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The Relationship Between Work And Mental Health

Work can have a crucial impact on your overall health and well-being. Aside from financial benefits, your job can provide meaning, structure, and purpose to your life. It can also boost your self-esteem, give you a sense of identity, and provide you with an essential social outlet.

On the other hand, working in a negative environment can have the opposite effect and take a heavy toll on your emotional health. Understaffing, long hours, a lack of support, and workplace harassment can all contribute to stress and mental health problems such as substance abuse, depression, and anxiety.

These problems have only been aggravated by the pandemic and significant changes in our working habits over the last few years. Many of us have spent months adjusting to new stressors, such as working remotely, only to re-adjust to commuting and working onsite. It has left us tense, unhappy, and concerned about the future and how we will spend our days.

Just as work can impact your mental health, your mental health can affect your work, affecting your job performance and productivity. Mental health problems result in lost productivity, absenteeism, and staff turnover.

For most of us, much of our work environment is beyond our control. Work culture is established by those in positions of authority above us, and we frequently feel unable to speak up without fear of being judged or losing our jobs. However, whether your mental health problems are caused by your workplace or stem from somewhere else, they interfere with your work performance.

Workplace Signs And Symptoms Of A Mental Health Problem

We all have bad days at work when nothing seems to go right. You may struggle to concentrate, feel overly stressed, irritable, unappreciated, or lack the motivation and energy to complete even the most basic tasks. But if this is how you feel daily, it could signify something is wrong.

Many mental health issues can develop gradually. Work can make you feel frazzled, anxious, and downbeat to the point where it becomes "normal." On the other hand, ignoring the early signs of a problem will only make it worse over time, leaving you Susceptible to illnesses and other health problems, causing burnout, and harming your job performance, relationships, and home life.

While the symptoms of mental health issues can vary greatly depending on the condition and the individual experiencing them, it's critical to be aware of any changes in how you think, feel, and behave. For example, if you spot several of the following symptoms in yourself (or in a co-worker or employee), it may be time to seek professional assistance.

  • A drop in your work performance: You find it difficult to carry out your daily work (at home or in your social life).

  • Difficulties concentrating and thinking: You are having difficulty focusing on tasks, or you are having problems with your memory, thinking, or even your speech patterns.

  • Alterations in your appetite or sleeping habits: Struggling with insomnia, sleeping excessively, abrupt changes in eating habits, or relying on drugs and alcohol to cope.

  • Shifts in your mood: You feel hopeless, helpless, or tense, or you have unusual mood swings or suicidal thoughts.

  • Disinterest in activities: You lose interest in previously enjoyable aspects of your job, give up hobbies you used to enjoy, or withdraw from friendships and social activities. A strong sense of apathy could accompany this.

  • Anxiety or fear: You are suspicious of others at work or socially, or become nervous and afraid in certain situations.

  • Improved sensitivity: You're more sensitive to sounds and sights and try to avoid over-stimulating situations.

  • Strange behaviors: You feel disconnected from your surroundings, exhibit unusual or out-of-control behavior and see or hear things that aren't real.

  • Unexplained aches and pains include headaches, stomach upset, or muscle pain.

Workplace Mental Health Risk Factors

  • Short-staffing due to cutbacks or unfilled vacancies, long, inflexible hours, or an ever-increasing workload is common work-related challenge that can harmfully impact your mental health.

  • Working from home with no clear separation of work and personal time.

  • A toxic work environment that encourages bullying, harassment, or abuse.

  • You need more adequate training or guidance for the role you're expected to play.

  • Management's limited or ambiguous communication about tasks, goals, or decision-making.

  • Inadequate support, a lack of equipment or other job resources, or dangerous working conditions.

What Impact Can Mental Health Issues Have On Your Job?

Consider the relationship between your mental health and your performance.

You confidently approach your job when your mental and emotional health is in good shape. You're adaptable, flexible, and tough. You are capable of dealing with difficulties. Your contributions to your team are significant, and you excel in your personal and professional lives.

Poor mental health at work, even if it isn't severe, hurts your job in various ways. Employees at all levels are subject to the same rules, with disastrous consequences for organizations.

Here are five negative effects of poor workplace mental health.

  1. A lack of interest in one's work: Lack of focus and de-motivation are caused by poor mental health. When we suffer from workplace mental health problems, our minds wander or fixate on our problems, making it tough to control our thoughts and emotions.

  2. Productivity and job performance suffer as a result: High performance is mental fortitude in action. Poor mental health can impair job performance by making it more difficult to access the behavioral skills that foster creativity and resilience. If we lack these skills, we lack the psychological resources to perform well at our jobs.

  3. Impairment in physical ability and daily functioning: Poor mental health substantially impacts your daily living and physical capability, ranging from social anxiety to a reduction in working memory and cognitive performance.

  4. Communication misalignment: When we are emotionally distressed, it is and challenging to communicate effectively. Poor mental health may cause you to misinterpret or overreact to co-workers. It may appear that you speak in a passive-aggressive tone, are a poor listener, or have a negative attitude.

  5. Bad decision-making: Poor mental health can result in impulsive behavior, unhealthy thoughts, and poor decision-making. Poor decision-making can result in missed meetings, arriving late, breaking promises, or failing to follow company policies.

If you require more support in this area, please reach out and book a complimentary Zoom call. Please use this LINK to schedule.

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