How to Protect Your Mental Health as a Young Professional

Taking care of your health is also requires keeping your emotional, social, and psychological well-being in mind. Being a young person in the professional world, or starting a new career and entering a professional role at any age, can come with a number of specific challenges and stressors.

Health isn’t just physical.

It’s essential to learn how to preserve and care for your mental health so that you can have a long, fulfilling life and career.

Here are some tips for protecting your mental health as a young professional.


Pay Attention To Your Work Environment

Many people find that their jobs give them a purpose, and especially if you love what you do as a professional, it can be highly rewarding. However, your work environment matters.

Having a toxic work environment can more or less negate all of the positive effects of working, and it can harm one’s well-being past the ways you may expect.

Signs of a toxic workplace include but aren’t limited to gossip, an expectation that you’ll be available to talk about work or complete work-related tasks 24/7 when you are off and are not being compensated, unclear expectations, goals, or tasks, passive-aggressiveness, a lack of work-life balance, and belittling or manipulation.

A toxic workplace may cause burnout, extreme stress, or put a dent in your self-esteem.


Use Self-Care

Self-care isn’t just about bubble baths and spa days, as great as those can be if that’s what you’re into. It’s also about making sure that you get enough sleep, eating regularly, using personal hygiene, and keeping tabs on your relationships.

Make sure that you are:

  • Using sleep hygiene practices and sleeping adequately. If you aren’t, consciously work on building a nighttime routine that supports sleep and reach out to a healthcare provider if nothing seems to work.
  • Taking time for positive social relationships.
  • Checking in with your body and mind on a regular basis. This can look like asking yourself, “What do I need?” or “How does my body/mind feel right now?”


Work-Life Balance

The beginning of one’s career comes with a lot of hard work. It’s vital to establish a work-life balance early on so that you:

  • Are refreshed when you’re at work and can give your best performance.
  • Have time to take care of your mental and physical health.
  • Maintain your sense of self outside of the workplace and have time for other things that matter to you, such as family life.


Learn How To Self-Advocate

It’s essential to have a language to state what you need, advocate for yourself, and set boundaries in a way that’s clear, kind, and professional.

Sometimes, this is a matter of working on confidence, and other times, this means taking the time to sharpen your communication skills.

Know your rights in the workplace and set boundaries in your personal life when needed as well.


Be Self-Aware

Being self-aware can relate to many different areas of life, but in this case, it’s about taking the time to check in with yourself.

You need to be self-aware enough, as a young professional, to recognize symptoms of burnout, keep tabs on your mental health, and ask yourself questions such as “Am I sleeping enough?” and “How does my mind/body feel right now?”

Burnout is a common struggle in the professional world, but that does not mean that it’s normal or that it’s okay to let it go unaddressed. It’s important to check in with yourself regularly to ask yourself what you need and identify concerns like burnout before they become severe and impact you in such a way that it may have a profound negative effect on both your health and career.

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Implement Stress Relief Techniques

It’s vital to learn to manage stress early on as a young professional. Here are some things you can do:

  • Take time to engage in activities you enjoy.
  • Set aside time for physical activity, if possible and applicable to your situation.
  • Use affirmations and positive self-talk.
  • Journal, meditate or use other activities for the purpose of stress relief.


Talk To Someone

If you’re struggling with work, school, mental health, relationships, or anything else that’s going on in life, therapy can help.

Your workplace may have an employee assistance program that covers therapy or counseling, or you may choose to see someone by paying out of pocket or using your insurance.

Signing up for online therapy through reputable websites like MyTherapist is an excellent way to get the support you need from the privacy of your own home, often at a lower cost than traditional in-person therapy is in the absence of insurance.

Click here to learn more about MyTherapist and get started.


About the author:

Marie Miguel
Marie Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.


Photos: Shutterstock

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