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Navigating Life’s Challenges: The Role of Emotional Hygiene in Career Success

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Published by Nivedita Kommajosyula on 14 March 2024

In this article, you will learn what emotional hygiene is, its importance, and how one should navigate life’s challenges by maintaining high emotional intelligence and soar to career success.

Emotional hygiene

In the post-pandemic era that we currently live in there have been new insights into the importance of our mental health and what we consider to be important in life when it comes to ourselves, our family and our work-life balance.

With this new awareness comes an even bigger question of what are the next steps to be taken. Now isn’t that the hard part? But lucky for you there are people out there to help you figure out just that. One of the first steps to be taken is to understand emotional hygiene.

What Is Emotional Hygiene?

Emotional hygiene involves regularly caring for mental and psychological welfare, just as physical hygiene attends to bodily health. Some of the key practices include:

  • Self-checking in on thoughts and moods to assess emotional states
  • Destressing through enjoyable hobbies, and not mindless social media scrolling
  • Making quality time for loved ones — be it meeting them or even speaking on call
  • Practicing mindfulness, meditation or expressive arts for centeredness
  • Eating nutritious food that not only helps your body but your mind as well
  • Engaging in physical activity. Taking small sessions of activity also works, as long as you keep going.
  • Getting a minimum of 8 hours of rest. You can track your sleep too, for better judgment
  • Refraining from practicing habits such as smoking and drinking

Connecting Emotional Wellness With Careers

An analogy that has helped clients visualize their emotional health is a battery, similar to phones. Phones lose charge with long-term use and eventually need to be charged. The same goes for our emotional health. We have to recharge ourselves daily so we can perform the same if not better the next day.

You might wonder, “I work the same hours every day but why do I feel more tired some days than others?” — well, you’re not alone.

If we think of a phone, we understand that some apps drain the battery faster than others. Not to mention, the longer those battery-draining apps have been running, along with apps running in the background, the faster the battery will be depleted.

Our bodies and minds function similarly.

Even if we work the same number of hours each day, certain tasks and types of work may be more mentally draining than others. Additionally, the worries and stresses of our personal lives can spill over into our work lives, compounding our mental fatigue.

Much like phone apps running in the background, our personal stressors drain our mental energy. Our bodies and minds require extra rest and care on those more draining days. We must listen to those cues from our bodies and give ourselves the rest we need.

Additionally, there is a clear connection between practising good emotional hygiene and achieving Career Success. Here are some of the key ways they are linked:

  • Taking time for self-care activities to manage stress has been shown to improve concentration, decision-making, and efficiency at work.
  • Setting boundaries between work and personal time, and not letting work creep into personal hours, improves mental well-being.
  • Unmanaged stress and emotions like anger or anxiety can lead to burnout. Studies found taking mini-breaks to process emotions helped prevent long-term exhaustion.
  • Knowing your emotional triggers and reactions provides valuable self-insight. Self-aware leaders can better motivate teams and manage interpersonal relations.
  • Mindfulness meditation has been shown to sharpen focus, planning, organization and attention. Workers high in mindfulness tend to show greater creativity too.

Navigator’s Note:

I implore caregivers and parents to actively participate in the well-being of their children if they want to ensure academic success. There is an urgent need among caregivers and parents to realise that the sustainability of their children’s mental health and well-being demands investments in acquiring not just academic but cognitive, non-cognitive and real-world skills that are necessary to function well and lead a happy and fulfilling life in the present and the future.

  • Take a 20-minute walk outdoors without distractions
  • Journal about emotions and stressors to get them out of your head
  • Listen to calming nature sounds or instrumental music
  • Meditate using deep breathing for 10 minutes
  • Enjoy a warm cup of herbal tea (or anything less caffeinated)

Integrating Emotional Wellness While Building a Career

As practicing counsellors encounter many clients, a common question arises — how does one find time for emotional wellness tools amid busy work schedules? Even clients who find such tools useful struggle to integrate them into demanding daily lives. Here are some top questions and guidance on blending career and emotional wellness:

  • “How can I make time for myself when work takes so much time?”

    A client once struggled with finding personal time as their work-life balance seemed non-existent. It was suggested that they set personal boundaries and the primary issue was fear of conflict when doing that. Though saying "No" to after-hour requests may cause initial discomfort, one must weigh — is avoiding conflict worth losing precious time with oneself and family? Overall happiness merits consideration too.

  • “If I work hard now, can't I enjoy life later?”

    Though understandable; to endure intense work in youth, excessive stress without respite can strain mental health and weaken immunity long-term. A key question arises: will driving oneself excessively today allow one to enjoy career fruits later in life? Hard work now must balance with breaks to sustain over decades. Pat on your back to keep the spark alive! Take small steps and celebrate mini-victories to keep the flame burning!

  • “Even when I set my personal time and work time I end up staying later than I want to”

    Naturally, some days will require longer hours than others. As long as overworking occurs occasionally, daily prioritization and the odd self-care day can maintain balance. But chronic overworking creep hints at unhealthy habits. Resolving those, whether through lifestyle changes or Career Counselling, proves critical for work productivity and growth. And if some days are more demanding than others, it calls either for taking more time with self-care or a break!

The Takeaway

You may be following everything above but still find yourself procrastinating or not being able to perform professionally. Relax, it’s human to feel so. However, this could mean that there is a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. Talking to a professional may help you address it constructively.

For any career-related challenge — mental health professionals stand ready to aid personal, social and professional growth. Reach out to SetMyCareer to get your journey started!

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