Is Your Job Affecting Your Mental Health?
Written by: Tracy Gaboyau, Social Media Management Intern
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure https://sagecounselingtherapyandwellness.com/disclosure-privacy-policy-terms-of-use/ for further information.
Is your job affecting your mental health? In a perfect world, the jobs we held would be stress-free, they’d align perfectly with our passions, and we’d wake up everyday ready to take on a new set of tasks and goals. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world, and the truth of the matter is that our jobs can at times be overwhelming, stress-inducing, and incredibly time-consuming. Whether you work in a corporate office or at a local gym, every job has its own set of responsibilities and expectations that, over time do hold the possibility of affecting your mental health.
Unsure if your current occupation is affecting your mental health?
Try asking yourself the following questions:
- Am I making time to decompress after work?
- What am I doing specifically to decompress and for how long?
- Do I get overwhelmed when I am given new tasks?
- Do I feel safe enough to voice when I am being stressed in the workplace?
- Am I dreading going to work each day?
It may be difficult and feel a bit hopeless at times to admit that the place we spend the most time is negatively affecting our headspace, but according to the advocacy group Mental Health America, out of 5000 survey participants, 83% responded that they felt “emotionally drained from work”, so regardless of how you answer the questions above, you are not alone. Full-time employment has never been easy, but since the introduction of Covid-19, employees have been feeling burnt out now more than ever.
Much like stressful family situations, stress from our jobs can at times feel like one of the necessary consequences of everyday life. It can be very easy to lock ourselves into a “This is my family, so I have no choice but to deal with it” or “This is my job, it’s just something I have to do” mentality, but fortunately, there can be many solutions for stress in the workplace. By taking the time to answer the questions above, you’re already heading in the right direction, which is evaluating how you feel.
- Are you stressed?
The most important part in getting your mental health back on track is understanding where the tension is coming from, that way you have a clear jumping off point when it’s time to move to the next step, which is communicating with your manager/supervisor/team and getting support.
Evaluating your feelings is something that should be done honestly and shamelessly. Remind yourself that your emotions are valid! You are allowed to feel stressed out, drained, and overloaded. It’s very important that you are honest with yourself when evaluating your feelings because truthfully, those emotions and realizations are the catalyst for change. Once you know how and why you are feeling the way you are, you can move forward with the correct implementations to help counteract those feelings of stress and anxiety.
Moving forward, after communicating with yourself, comes everyone’s favorite part, communicating with your team and asking for help. Everyone loves being vulnerable right? In all honesty, opening up and asking for help can be very difficult, but check out some of the tips below to make the process a little easier.
- Identify who to talk to. Make sure that it is someone you trust and someone who is willing to see things from your point of view. At times that might be a co-worker, a team leader, or a supervisor.
- Prep your words. Preparing what you are going to say ahead of time offers many benefits, including ensuring that you don’t miss any important points, or ramble, and that you are not at a loss for words when you are 1-1 with your supervisor.
- Offer solutions. Don’t just come in with a laundry list of everything that’s going wrong and expect your manager to make it all better. Offer real solutions to your problems. If the issue is deadlines being too tight, for example, ask to receive tasks ahead of time, or split some of them with a co-worker.
- Be your own advocate. Be confident! (Or prepare enough to give the illusion of confidence.) You are allowed to feel the way that you do. Don’t just focus on all of the things that are stressing you out, mention all of the things you’re doing right as well. If you’ve put so much effort into your job that it’s becoming stressful, you likely are good at your job and truly care, but give yourself the chance to be the best employee you can be by asking for support.
Finally, don’t forget to set healthy boundaries, and create a clear separation between “work time” and “me time”. Create healthy rituals for yourself to decompress after you get home. In the words of Tiny Buddha, do something to get back to your body and something to quiet the mind. Go for a walk, run, or do some other kind of exercise. Take a shower, chew on an ice cube, or smell some lavender. Listen to a soothing piece of music. Say a prayer, practice a mantra, or recite a poem. Make time for yourself to fully exist outside of your occupation.
Our jobs are a really huge part of our lives. Don’t cheat yourself out of a healthy work environment by burying your emotions. Evaluate your needs, get help from your team, and make time to keep being you outside of work, it’s the least you deserve.
Want to read more? Here are a few of my related blog posts you may be interested in checking out!
“What to Do When You’re Stressed, Distressed, or Overwhelmed.” Tiny Buddha, 17 Nov. 2020, https://tinybuddha.com/blog/what-to-do-when-youre-stressed-distressed-or-overwhelmed/?fromterm=4919
Mental Health America, “Workplace Health Survey.” 2021 https://mhanational.org/sites/default/files/Mind%20the%20 Workplace%20-%20 MHA%20 Workplace%20Health%20 Survey%202021%202.12.21.pdf