Undoubtedly, mental health affects different aspects of life. In the United States, one in five adults experiences mental illness yearly. There are several contributing factors to this condition, and one of them is your job.
A person’s career can negatively impact their mental health. Sadly, most people fail to get the help they need because of the fear of how it reflects on their character. Others simply do not bother speaking up because of the fear of losing their job.
However, you can always switch careers if your job affects your mental health or makes you sick. In the process of changing jobs, there are certain things to look out for. This article covers all you need to know about a career change and mental health.
How Do You Know Your Job is Affecting Your Mental Health?
A survey revealed that 50% of people hate their jobs. However, they stay for financial stability to the detriment of their welfare. But remaining in a toxic environment is harmful not only to yourself but to those around you. There’s also the possible danger to your mental health.
So, how do you know if your job is harmful to your mental health? Let’s find out.
Feeling Miserable at Work
When the environment is toxic, employees are bound to be miserable and struggle with daily assignments. The thought of going to the office fills you with dread, making it challenging to perform your duties effectively. The result of such a harmful environment is mental health issues. This could be anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, or depression. When at or going to work, you may get sick or experience a sense of deep sadness. The more you stay in that organization, the more it affects you physically and emotionally.
Generally, the brain hangs onto our emotions. S,o when all you feel constantly is negativity, you program your mind to be that way, feeding depression. In time, you’ll find that you’re always sad, moody, and feel no joy working.
Thinking Negative Thoughts
Neuroscientific evidence has shown that there is greater neural processing in the brain in response to negative stimuli. Negative information causes a surge in activity in the critical information processing area of the brain. As a result, behaviors, and attitudes tend to be shaped more powerfully by terrible news and experiences.
Put simply, the brain holds on to negative information. So, for example, when a person hears “Don’t forget to turn in your assignment,” the brain deletes “don’t” and retains “forget to turn in your assignment.” As a result, it’s best to say, “Remember to turn in your assignment.”
The brain’s response to negative bias is worse in people with mental conditions. If you work in a toxic environment, you’ll remain despondent and find it harder to stay positive. Therefore, constant negative thoughts are a sign that it’s time to switch careers. Your mental health comes first, so don’t stay at a job that threatens it.
It Takes the Weekend To Recover From a Work Week
Imagine that when you step into the office on the first day of the week, your mental health starts declining. By Tuesday, depression sets in, and you dread the remaining office days. Then, when the weekend arrives, you can’t enjoy it and feel worn out. By the time it feels like you’re getting better, it’s time to return to work, and the cycle continues.
Constantly Dreaming About Retirement
Suppose you are 25, working a nine-to-five, have very little money saved, but constantly wish you could retire and never return to your job. Then your job may be affecting your mental health. If you also find yourself dreaming about get-rich-quick schemes, so you don’t go back to your office, then it’s time to switch careers or get therapy.
Always Physically Sick
Mental or physical stress affects the immune system and may make you physically sick. Stress affects the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens, making the body more susceptible to infections. If a toxic work environment poisons your mind and body, you’ll fall ill often. Your body will be susceptible to different viruses, and recovery time may take longer.
Taking More Personal Days
Everyone takes personal days when they need to. But if yours is more often than average, and when you’re not physically sick, it’s a red flag. So, if you wake up, get dressed for work, and the thought of being in the office sickens you, make a change. Similarly, there could be a mental health issue if your company does not have a remote policy, but you’d rather work from home than go to your workplace.
What if Your Work Environment Is Not Toxic?
Everything discussed so far points to a toxic work environment affecting your mental health. But what if your workplace has a healthy culture, and everyone seems to be thriving except you? Even worse, your colleagues’ success makes you depressed. Should you change careers?
The first thing to note is that a career change is not always because of hostile work culture. People change jobs for different reasons; it could be to make time for their families or for more money. Another reason is being in the wrong career.
For instance, if a creative person ends up working in an accounting firm, punching numbers daily, their work-life will be unfilling. Consequently, they may become miserable at work. In such a situation, the right thing would be to find employment that appeals to your creativity.
Always pay attention to how you react to situations in your workplace. Just because everyone else is happy and thriving doesn’t mean you should stay. If your mind and body feel suffocated, listen to them and switch paths.
Will a Career Change Benefit Your Mental Health?
The fear of the unknown or the financial implications of quitting a job are two reasons why most people “tough it out.” Others just don’t think getting new employment would solve their mental health problems. But will it? And if yes, in what way?
Making a career change will indeed improve your mental health and entire well-being. Below are some potential benefits of getting a new profession.
One common reason people look to change careers is stress. However, stressful job functions or work environments could lead to mental and physical burnout. It could also be that you work overtime without getting paid.
By switching to a job with fewer hours, you get back the time you need to unwind and enjoy your life. In addition, with less stress, you’ll experience more engagement at work and improved sleep, resulting in job satisfaction and improved well-being.
One of the most crucial factors to feeling great at work is the people you work with. They are as important as the job itself. If you have toxic coworkers who gossip, bully and belittle you, it will affect your mental health, especially your self-esteem.
Conversely, the job becomes enjoyable when you work with people who respect and share your values, passion, and motivation. However, just because a person left one toxic work culture doesn’t mean they’ll not end up in another. So, to avoid this, carefully study the company or industry before changing professions.
When employers micromanage their staff, it negatively affects their mental health. Micromanagement means closely monitoring and controlling every detail of an employee’s work life. This toxic administration style increases a worker’s stress, causes low self-esteem, and depression.
Switching jobs and having a new employer gives you independence and room to be creative. You’ll also get to use your voice and contribute to the company’s day-to-day running. All these improve your mental health by giving you an increased sense of purpose and boosting your self-esteem.
A well-rounded work-life balance is crucial to living a meaningful life. However, when a person feels their life is centered around their job, it may lead to chronic stress and anxiety. But by working for a company or pursuing a job that offers flexibility and work-life balance, you’ll get the rest, relaxation, and leisure time you need.
This improves your life quality and physical health. While work is an essential aspect of life, there should be adequate time for sleep, being with family, and engaging in hobbies. Sometimes, a career change is the only way to get your life back and make time for the things that matter.
Again, toxic work culture is bad for one’s mental health. It makes employees feel disconnected from their jobs and colleagues. This changes when you switch careers to a company or industry with a healthy work culture.
The condition at your former workplace determines what a healthy work culture is for you. For example, it could be more holiday time, continuing education, gym membership, rewards program, etc. As a result, you’ll feel more valuable and get recognized for your contributions to the company.
When you feel burnout or a deep sense of unfulfillment, it is an indication to make a change. You have to protect your mental health, so take some time to think about what is best for you. For more information on caring for your mental health, visit our extensive resource page.