It was recently world mental health day, and I started thinking about how much my life has changed and how I got to where I am today. I’m so happy that currently I experience a lot less anxiety, depression and general low moods. I’m also happy that I no longer work in a toxic environment and actually feel safe in my job, something that hugely contributes to overall good mental health. But this didn’t happen by accident or overnight. For me the thing that has significantly impacted my mental health is coaching, and I wanted to share why.
With the ushering in of a new decade, naturally I started thinking about what I had accomplished in the past 10 years. There were many different things and it seemed more sensible to break it down into categories, which is when I thought of the last decade purely in terms of mental health.
What happened, and what has it represented to me? I wanted to take the time to reflect and put “pen to paper”. After all, “That’s mental” wasn’t born out of thin air.
As I have been going on this journey with mental health, I have met many people along the way who all have their own stories to tell.
In fact, one of the things that inspired me to start sharing my story was hearing from others. Every time I heard from a friend or an acquaintance of some sort of hellish situation they were experiencing at work, I knew I was not alone.
Originally this blog post was going to be tongue in cheek – recounting funny experiences of end of year breakdowns. But since no one answered my call for stories – I decided to turn this into something that I hope is more meaningful and helpful.
In my experience, the end of the year at work is madness. You’re rushing to finish off the last projects, leave no loose ends before you go on holiday, but you’re also desperate to finally have a break! Meanwhile you may be reflecting on everything you’ve done this year, thinking about the performance review and conversations you want to have, and wondering what you’ve achieved. Or you may be – as I have in the past – ridiculously overworked and racing against the clock.
At the very basic level, we all want to do our best at work (unless you really hate your job). We want to make sure we’re doing what’s required, so our colleagues enjoy working with us and we can keep our jobs.
Whilst we busy ourselves with the basic requirements, there are many things that can get in the way of us doing our jobs properly – and I don’t mean finding a sense of purpose. While it’s extremely important and will help you be more engaged, before you’re able to reach the Holy Grail of purpose, first you need to get through the day.
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.
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.