Mental Health and Employment
Being employed can provide a sense of purpose and satisfaction. However, work environments that may not always be positive can impact our mental health, performance, and wellbeing. It is important to determine what we can do to take care of ourselves at, and outside of work.
Workplace stress can come in many forms, whether it is deadlines, production counts, piecework demands or workplace culture. However, if stress becomes too intense or is drawn out over a long period of time, it can seriously impact our overall mental and physical health.
It is important to safeguard our mental health and well-being on the job. Some tactics for doing this may include:
- Maintaining a schedule and limiting workday “drift” that can translate into extra hours.
- Strive for realistic deadlines to ensure completion of tasks. If a deadline can not be met, request support from a manager or colleagues.
- With increased use of technology, breaks are important. Take advantage of scheduled breaks to pause and refresh.
- Achieving work/life balance can be challenging at the best of times. If you’re working from home, try to establish routines that signal when your workday begins and ends. Shut off your devices and take a walk or a drive to make the transition from work to home.
- Use earned vacation or sick time to rest and recharge.
- If stress levels become too high, speak with your employer to see if a flexible work arrangement is possible, even temporarily, while you take care of yourself and your mental health.
- If available, check into your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). We all need some objective, outside help sometimes.
Recognize that everyone is unique and may require different supports to address their own mental health in the workplace. Acknowledge that you are doing the best you can and seek out supports available through your employer. Everyone, regardless of position, can be susceptible to workplace stress which can affect their mental wellness. You are not alone.
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"I was in a cycle. I would be okay, then would struggle, then would crash and self-harm. Lutherwood had people there for me, always helping me. Instead of turning to self-harm, I learned to sit in my anxiety and feel it, to build awareness and resilience. Now, I am more confident and I know what I want in life. I miss the incredible staff there."