16 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health in a Customer-Facing Job

June 12, 2023
Posted in Questions
June 12, 2023 Terkel

16 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health in a Customer-Facing Job

Managing mental health in a customer-facing job can be challenging, but it’s essential for overall well-being. We’ve gathered 16 expert tips from professionals like Community Managers and Relocation Advisors to help you navigate this challenge. From detaching from customers’ negativity to adopting a personal reset practice, these insights will help you maintain a healthy mindset in your customer-facing role.

  • Detach From the Customers’ Negativity
  • Seek Support From Colleagues
  • Prioritize Self-Care and Resources
  • Embrace Mental Decompression
  • Step Away and Recharge
  • Practice Mental Distancing
  • Take Quick Mental Breaks
  • Understand Psychology and Emotions
  • Build Strong Support Systems
  • Be Authentic in Interactions
  • Set Work-Life Boundaries
  • Use a Mindful Reset Technique
  • Don’t Take Negativity Personally
  • Incorporate Meditation Into a Routine
  • Adopt a Personal Reset Practice
  • Separate Work and Personal Life

Detach From Customers’ Negativity

For managing your mental health in a customer-facing role, it’s super important not to take negative feedback or general comments from customers personally—often their anger and criticism aren’t even about you.

It’s natural to feel frustrated or angry after dealing with an unhappy customer, but don’t let it get under your skin and stay with you long after the interaction has ended. Remind yourself that this person’s behavior isn’t about you—rather, it is often coming from a place of their own stress or unhappiness that has nothing at all to do with you as an individual or employee.

Roksana BieleckaRoksana Bielecka
Community Manager, ResumeHelp

Seek Support from Colleagues

Your colleagues are a tremendous help in allowing you to manage the everyday stress of working a customer-facing job. Others within your organization know the difficulties you’ll be facing and should be able to sympathize. They also might provide guidance on how you can handle things and manage your mental health at the same time.

Being able to vent to coworkers and peers is a crucial element in managing your mental health in a customer-facing job. You must have these other people close to you that can serve as a resource and help you through those tough days.

Jennifer GraggJennifer Gragg
Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Colony Roofers

Prioritize Self-Care and Resources

Self-care and the use of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) are keys to staying happy, healthy, and whole. We have much to do and sometimes we do not take care of ourselves. When dealing with customers, first be kind to yourself.

Know how you are feeling and assign the emotion and whether good, bad, or indifferent, make sure you don’t put unwanted emotions that don’t enhance the discussion to others. Did you have a hard conversation? Log out and take a walk, take a break, meditate, or eat a snack.

Life won’t fall apart if you must take a moment to get yourself back on track. It is not a sign of weakness, but it takes courage and true emotional intelligence to know my cup runs over and I need to gather it up.

We don’t want unhelpful emotions to spill out in the workplace and create toxic and a lack of civility environments. Making time for yourself when you speak to people all day and they seek your help is important to be of help to you first.

Tanya Turner, MBA, SHRM-CP, PHRTanya Turner, MBA, SHRM-CP, PHR
HR Director, SALTO Systems, Inc

Embrace Mental Decompression

Working in a customer-facing job, we’re often absorbing other people’s energy, emotions, and sometimes, stress.‌ I used to feel mentally drained, and it affected my wellbeing.

Then, I started a routine of “mental decompression” post-work. It could be as simple as a 15-minute quiet time, meditating, or doing a leisure activity, like reading a book. This allowed me to separate work stress from personal time.

I recall a day after a challenging client interaction; I took a short walk in the park. That simple act helped me reset, preventing work stress from overflowing into my personal life.

Taking time for mental decompression can be a game-changer in managing one’s mental health in customer-facing roles. It allows us to reset, refresh, and maintain a healthier mental space.

Evander NelsonEvander Nelson
NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, evandernelson

Step Away and Recharge

Managing your mental health in a customer-facing job requires prioritizing self-care, including taking regular breaks throughout the workday. These breaks offer an opportunity to step away, recharge, and better handle job demands.

Engage in activities like stretching (relieves tension and promotes circulation), deep breathing (calms the mind and regulates heart rate), or other calming activities, such as listening to soothing music or reading.

Even short breaks have a significant positive impact on well-being and productivity. They enhance focus, resilience, and job satisfaction. Prioritizing breaks protects against burnout.

Managing mental health is an ongoing process. Experiment with activities during breaks, noting what works best for you. By incorporating intentional breaks, you foster a healthier mindset and cultivate resilience in a customer-facing role.

Julie MuirJulie Muir
Celebrant and Mental Health Advocate, Julie Muir – Celebrant

Practice Mental Distancing

My best tip for managing one’s mental health in a customer-facing job is to practice Mental Distancing. This technique involves creating a psychological distance between yourself and the situation you’re dealing with.

In a stressful or challenging interaction, instead of becoming emotionally absorbed, visualize the situation as if you’re an observer. This perspective allows you to respond more calmly and professionally, preventing the situation from affecting your emotional well-being.

Will GillWill Gill
Event Entertainer, DJ Will Gill

Take Quick Mental Breaks

One of the best practices you can keep in your back pocket is to step away from your desk/phone/computer consistently. The feeling that you’re always “on” can take a mental toll, especially when you’re dealing with other people’s challenges. Therefore, allowing yourself to take quick mental breaks by physically walking away can help significantly.

Kelli AndersonKelli Anderson
Career Coach, Resume Seed

Understand Psychology and Emotions

Understanding psychology will help you comprehend what a consumer wants, what they need, why they feel and behave the way they do, and how to act in response to that awareness. Learning the fundamentals of psychology also aids in regulating emotions, learning to control stress and anxiety, and identifying triggers.

