Mental Health at Work

« Back to BlogBy Carol Gerber

With July being the month of National Minority Health Awareness, we would like to recognize the importance of employee treatment, and how individuals inside or outside of the workplace should protect themselves from harm, harassment and bad mental health.

Good mental health for employees in the workplace is crucial for business success and individual well-being. Work can be meaningful and give purpose to an individual’s life, however negative work atmospheres can cause stress, depression, anxiety, burnout, and overall poor quality of life. It is important to cater to your mental health in order to provide good work to your company and a happier home life. Negative factors of a workplace or home environment can be uncontrollable. Regardless of what factors are driving poor mental health there are ways individuals can protect themselves from feeling unhappy, unproductive, and burnt.

Some factors that drive negative mental health as a reaction to work include, long hours, working remotely with no clear expectations and structure, harassment and abuse in the workplace, poor communication, and lack of support. Additionally, a common mental health condition that is often overlooked is burnout due to stress from these complications. Whether it is caused by work or an individual’s perspective on life, burnout can cause extreme levels of stress that lead to depression, anxiety, and physical illness. Burnout and related health issues can not only affect your performance at work, but it can affect your relationships at home, with yourself, with friends, and damage your overall personal life at home.

Symptoms of poor mental health from the workplace include, inability to complete and manage daily tasks in work or at home. You may have trouble thinking, this includes memory problems and trouble concentrating. Some people struggle with physical abnormalities such as sleeping issues, oversleeping or insomnia. Other physical impairments include appetite changes, and increase in substance use to cope with problems. More general physical symptoms include headaches, stomach aches, or body aches. Mood changes due to work life stress can include hopelessness, uncomfortability, and suicidal ideation. Feelings of nervousness at work and at home can drive fear, paranoia, and anxiety. People who experience mental health struggles may also be hypersensitive to things that don’t bother the average person with normal stress levels. Disconnection and dissociation to your environment and your peers can be another symptom of the problem. People may begin to act abnormally or exhibit out of control and irrational behavior.

This issue has become such a common problem in our society, one in five adults suffer with mental health related issues, most of which experience high levels of stress. Whether you are a worker or even a student, burnout and mental health issues can decrease your quality of life. Managing stress and health to better care for yourself and others is absolutely crucial.

Here are some ways to manage stress, burnout, and mental health struggles….

  • Take a break from the screen: Whether that means social media, work, or school, power off the computer or the phone and give yourself time to recharge.
  • Adjust your perspective: Try to find purpose in what you do for a living to avoid negative feelings. Even if you don’t like your job, recognize the contribution you are making to your employer or other people.
  • Use relaxation techniques: including yoga, meditation, breathing exercise, walks or even watching your favorite movie or TV show! Do something you enjoy to be present in the moment and not worry about the stress in your life.
  • Stay social and connected: Have fun. Develop good relationships at work to make the environment more safe and enjoyable. Plan to do things with your coworkers outside of work to build connection. Additionally, stay connected with your friends and family. Don’t lose yourself to your feelings, try to fight to keep yourself connected. As a human, connection is key. Having a great social life can lighten the worries, even if it feels hard.
  • Seek help and communicate how you feel: Many people try to deal with their issues privately and feel embarrassed or discouraged about how they feel. You are not alone. There is no shame in having a support system in times of struggle. Talk to your closest loved ones about how you feel. Do not feel like a burden, they care about you and will feel good that you want to take care of yourself and talk about it.
  • Become resilient: Learn how to handle your emotions so that you can handle issues and stress effectively. Put the effort into maintaining a positive attitude through the hardships to prevent you from major setbacks. Building resilience is doable with the right motivation and mindset.
  • Take good care of yourself: Develop healthy sleep habits, nourish yourself with a good diet, and exercise to increase your mood boosting bodily chemicals. This could also include developing a solid routine to follow.

You are not alone! Be strong and remember that you matter, you deserve happiness. Coping mechanisms and changes can be implemented to improve the quality of your life. There is hope.

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