In today’s world, many people lead busy lives. Between work, family, and social obligations, it is possible to carry a lot of stress and anxiety. An overload of responsibilities can take a toll on your mental health, especially if your profession is in a high-stress environment.
Professional tennis athlete, Naomi Osaka, faced an enormous amount of stress from the tennis industry and the media. The demands impacted her mental health, which was brushed off by those around her, and led her to briefly pull away from the tennis world.
Professional athletes are not the only ones who experience the lack-of-understanding regarding mental health problems. The stigma surrounding mental health needs to be addressed, particularly in the workplace.
Mental Health and the Workplace
Let’s be honest, jobs can be tough and demanding, and, unfortunately, not all employers are accepting or understanding of mental health conditions.
Ways Your Job Influences Your Mental Health
According to the CDC, 18.3% of US adults reported diagnosed mental illnesses in 2016, yet 71% experienced symptoms of stress. Signs of stress can include headaches, nausea, feelings of anxiousness, chest pains, and more.
When it comes to your career, stress and mental health can impact your performance. You may be less productive or engaged in your work. You may withdraw from coworkers or limit your communication with others.
Mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, has been linked to higher rates of disability and unemployment. Your mental health can interfere with your capacity to perform physical and cognitive tasks.
Effects of a Toxic Work Environment
Most of us spend the better part of our day working or focused on our careers. Working in a toxic or overly demanding environment that harms your health, happiness, or well-being can impact your mental health. The effects can leave you feeling tired, drained, anxious, or nervous. It can take a toll on your physical wellness too.
The effects of a poor work environment are not only seen from 9-5 or during the typical work hours. The results extend into your personal time too. You may experience feelings of low self-esteem and exhaustion or have conflicts with your friends and family.
When your mental health is affected, it is hard not to bring the effects of work home with you.
What to Do When Your Job Harms Your Mental Health
If your career is taking a toll on your well-being, consider the following steps to protect your mental health:
1. Practice Self-Care
Your mental well-being should be as much of a priority as your physical wellness. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish; it is self-care. Focus on yourself by:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting enough sleep
- Finding a way to relax and relieve your stress
- Find a provider for talk therapy at a clinic like Salveo Integrative Health
2. Speak Up
Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. Don’t make decisions that negatively impact your mental health. Advocate for your mental health, even if you are under pressure from your employer.
3. Set Boundaries
“No” is not just a word, but it is also a sentence. It is okay to say no and set boundaries when your mental health is on the line.
4. Maintain a Strong Support System
Surround yourself with friends, loved ones, and co-workers that you can lean on for support or a listening ear. A good support system is important for your recovery and your self-esteem. It can keep you from withdrawing into yourself and further damaging your delicate mental health.
5. Remain Professional
When your mental wellness is at risk, you may feel negative, frustrated, or angry. Throughout everything, maintain a sense of professionalism. Don’t lower your standards or stoop to a lower level, even if those around you do.
You will gain more respect and advocate for your cause better when you stay professional.
Unfortunately, even the best intentions and efforts do not always work in making a change in the workplace. If leaving your job is the only option you see, speak to a friend, family member, or mental health professional before making that leap. No one can make the decision for you or know what is right. However, your job should help you feel fulfilled rather than destroying your mental health.
How Companies Can Support Mental Health
It’s no coincidence that some companies maintain high morale and great performance rates from staff members. These organizations are committed to establishing a healthy work environment that promotes psychological wellness, open communication, and self-care. When employees feel respected, they are more likely to respect their bosses and perform at a higher level.
To support mental health among their employees, companies can learn more about mental health to understand how it affects employees and include mental health care within the benefits packages. Promote open communication to reduce the stigma and help employees gain access to mental health resources.
Your employees are your most important assets and resources. Protect their mental and physical well-being.
Salveo Integrative Health can help you manage your job-related mental health stress. We provide mental health services in Lawrenceville and Flowery Branch, GA. We also provide telepsychiatry services throughout Georgia and North Carolina.