I used to work in an environment that was dysfunctional and full of drama: this was where my toxic career journey began. I would hide in the bathroom to cry at least half the days in the week and my mental health was very severely affected.

Although I worked in this environment for three years, I don’t regret it. If I hadn’t stuck it out, I would never have experienced a truly toxic workplace. Most importantly, I would not understand the importance of a fantastic workplace culture.

The day I finally left that company, I realised that I needed to create something great, to make the world a better place and make sure that other people are given the ability to cope with career challenges. Additionally, I wanted to create a source for others to address and cope with their own mental health and help them to achieve personal health and success.

As I began the journey into building Kossie, I realised that I needed to spend much more time on self-care – making time for myself and not allowing myself to feel so low again. Nowadays, I try to find balance by having a journaling session in the early morning, a quick gym session before work and a 10-minute meditation to wind down for maintaining good mental health. I have also made a promise to myself to spend at least a few hours a week to bond with my support system – my family and close friends.

If your anxieties at work have just arisen, I’ve put together a few tips to get you through feeling stressed at work and to give yourself a work-life balance. Please listen to yourself though; know when things are too much.

Prepare For Your Day
Never underestimate the power of having a plan! If you’ve got a long week ahead, I can’t express how important it is to get your timings and tasks in order with a to-do list, whether that’s on your phone or down on paper. It can really help to put things in perspective if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially if you organise tasks by priority. Another tip – do the hardest thing first and the rest of the day will seem easier!

Take Care Of Your Body and Watch The Signs
Meditation really helps me to stay grounded and focus on the week instead of worrying too much about the future. Additionally, I journal very often and usually start with a sentence like this for myself to answer: ‘How are you feeling?’. I find it helps me pinpoint my feelings and emotions and gives me a good idea of what I need to work on that week, or things to avoid. I believe you should pinpoint what your triggers and signs of burnout are. The signs of burnout are different for everyone – for some it could be hair loss, others it’s crying or for some it’s being very irritable. Recognise the signs emerging and do something about it before it’s too late! Secondly, I am a strong believer in going outdoors when you need a break. Just having a quick walk to reconnect with your mind can do wonders. Finally, GREAT SLEEP! It doesn’t cost a thing but having a good sleep is so important for our mental health.

Speak Up
If you’ve got too much work to do, or you’re finding something extremely difficult, don’t suffer in silence. Although you may not want to draw attention to the fact you’re not coping, it’s worth telling a colleague or manager. They may not even realise you’ve taken on so much! There’s nothing worse than letting it all build up until you crash.

Ask to Work Flexibly
A survey from YouGov revealed that over nine in ten of us aren’t working the usual 9-5 week, especially now during the pandemic! Take a look at whether you can claim back your time and work / life balance by starting later or finishing early, or even condensing your work days.

Honestly, there is nothing in this world – NOTHING – that is worth staking your mental health on. Take it from someone who’s been there, done that, had the burnout. If your anxieties about work are leaking into your personal life and taking over, you need to make a move, sharpish. There’s no shame in ‘quitting’ as it were – focus on number one and live your life well.