With many of life’s daily stressors impacting us more than ever, it has become common practice to take care of our mental health just as much as our physical health.
Caring for your mental health can involve taking up a new hobby, practicing self-care and mindfulness, meditating, or even seeing a therapist.
However, even the most genuine attempts at improving one’s mental health might end up proving futile if in your life there continues to be substantial daily stressors that don’t or can’t improve.
One such stressor could be your job. Often without us realizing it, our jobs or careers can take a significant toll on our mental health.
In a world focused on productivity at any and all costs, it can be challenging, if not seemingly impossible, to fully remove yourself from the chaos of the workplace.
Signs Your Job is Taking a Toll on Your Mental Health
- There is a massive culture of “workaholism.” If you notice that you or your coworkers work long hours with little pay increase, perform job tasks even after hours, or seek perfection in everything you do for your career, you may be overworking yourselves. Even when we enjoy our jobs, working too hard or for too long can really take a toll on our mental health.
- There is little work/life balance. Similarly, if you find yourself lacking time to enjoy the social activities or hobbies that you once did because of your job, you might notice a negative shift in your mood. It is important to be able to think and talk about things other than work to add some variety and joy to your life.
- You find yourself awake at night. A big sign that work has taken over in an unhealthy way is that you struggle to get to sleep at night. Losing sleep can become a harmful, vicious cycle as the more sleep you lose, the more stressed out you can become.
- You resent your boss or coworkers. If there is constantly an environment of hostility and blame in the workplace, negative emotions can build up towards those around you. We may not think about why we harbor so much resentment towards our boss or coworkers, but it could be a sign that the workplace is very unhealthy.
- You feel like most or all work projects are doomed to fail. This negative thought pattern could be categorized as “catastrophizing” and is a major sign of anxiety. If you are constantly worried that anything you do at work will get criticized or turn out poorly, it might mean that the toxic culture has negatively affected your mental health and self-confidence.
- You genuinely dread going to work. Many people don’t necessarily enjoy going to work every day, but if you find that you deeply despise going to work and have to convince yourself just to get up each day, it could be a sign that your workplace is draining. An unhealthy work environment can instill signs of depression-like constant dread.
- Your coworkers are always talking about quitting. If you constantly hear your coworkers discussing their plans to quit, it could indicate your job might be setting you up to feel a similar way. On the one hand, it can show that others are also struggling in that environment, and on the other, the constant negativity can make you feel depleted or destitute as well.
- You don’t feel valued. A considerable part of every job should be a sense of accomplishment or pride in the work done. When you don’t feel like you are valued by your boss or your workplace, you can lose self-esteem and feel pessimistic about the work that you do.
What can I do to make things better?
When you notice that your job has negatively affected your mental health, it can be tough to make a change.
Oftentimes our lives revolve around our jobs so heavily because we need them to survive.
However, making an effort to transition away from a truly depleting job can do wonders for your mental health and allow you to live a happier, healthier life in the long run.
Mental Healthcare Options
As mentioned above, there are options you can take advantage of if you feel like your mental health may be suffering, whether it be because of your job or not.
Therapy or working with another mental health professional is a great place to get started, but removing yourself from a toxic work environment is sometimes necessary as well.
Alternative options include
- Visiting support groups or online forums to share your experiences with others.
- Incorporating self-care and mindfulness tasks into your daily routine.
- Opening up about your feelings to friends and family.
Mental health is certainly something that’s worthwhile to prioritize. It shapes the way we think, the way we act, and the way we feel.
So, don’t be afraid to take that first step (towards care), even if leaving your job isn’t an option. No one deserves to dedicate their time to something that makes them miserable.