While I’ve often talked about the negative circumstances you can encounter in the workplace and how these contribute to mental health problems, it’s also important to talk about the positive experiences to counterbalance that. After all it’s not all doom and gloom and there are plenty of experiences to show there is hope when it comes to finding a workplace that is good for your mental health.
A topic that’s been on my mind for a while is our definition of success, particularly when it comes to our professional lives. Ultimately, I believe it’s the source of a lot of stress, and can end up being the cause of burnout and other mental health issues we experience at work.
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.
Cue: this ridiculous stock image is certainly not the right answer.
One of the reasons we’re still struggling to address mental health issues, is because of the stigma that comes with them.
In the past (and probably still today), telling someone you were seeing a psychologist was often met with raised eyebrows as if to say “oh no! They must be crazy” or “they must have serious issues”. Same with the word depression, people have a concerned look and are worried your’e suicidal, don’t know how to respond, take pity on you or are worried you’re going to become a burden.
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.
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.
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.
As you may know, anxiety, and more broadly mental health are topics of importance to me. In particular when it comes to mental health in the workplace, I feel that the subjects are as yet not discussed enough, whilst seeing an increasing number of articles and studies on how many people are be burning out.
I recently reached out on my social networks to ask what you’d be interested in hearing about and the response was beyond expectations! Thanks to your answers, I now have many more ideas and topics to cover for the rest of the year.
One of the first I wanted to address was “What to say” or “What not to say” to someone who is suffering from a mental health disorder. This is a great question, so without further ado, here are my top 3 things to say and not say to your colleague/friend/family member/loved one.