Looking after yourself as a manager

13 August 2018

As a manager, we imagine you put a great deal of focus on your team’s wellbeing and helping them to learn and develop themselves as individuals. These are well-established signs of an effective leader and are of course to be applauded. But it’s also important to remember that doing these things doesn’t have to mean neglecting your own health and wellbeing at work.

By ensuring that you feel well and not too stressed, you can then be in a position to be there for your team to the best of your abilities.1

Here we look at some tips for taking care of yourself as a manager.

1. Avoid working overtime
It can be easy to plough on with working well into your lunch break or after working hours, responding to emails and dealing with tasks on your team’s behalf. But actually, by doing so, you may not only be denying yourself a well-earned break, but encouraging your team to follow suit. Evidence suggests that working longer hours can be counter-productive, affecting performance and increasing the chances of stress-related illnesses occurring. So give yourself time to breathe, lead by example and step away from the desk when you’re due to.2

2. Try not to bring work home
We know management roles are busy, and it can be hard to switch off. But try to do just that once the day is done. Write down a list of completed tasks and a list for tomorrow, then give yourself time to relax either as you travel home, or as soon as you get in. A relaxing evening could improve your sleep, which again might help you to be more resilient and deal with whatever tomorrow throws at you.3

3. Be self-aware
Get to know yourself. Recognising when things are starting to get on top of you isn’t always easy. Take a look at our information on the signs of poor mental health. Think about how you behave when you’re feeling worn down. By being conscious about these ways of being, you can take action earlier to prevent any problems from getting worse. This should benefit your team as well as you.

4. Seek help when you need it
Seek help from your GP, your Employee Assistance Programme (if you have one in place), or a support organisation such as a charity if you notice signs that things aren’t right. Your colleagues and your own manager could also be a great source of support. If a tight deadline or particular piece of work is worrying you, be honest with your manager that it feels like a stretch. Chances are they’ll appreciate your honesty and help you work out a solution.

5. Consider starting a Wellness Action Plan
A Wellness Action plan is a tool that can help you and your team share what keeps you well at work. It can help you to manage your mental health and be more open and honest with one another. Find our more on the Mind website.

For more helpful information and tips about how to look after your own (and your team’s) mental health at work, visit our workplace mental health hub.


1. Mercer. Leadership, Stress, and the Importance of Self-Care. www.mercer.com/our-thinking/career/voice-on-talent/leadership-stress-and-the-importance-of-self-care.html, published October 2017
2. Mind. How to promote wellbeing and tackle the causes of work-related mental health problems. www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-your-staff/useful-resources/, accessed July 2018
3. Mind. How to manage stress. www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress/developing-resilience, accessed July 2018

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Taking care of yourself and staying well when you're a manager | Bupa UK