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.
Mental wellbeing in the workplace isn’t always related to work induced situations. You may have other things going on in your life that impact how you feel on the job. Considering you spend 80% of your time at work – but luckily you are more than that – it’s only normal that the rest of your life should trickle in to how you feel in the workplace.
We can all think of the joyful moments: engagement, getting married, becoming a parent, getting a new boyfriend/girlfriend, graduating from your degree… They are all exciting things you want to share and will be eager to talk about. Most likely, they’ll also give you a boost and you’ll have more energy to come to work – unless they’re totally distracting you.
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.
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.