How to Juggle Mental Health and Career : According to statistics, 3 out of 4 Americans experience stress at least every month, and more than 30% of people deal with sleep problems, anxiety, or anger management issues caused by stress.
Of course, there are many sources of stress, and it’s impossible to point out a single factor that would be responsible for everyone’s stress. However, some stress factors are very common so they affect people of different ages, from different backgrounds.
Research data shows that work-related stress is particularly common, with 46% of people citing workload as the main source of stress, and 20% noting that their stress is caused by juggling work and personal lives.
There is a direct connection between mental health and career because, for many of us, work is an integral part of our lives. We depend on our work financially, and career development can also be an important source of self-actualization.
Unfortunately, in an attempt to get everything done, many people sacrifice their personal lives, spending less time with their families and friends, not getting enough rest, and eventually suffering from stress and burnout.
While occasional stress can boost concentration and improve our performance in the short-term, chronic stress actually damages productivity. Therefore, if you prioritize work over rest and your emotional well-being, such a lifestyle will negatively affect both your mental health and work.
Stress, in general, and work-related stress, in particular, can lead to many health problems, including heart diseases, weight gain, and high blood pressure. Chronic stress can also contribute to the development of various mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.
As a result, many people who seek affordable online counseling to cope with their mental health issues talk about their problems at work and are looking for ways to make their lives more balanced. The truth is that you can juggle mental health and work, even though it’s not an easy thing to do.
Let’s consider the health-career connection in more detail and take a look at the way your professional life can affect your emotional well-being.
The Impact of Increased Workload on Mental Health
Given that workload is one of the main factors that cause stress, it’s important to keep in mind the possible risks when planning your work and taking on new responsibilities. Many of us want to do the best job we can, but few people recognize signs of burnout at work before it’s too late, and many of us get so used to stress that it gets easy to forget how dangerous chronic stress can be.
Mental health in the workplace becomes a more and more important subject for both employees and employers. Many companies put a lot of effort into creating a flexible work environment and offer different schedule options so that their employees can balance work and personal life.
The reason is that employee mental health directly impacts performance, so enabling employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance is in businesses’ best interests. Therefore, if you realize that your workload or schedule starts to negatively affect your emotional well-being, don’t hesitate to talk to your boss about your mental health.
No matter what policy your company or organization has, the problem boils down to choices. Even if your current job doesn’t allow you to maintain a healthy work-life balance, it’s you who can choose to stay on this job or look for other options.
The truth is that you don’t need to choose between mental health and career, you should just make sure that you have enough time for your personal life and practice self-care. Here are some of the key reasons why you should prioritize your mental health.
When you work too much, your body doesn’t have enough time to recover from stress. So-called stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, can have many negative effects, including headaches, chest pain, stomach problems, decreased immunity and libido, etc.
Stress negatively impacts not only physical but also mental health, being an important risk factor when it comes to various disorders, including depression and anxiety. If you cannot handle your massive workload, your memory and ability to focus may also decline dramatically.
Besides, when people forget about the importance of mental health at work, they often don’t have enough time for self-care, skip the gym, and eat fast food. Obviously, all of these factors negatively affect both their physical and emotional health.
All kinds of relationships require commitment, and if you don’t have enough time for your loved ones, friends, and relatives, you may notice how your workload impacts your relationships with them.
Work may also impact your relationships indirectly. Quite often, busy people don’t stop to think about their work even at home. As a result, their loved ones don’t get enough attention. Such an attitude can also lead to anxiety and negatively affect your concentration because you will get tired without being able to take a break and refocus.
No matter how productive and experienced you are, there will always be a limit to what you can do within a certain period of time. The modern workplace, however, is very competitive, and if you’re focused on career growth, declining another task delegated to you may not look like an option.
At the same time, if you get used to pushing your limits, you may quickly get exhausted so your productivity will eventually decline. As a result, it may get difficult for you to deal even with your regular workload.
How to Balance Your Mental Health and Career
Set achievable goals
There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, but you should be realistic about your capabilities. Realistic goals will enable you to stay in control, and control theory suggests that the ability to control stressors can minimize the negative impact of stress.
Plan your work and use to-do lists to always keep up with your workload. Make sure to sort your tasks by priority so that you can dedicate more time to the most important tasks or postpone less important ones, if necessary.
If you realize that your workload is too difficult to handle, be open about it with your boss and colleagues. The chances are that you’re not alone and other people from your company may have the same issues.
The key to effective communication is to not just complain but also suggest possible solutions and alternatives. Considering the situation from another viewpoint will help you distance yourself from it and reduce stress.
Conversations with managers about workload may get tense so make sure to stay calm. Listen to other opinions, and if you feel that you’re starting to lose control, take some time to calm down. Don’t let emotions prevent you from finding solutions.
Regular exercise can be beneficial for both your mental health and work. First of all, physical activity can help you manage stress. Secondly, a workout session after work allows you to refocus and take a break from your work-related worries. Besides, regular exercise is beneficial for your physical health, including your heart and immune system.
Create a comfortable environment
Put some plants on your desk, bring little things that make you feel good, or listen to your favorite music. Headphones can help you avoid office distractions and stay more focused, reducing stress so that you can enjoy the time you spend at work.
Ask for flexibility
As we’ve already mentioned above, more and more companies are starting to realize that employee mental health is beneficial for productivity so they implement work-life policies that can help employees balance their work and personal lives.
If you talk to your boss, you might be able to work flexible hours or even work from home on certain days. Sometimes, even small changes in schedule go a long way in helping employees avoid burnout and stress.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
When people have problems with physical health, they visit doctors. If you experience chronic stress, anxiety, burnout, or depression, the best solution is also to talk to a professional.
A licensed therapist can help you figure out what thoughts negatively affect your emotional well-being and learn to challenge these thoughts. If your work affects your relationships, therapy can also help you understand what exactly causes such problems and find solutions.
Unfortunately, many people don’t have enough time for in-person therapy, which requires you to commute to a therapist’s office. If you’re too busy, there is a great solution.
Online therapy platforms like Calmerry enable you to get the necessary help from virtually anywhere. You can schedule a video call with your therapist or simply send a message. Learn more about the benefits of therapy to prepare for your first session.
Mental health and career are closely connected because your work can impact your emotional well-being and vice versa. If you set ambitious goals and take on too many responsibilities, it can be easy to forget about the importance of a healthy work-life balance.
Tight schedules and massive workloads often lead to stress and various mental health problems. If you want to figure out how to improve motivation, avoid burnout, and minimize stress, the key to success is realistic planning, as well as effective communication. Don’t be afraid to discuss your workload with your boss, and don’t forget about the importance of self-care.
If you’re feeling exhausted because of work or realize that your work negatively affects your relationships, a great solution is to talk to a therapist. There’s no need to choose between career and mental health because you can take care of both — the main thing is to set clear priorities.
How to Juggle Mental Health and Career
How to Juggle Mental Health and Career
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