Coping with a Job that Negatively Impacts Your Mental Health

There’s no two ways about it: our work has a massive impact on our quality of life. It affects everything from our socioeconomic status to our health and mental state. While work can be fulfilling and provide financial stability, it can also have a detrimental impact on our mental health in some cases. 

A toxic work environment, excessive stress, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of work-life balance are just a few aspects that can contribute to deteriorating mental well-being. If you find yourself in a job that negatively impacts your mental health regularly, you’ll need to either find a way to improve the situation or remove yourself from it entirely. In this blog, we explore actionable steps to help you work through this challenging situation and find a balance between your career and mental health.

Recognize the Signs

The first step in coping with a job that is negatively affecting your mental health is recognizing the signs that this is beginning to take its toll. Pay attention to how you feel both during and outside of work hours. Are you constantly stressed, anxious, irritable, or exhausted? Do you find it difficult to concentrate or enjoy activities you used to love? Acknowledging these signs will be your first step towards improving your situation.

Self-Care Has to Be a Priority

Putting yourself first is never selfish, as much as it may feel that way. Prioritizing self-care when dealing with a mentally taxing job is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine, like regular exercise, proper nutrition, enough water intake, and sufficient sleep.

Put Your Boundaries in Place

It's become far too easy to blur the lines between work and personal life, especially with the work from home movement. Making sure you have clearly established boundaries is essential to prevent your job from seeping into your personal time. One way you can do this is by designating specific hours for work and avoiding checking emails or messages outside of those hours. Communicate your boundaries with colleagues and supervisors and be assertive in defending your personal time. Don’t be afraid to say no to extra tasks that might cause your work to bleed into your home life.

Open Communication

If your job is negatively affecting your mental health, consider having an open and honest conversation with your supervisor or HR department to see if any solutions are available. For example, if it is a manager or supervisor that is causing your mental health to decline, explore options like moving departments or being placed under a different superior. You can also discuss any other concerns and explore potential solutions for those, for example, workload adjustments or flexible work arrangements. Companies are becoming more and more aware of the importance of employee well-being, and they may be willing to accommodate your needs to retain a valuable team member.

Work on Stress Management

Stress is probably playing a large role in your negative mental health, and in many cases, it is no fault of your own. That being said, you can take action to decrease your stress levels and lower your cortisol. Learning effective stress management techniques can help you better cope with the pressures of your job and simply feel happier. Practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, working out, and yoga can help you stay centered and reduce stress levels quickly. With regular practice, you will likely notice an improvement in your quality of life.

Utilize a Therapist or Counselor

Reach out to friends, family members, or a therapist to share your feelings and experiences within the workplace. Sometimes, an outsider's perspective can provide insights and guidance that make a huge difference. Online support groups or forums can also connect you with individuals who are going through similar struggles. Reading about other people going through the same difficulties can give you a sense of camaraderie and might provide you with solutions you had not thought of. 

Explore Skill Development
If your current job leaves you feeling unfulfilled or trapped, consider exploring opportunities to develop new skills or pivot to a different career path. Sometimes you don’t even have to leave the employer you are with; you might just need to branch out into a different area. Taking the time to participate in workshops or online courses can provide a sense of growth and open new avenues for your professional journey.

Time Management and Prioritization of Tasks

Feeling overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list can exacerbate stress and anxiety. Practice effective time management by prioritizing tasks, breaking them into manageable chunks, and setting realistic deadlines. Delegate tasks when possible, and don't hesitate to ask for help when needed.

Plan Out Your Breaks

Taking short breaks throughout your workday can make your day feel less daunting and can provide you with something to look forward to. Step away from your desk, go for a walk, or simply check out for a moment. These times of respite can help you recharge and refocus so that you feel centered again. Taking breaks is important for a variety of reasons and employers are mandated to provide them to their staff. Never feel guilty for wanting or needing a break; it’s healthy and normal.

Consider Finding New Employment

While it might seem daunting or even impossible if your current job is consistently detrimental to your mental health and efforts to improve the situation have been unsuccessful, it is probably time to start exploring other job opportunities. Your well-being should always be a top priority, and making a change could lead to a healthier and happier future in the long run.

Last Resort

Unfortunately, there are some unique circumstances in which a job might be negatively affecting your mental health due to abuse or mistreatment. If you find yourself in a situation where you are being harassed or violated to any degree, report this to both your company’s HR and a trusted colleague immediately. No one should feel forced to stay in a position that is dangerous for them, either mentally or physically. 
Dealing with a job that negatively impacts your mental health can be an arduous journey, but you are not powerless in the situation. Your health is invaluable and making changes to improve your work-life balance is a brave and commendable choice. Whether it's implementing stress management techniques, having open conversations with your employer, or even considering a career change, the path to a healthier work-life balance is within your reach. Your mental health matters, and taking action is the first step toward a brighter future.

We Can Help!

Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home.  If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help.  To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit our website to learn more.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any severe mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Online Treatment Programs

10 January, 2024

Latest articles

Share on