation and sleep. So many of us work long hours regularly, and in order for this to be sustainable, time to decompress and rest is extremely important.
- Parth K., Columbia Law School, Undergrad Coach
1. Work out, sleep, eat well (with some fun exceptions), and don't sacrifice them in the name of hours–work smarter, not longer.
2.Care about your relationships in real life more than work 95% of the time.
3. Don't 'ask' your boss to do any of those things, tell them. Literally, just say “I’m working out” or “I’m having dinner with my girlfriend/boyfriend.” It changes the game by reframing your priorities as something to be worked around, not something that you receive as a kind of favor.
- Ben L., GSB MBA, McKinsey & Co., VC/PE
Be mindful of what is compensated versus uncompensated labor at your job, who takes on uncompensated tasks, and what/how labor is truly rewarded. Many things that jobs ask of us are outside of the scope of the role (particularly when it comes to DEI, event planning, or administrative tasks), and often fall on women and people of color as an additional load. Take stock of how your organization works, what role you are currently playing in contributing to (un)compensated labor, and ultimately what role you'd like to play. The mental shift has been liberating for me.
- Danielle D., GSB MBA, Stanford MA in Education
1. Schedule breaks like you do work meetings. I love trying 14-day running challenges or meditation challenges that are goal-oriented so that I have time blocked off in my calendar.
2. Journaling and mindfulness are very helpful, even if it is just five minutes in a day! I love to journal and free write to get my thoughts on paper, especially when there are so many things going on in my head.
3. I like to schedule time for inspiration—something that is fun and out of my comfort zone to get me out of the monotony of the day. This helps get my creative juices flowing and is also reenergizing.
- Sushmitha R., Sloan MBA, BCG Consultant, Engineering/Product Management
Your mental health is important and should be prioritized! It’s difficult to be a good employee when you’re not in a good mental space. Take 15 minutes today and do something that brings you peace. Call a friend, go on a walk, take a bath, or anything else. Mental health initiatives do not need to take a long time; small, consistent actions go a long way toward helping you be the best version of yourself.
To get more inside advice on balancing mental health in a competitive corporate job, book time with a Leland career coach.
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