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Mental Health in Product Management: Easy Tips to Improve Your Wellbeing
Working in product management is not a walk through a park. As a product manager, you have to be a mini-CEO of whatever you are selling. With that title, you are responsible and accountable for many aspects. Others place expectations on you, even though you have little control over how everything goes.
Working in product management, you have to take care of many stressful tasks. From high-level strategy to last-minute details – the pressure is undeniable. That is why it is so important to consider your mental health. With our help, discover how to take care of your mental well-being in product management.
Why it's critical to think about mental health
According to a study in Forbes, seven out of 10 tech employees were thinking about quitting their job in the next year. Moreover, 30% noted it's because of burnout. Other statistics showcase the same image too. For example, a report by Lyra revealed that more than half of tech professionals have struggled with mental health conditions over the past year. We can't ignore these numbers – mental health should be paid more attention to in product management.
Of course, that's often easier said than done. Especially nowadays, when we are constantly running, trying to achieve new goals and milestones, our mental health often is forgotten in the list of priorities. Here are a couple of useful tips that should help you take care of your mental well-being.
Remind yourself it's okay to struggle
One of the most important steps to better your mental health is acknowledging that your job is hard. It's okay to struggle! Working in product management means you are involved in high-value projects. Just because you are finding it difficult doesn't mean you are bad at what you do. It just means you are learning!
Often, struggles come just before a significant change. It may not be easy to stay positive when everything seems to be crumbling down, but try to remember that after low points, better times will follow. Don't be too yourself! Often, we are our biggest critics.
Check-in with your feelings
Taking care of your mental health doesn't mean you have to change your life completely or create routines that are difficult to follow. Sometimes a 5-minute task can make all the difference.
A great tool that won't take much of your time is writing down how you feel each day. Think about what is detracting you from feeling good and, on the contrary, what is beneficial to your well-being. Score your day out of 10 and figure out what can be done to improve it.
Set your boundaries
The pandemic changed our lives in more ways than one. Product management professionals can now work from the comfort of their homes, but that comes with disadvantages too. Among the biggest ones is the struggle to find a balance between work and personal time. That is why it is critical to set clear boundaries and restrict yourself from working outside of your hours (as tough as it sometimes may be).
Remember that other people will respect your time only if you respect it yourself too. Unless you do it, others won't know what your limits are. Once you set clear boundaries, you will have more to enjoy activities outside of your work. Read a book, go to the gym or walk in the park – create a routine that involves pleasant moments too.
Lower your expectations
Quite often, frustration and disappointment in product management come from unrealistic expectations. If you lower them and become more aware of reality, you will have an overall easier time.
For example, understand that you may not always have the resources to build the type of product you want – you'll need to compromise a lot. The building phase almost always takes longer than expected, and you'll have to deal with annoyed stakeholders at some point.
Once you accept these aspects as part of the work, you won't experience a huge disappointment each time something goes not the way you planned.
Remember that others have challenges too
The truth is that everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. A colleague that seems all perfect from the outside may be struggling with personal matters. Of course, if they are being difficult, it doesn't make dealing with them any easier. Still, it's a good reminder to check on people around you. If it seems that your teammate is struggling, don't be shy and extend a hand. They will probably reciprocate the gesture when you need it!
Make friends in your workspace
Having a supportive shoulder in your workspace can make a huge difference! Making friends requires effort on both parts, but the time investment quickly pays off.
The purpose of finding a buddy isn't to vent. Instead, use them to talk through the challenges you both are facing and express your opinions on possible solutions. Nobody will understand you better than the person working in the same environment!
Get medical help
There is only so much you can do on your own to help your mental health. Each of us has to deal with external factors which we can't really affect. If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything that is going on in your life, including work, consider gaining medical advice.
Find a counselor or a medical professional to help you understand the best solutions to your situation. Sometimes it's difficult to recognize your triggers – a professional can help you see them. After all – if you are experiencing physical pain, you will most likely pay a visit to the doctor. So why shouldn't you do the same for your mental health?
Working in product management can be incredibly satisfactory – after all, you are solving problems for other people. But, unfortunately, that means your own well-being is often left in the dust. Don't make this mistake! Unless you feel good physically and mentally, you won't be of much good to your company. So follow our tips and ensure you are your own priority.