Mental Management: Taking Care of Your Mind While Managing Others

We’ve talked about employee mental health and how managers can help, but we haven’t addressed how those managers can care for theirs. They are people too and are as vulnerable to mental health issues as the rest of us. Their job demands professionalism, and higher standards are usually applied to them, but mental health maintenance is vital for them to meet these requirements. It’s one thing to manage other people’s workloads, but another to help them with their mental health issues. In the modern workplace, this is increasingly commonplace, though. Given what’s expected from them, they must have the tools to maintain their mental health. According to, “Before leaders can even begin to promote a company culture invested in mental health, they must take an honest look at their own mental wellness.  As a leader, you cannot effectively lead if you are half-empty. You cannot effectively provide empathy to others if you cannot give it to yourself.”

A few of the best ways to maintain your mental health as a manager, according to Insights for Professionals, is to do the following: 

  1. Build self-care habits
    1. Things like:
      1. Keeping your favorite beverage on hand to help you through the day. I have coffee handy, sometimes Diet Coke, lots of water, and sometimes lemon vitamin water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. 
      2. Using a particular scent that helps you feel happier. Such as a favorite essential oil, body spray, or cologne/perfume. I like rose essential oil burbling in my diffuser nearby. 
      3. Walking for even 5 minutes to get your blood pumping can refresh your brain cells. After work, I go to the local gym as often as possible, which helps immensely. 
  2. Fuel your body with nutritious food and drink.
    1. French fries and candy, anyone? Just kidding… Instead of opting for typical junk food, making better choices for nutrition can make or break the day. 
      1. Too much sugar in the diet can negatively impact cognitive function, so beware of munching on too many sugary treats.
  3. Set boundaries at work.
    1. Open up about your mental health (appropriately)
      1. For example, if I were managing people, I’d be open about my ADHD. I’d assure my employees it’s nothing to tip-toe around, and it makes me more conscious of their needs. 
    2. Acknowledge your feelings and recognize when you need space
      1. If you need to become more naturally adept at this (I’m certainly not), therapy can help. Also, noise-canceling headphones provide a certain amount of space between the chaos and your brain. 
  4. Unplug from work each day.
    1. This means typically ignoring work-related emails once you’ve left work. I’ll admit I’m terrible about this, as I have my work email on my phone. It’s all fine and great until there are multiple emails I’m just cc’d in, and my smart watch keeps going off like a cuckoo clock. 
  5. Take time off
    1. It can be challenging to let yourself take a day off. Life is busy, and many people with responsibilities outside of work often have to care of others or their illnesses. 
  6. Lean on your family and friends.
    1. Ideally, this is a great way to cope with the stresses of the job. If your family and friends support your mental health, it will make your life easier. However, that isn’t always the case. Talking to a therapist can help you learn coping mechanisms and ways to maintain your mental health. If talk therapy isn’t an option, the resources linked in this post are a good start. 
    2. On the flip side of this is the problem of self-isolation. Sometimes things get so overwhelming that we isolate ourselves emotionally and mentally from those we love. I’ve been in this position many times before, and it takes time and determination to pull myself out of it. Usually, a loved one will show support and kindness, and that helps me feel like I can get back up again. I should add I have ADHD and PTSD, so things like this happen rather often to me. 


Managing people with mental illnesses is challenging, and management style dramatically impacts how well that employer/employee relationship flourishes. For managers who want a more in-depth look at how to deal with mental health, there are sites like this hosted by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science. Complete with videos and quizzes, it can be helpful in learning more about good management practices. 

            Consider looking at the National Institute of Mental Health‘s page For a more personal but impactful look at maintaining your mental health. It applies to everyone regardless of employment level. Managers are responsible for many things, including their mental health, and like everyone else, they, too, occasionally need help in that area.