Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

6 Tips to Determine Whether Your Job Is Helping or Hurting Your Mental Health

Is your job Hurting Your Mental Health

 

There’s a reason why they call it work. It isn’t always fun. However, there is a difference between a job being tolerable and being downright miserable. At the end of the day, you deserve a career that’s challenging and fulfilling. It should help, not hurt, your mental health. Sadly, all too often, the workplace contributes to physical, psychological and emotional stress, which can take a toll on your overall well-being. 

Your job must support your mental health if you want to feel happy, healthy and successful. Use the tips below to determine whether yours does or if you’d be better off finding work elsewhere. 

1. Consider Your Accomplishments

Do your employers and colleagues appreciate you? Most people admit they’d work harder if they felt like management noticed their contributions. However, nearly half of employees have left a job because they felt unappreciated. Are you headed in a similar direction? 

Consider your recent professional accomplishments. Has anyone recognized them — publicly or privately? A good employer will engage staff and make a point to appreciate them. If someone has reached out to congratulate or reward your hard work, your job might be helping your mental health. However, if management and fellow employees repeatedly ignore your achievements, it’s probably harming your emotional and mental well-being. 

2. Look for Room to Grow

Odds are you got the job you have now because you had the necessary skills and qualifications. However, to compete in an ever-changing workplace, you must constantly strive to learn more and develop new abilities. Does your employer provide enough room for this level of personal and professional growth? 

The best companies will provide a clear progression path, complete with training programs, certifications and pay increases. Perhaps you can even cross-train in different departments and gain new specialties. However you grow, a company that supports you on your journey is sure to boost your mental health — in both the long and short term. 

3. Analyze Your Benefits Package

Another great way to determine whether your job is helping or hurting your mental health is to analyze your benefits package. A job that offers mental health resources and good insurance can alleviate financial anxieties and make a happy, healthy lifestyle more accessible. 

For instance, you might take advantage of telemedicine services, which grew by more than 4,000% during some periods of the pandemic. Perhaps you can use perks like free gym memberships, employee discounts and other unique offerings to benefit your physical and mental health. The better you feel physically, the more likely you are to be of sound mind, and employee programs are sure to help.

4. Think About Work-Life Balance 

How much time do you spend doing things you love? Do you feel like your schedule’s flexible enough for you to take up a hobby, hit the gym and invest in your relationships? Better yet, can you enjoy all those activities without sacrificing your job or your mental health? 

More than 50% of Americans say they would give up a pay raise for more flexibility in when and where they work. Many of them already have, and they’re likely better off for it. Perhaps you’re chasing that elusive work-life balance, too. If so, your job might be doing more harm than good in terms of your mental health. In this case, a position with more flexibility and even forgiveness might be in order. 

5. Find Your Inspiration 

Today’s employees work for more than just a paycheck. They want to feel as though they’re making a difference, like they’re a part of something greater than themselves. However, many companies fail to match their staff’s passion and enthusiasm, and they don’t provide opportunities for creativity, selflessness or inspiration. Their main priority is boosting the bottom line and lining their managers’ pockets. 

These kinds of workplace environments can quickly crush your spirit and take a severe toll on your mental health — both in and out of work. If you’re struggling to find inspiration at your job, it might be time to search elsewhere. 

6. Tap Into the Body

Perhaps you’re still unsure whether your job is helping or hurting your mental health. If so, try tapping into your body. Anxiety, depression and other mental conditions often cause physical symptoms. However, they may be subtle at first, which is why you must pay close attention to how you feel — in more ways than one. 

Do you notice tension in your jaw or neck? Do you subconsciously furrow your brow while going through emails? Maybe your palms get sweaty whenever your manager walks by. These physical signs are trying to tell you something. Practice naming your emotions to decipher your feelings and make the best career choice for your overall well-being. 

Prioritizing Your Mental Health 

The tips above should help you determine whether your current job supports or harms your mental health. However, you must be willing to accept the answer, regardless of how well your job pays. If work really is causing you harm, it’s in your best interest to either create a healthier workplace environment or find a new one. 

Shifting your mindset can only do so much, so you may have little choice but to take your talents elsewhere. The transition may be difficult, but prioritizing your mental health is worth it. You deserve a job that makes you happy, so get out there and find it.