• Tamara Dias

Prioritizing Your Mental Health

When I was a classroom teacher, I always said that I never really left work. Even if I wasn’t physically in the building, I always carried the weight of the work with me. If my students were going through difficult challenges, I latched onto those challenges. Whatever stress I felt Monday-Friday became my entire weekend. Working in not-for-profit settings emphasized how hard it was for me to detach from my work.

I know what it’s like to leave work at the end of a day, but bring everything happening at work into your home. Instead of actually “clocking out,” all we do is bring all of our work-related stress into the spaces that are supposed to comfort and rejuvenate us. We spend hours circling in our thoughts and thinking out-loud. I hated this feeling.

That’s exactly why I made the decision to try therapy.

I am very open about my journey in therapy, especially in professional settings. I know that so many of us have struggles and challenges in the workplace that ultimately impact our overall well-being. When I chose to get a therapist, I noticed an immediate shift in my mood, sleeping patterns, and mindset during the day. Quite literally: therapy changed my life. Our mental health impacts every area of our lives. When we are intentional about preserving our mental health, we become better human beings.

Thinking about trying therapy? Here are a few beginning steps:

  1. There are lots of options out there. Therapists have a variety of backgrounds and specializations. When I started my journey, I specifically looked for someone who could support me in navigating workplace stressors.

  2. Give yourself time to find the perfect fit. The first therapist you see may not be the best fit for you. Don’t feel like that means you should quit therapy altogether. Allow yourself some time to get to know your therapist until you find one that can best support you and your goals.

  3. Ask questions. Feel free to ask your therapist questions. If you are truly looking to grow - you will likely have quite a few questions throughout your journey. Don’t be afraid to ask your therapist questions that come up along the way.

When it comes to professional development and career growth - mental health isn’t a topic that comes up often. But, it should. When I look back on some of my most stressful times in the workplace, I know that my own coping strategies and stress management tools were nearly nonexistent. If we want to be productive (personally and professionally), our mental wellness should be at the top of our to-do list.

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