If you are familiar with fundamental psychological concepts, empathy will come naturally, and empathizing with your clients will help you build stronger client relationships. With the development of emotional intelligence and the ability to recognize and manage your own and other people’s emotions, you can interact with your clients while staying calm and patient.

Ariav CohenAriav Cohen
VP of Marketing and Sales, Proprep

Build Strong Support Systems

Managing mental health in a customer-facing job requires establishing strong support systems. These systems prove beneficial in dealing with the unique challenges encountered while interacting with customers.

By cultivating a support network, individuals gain access to understanding and solace. It enables them to navigate demanding situations, handle challenging customers, and find comfort in shared experiences.

A well-built support system comprises colleagues, supervisors, mentors, or external networks and communities that offer a conducive environment for seeking guidance, sharing insights, and receiving emotional support. The existence of such support systems ensures a healthier mental state while effectively tackling the demands of customer-facing roles.

Hilary KozakHilary Kozak
VP of Marketing, LivSmooth

Be Authentic in Interactions

As much as we all have to adopt a sort of “persona” for customer-facing roles—in my experience, you’ll quickly burn out if you’re constantly pretending to be someone you’re not.

If you’re a naturally introverted person, acting as an extreme extrovert when greeting customers will exhaust you quickly, and often come across as disingenuous.

There are, of course, some social decorum and job expectations to follow; however, you can still deliver this in a way that is true to your nature and not a drain on your energy and wellbeing.

Darcy Ogdon-NolanDarcy Ogdon-Nolan
Owner, The Bircher Bar

Set Work-Life Boundaries

One of the most effective strategies for managing mental health in a customer-facing job is the establishment of clear boundaries between work and personal life. Creating a distinct separation between work responsibilities and personal time is imperative to ensure optimal well-being.

Exercise restraint in checking work-related messages or emails beyond designated work hours while assertively communicating availability to customers and colleagues. Purposefully incorporating regular breaks and dedicated personal time allows for decompression and rejuvenation.

Prioritizing self-care and enforcing boundaries shows a commitment to maintaining mental wellness and avoiding burnout. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is paramount in preserving mental health while fulfilling the demands of a customer-facing role.

Jeffrey PitrakJeffrey Pitrak
Marketing and Account Manager, Transient Specialists

Use a Mindful Reset Technique

As a certified Psychology Consultant specialized in mindfulness and life coaching, my best tip for managing mental health in customer-facing jobs is a technique I often recommend to my clients working in a demanding retail environment, known as a “Mindful Reset.”

This technique involves taking brief, intentional pauses throughout the day to recalibrate your mindset. When stressed or feeling overwhelmed, such as after a challenging customer interaction, I advise them to take a 60-second breathing break to regain composure and balance.

Then, instead of dwelling on the issue, pivot the thoughts toward potential solutions. View these situations not as problems, but as opportunities for personal growth, effectively transforming stress into resilience.

Bayu PrihanditoBayu Prihandito
Founder and Entrepreneur, Life Architekture

Don’t Take Negativity Personally

I work in sales.

People can be mean at times. You may have caught them at the wrong time, and they need to vent, and you happen to be a good target. They may go through life grumpy. Whatever the case, just know that the negativity that you may experience sometimes is not a reflection of you personally.

It’s more of a reflection of the person on the other end of the conversation.

Whenever I have tough experiences with customers and prospects, I take a few minutes to decompress and remind myself that it’s not about me. Even if it felt personal, they don’t know me enough to level a personal attack at me to have any meaning.

After that, I do a few affirmations depending on the situation and jump back into the thick of things.

Daniel NdukwuDaniel Ndukwu
CMO and Co-founder, DoxFlowy

Incorporate Meditation Into a Routine

For me, the most effective way to maintain mental health in client-facing roles is by practicing meditation. The practice of meditation provides a sanctuary of calm and clarity amidst the demands of professional life, significantly aiding in relaxation and stress reduction.

It equips us with the mental resilience to navigate challenging client interactions, promoting a sense of inner peace and balance. Thus, I have found that incorporating regular meditation into my routine has been invaluable in fostering my mental well-being, enabling me to engage with clients from a place of tranquility and centeredness.

Michał PożogaMichał Pożoga
VP of Marketing, ConQuest Consulting

Adopt a Personal Reset Practice

In a customer-facing job, an excellent way to maintain your mental health is to adopt a personal “reset” practice. This can be done by designating a space where you can retreat and decompress after challenging customer interactions.

Whether it’s a quiet corner with a comfortable chair or a nature spot where you can take a stroll, engage in activities that bring you calm and restore your energy. You could also include some deep breathing, gentle stretching, or uplifting podcasts to assist you with the process.

By incorporating this personal reset into your routine, you create a valuable opportunity to recharge, protect your mental well-being, and approach your work with greater resilience and positivity.

Guy SharpGuy Sharp
Relocation Advisor, Andorra Guides

Separate Work and Personal Life

Excelling at a customer-centered job requires a lot of inner strength and confidence. But such an attitude can only be maintained by disassociating one’s professional and private persona.

Customers frequently turn to customer service workers to diffuse their anger and frustration. Separating oneself from an amalgam of invectives requires understanding that people’s rudeness doesn’t determine one’s worth.

Realizing that is the first step to one’s mental well-being. There are myriad ways to do it, and no universal cure. One of them can surround oneself with the people who truly matter. Finding the hobby which expresses one’s actual personality to the fullest. As ambiguous as it may sound, discovering one’s private, authentic self is essential.

Customer representatives must mitigate their interlocutor’s resentment. At worst, they have to deal with insults and accusations. But they must remember it’s the company that is the target, not themselves.

Martyna SzczesniakMartyna Szczesniak
Community Expert, MyPerfectResume

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