The work life is balance is a concept that is constantly being sold to us. In particular in today’s context of increased pressure and burnout, we are all running after it as if it were some sort of treasure. Countless articles are out there telling us how to find it, in fact I myself wrote one a few years ago.
Today I’d like to talk about what happens when work takes over your life. By that I mean more than working long hours, I’m talking about when work starts to ruin your social life, your relationships and your health. When it changes you, to a point where you’re not who you used to be. What can we do about this, and how can we prevent it?
If you are faced with some sort of mental health issue, you know that certain situations can “set you off”. If you suffer from social anxiety, going to large gatherings or parties may not be good for you. Or if you suffer from depression, an argument with a friend or a negative comment might start you spiralling into negative thoughts that it’s hard to get out of.
It’s difficult enough having to deal with these situations on a daily basis, but it’s an added challenge dealing with them at work. How can you ensure you will remain composed? How do you keep your emotions under control with your colleagues? How do you get away if you need a moment to collect yourself? I try to provide some answers below…
I’m pretty sure that at least once in your life you’ve thought to yourself: “that’s it, I quit!”
If you haven’t then you are one of those very fortunate people who gets to do a job they love, or else perhaps you’re delusional… Just kidding!
More seriously, I don’t think there are many people who have not gone through a difficult time at work, or considered their career options, without thinking about quitting. It’s natural and perhaps even healthy to question your choices every now again. But it begs the questions of all questions (sort of like knowing who is “the one”): how do I know when to quit? To answer that, I’d like to share my experience.
I’ve been addressing mental health in the workplace for a while, but one cannot talk about burnout (or other issues) if one doesn’t talk about what leads to it…
A lot of my articles focus on the individual and knowing oneself, which I continue to believe is of utmost importance. But is undeniable that certain environments create a burnout culture and are not favourable to employees’ wellbeing.
As I’ve been talking a lot about mental health in the workplace, it seemed natural to cover talking about it with your boss/manager. This is a difficult topic: on the one hand mental health is still stigmatized, particularly in the workplace. On the other hand, I believe in the importance of speaking about these issues to raise awareness.
Whether or not you feel comfortable telling your manager about your mental health issue is very personal, and will depend on several factors: your level of trust, their openness to listen to you, their ability to understand (as you perceive it), and what you expect as an outcome of the conversation.
Last time I wrote about team dynamics in the workplace and how they can affect your mental health. A really important part of that, is how to help someone else when you see they are in need. If that person is part of your team, or a colleague you see suffering, what can you do?
Showing someone else you care is probably the first step towards making them feel better. Remembering the times I was in most difficulty, just the simple fact of someone telling me to enjoy a break, or ask for help, already relieved the pressure a little. So by the sheer fact of noticing, you might already be making a difference.
Continuing on the series related to mental health, another topic suggested was “techniques for self help”. It’s a difficult one because there are so many different ways this could be looked at, but for today I will pick my top 5. Read on!
Still on the topic of mental health and wellbeing, one of the topics suggested was “How to stay motivated”? I almost put this off to a time when I was more motivated, how ironic! But then it occurred to me I have experiences I can draw on to try to answer this question.
When you’re feeling anxious, down, depressed or stressed, it can become really hard to stay motivated. You may have the adrenaline pumping through your veins (if stressed or anxious) ensuring you keep delivering, but as for the rest… forget it! You don’t want to go out anymore, things you used to enjoy you ignore and you eat junk food.