3 REASONS YOUR CAREER IMPACTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND WHAT YOU SHOULD DO ABOUT IT

The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over the span of their lifetime

Or

23.3% of your total time during the course of a 50 year working-life period

21% of your total waking hours over a 76 year lifespan, assuming 8 hours of sleep a night.

35% of your total waking hours over a 50 year working-life period assuming 8 hours of sleep a night

50% of your total waking hours during any given working day - (Revisociology)

 

With that much time in a work environment, we can start to understand why depression and many other mental health issues can arise.  
 

Here are 5 reasons your career impacts your mental health and some practical actionable ways you can do something about it.

 

Reason #1: Stress, anxiety and having too much on your plate will cause you to be unproductive, unhappy and potentially even lead to burnout.  When you have too much on your mind it can also mean sleepless nights or limited time with friends and family to nourish your soul.

 

What you need to do about it: Take multiple 5 minute breaks in the day to take deep breaths, or have short meditation moments.  You can use an app like Calm or Headspace.  Taking theses essential time-outs will help clear your mind and lower your stress levels over time.  If work is always pushing you to work overtime and constantly stressing you out, then we suggest you assess whether or not this job is where you want to be.

 

Reason #3: The company you’re in has a toxic environment and culture.

If any of the below is happening in your office environment we would highly suggest you review why you are in that company or position.  Any of the below can lead you to experience depression, anxiety, fear, additions, unhappiness and many other issues.

 

  • Micromanaging
  • Destructive gossip
  • Sabotaging of others success
  • Harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Bullying
     

What you need to do about it:  Talk to someone senior in your company and/ or your head of HR.  Let them know what is going on, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. If you really don't feel you can talk someone in the company we suggest you go and reach out to a counsellor outside of the company.

 

Reason #3:  Your office space is the problem
 

Your general office environment, space, look and feel can have a major impact on your mental health.

Depending on what type of a person you are, you could actually be more affected than others when it comes to your spatial surroundings. For example if you don’t have natural lighting or you have a lot of noise around the office, or your cubicle is stuffy and claustrophobic.  Your spatial surroundings can really impact your productivity levels but also your mental health.
 

What you need to do about it:  Pay attention to how you feel when you are in the office and reflect to see if it is the space that might be bothering your headspace.  If it is here are a few tips:

  • Remove clutter from around or near you,

  • Look at ways of creating a more inviting space in your particular desk area.  

  • Add colour around you

  • Add photos of people or things that make your day brighter



Our environment and lifestyle impacts our mental health and if our main environment is the ‘office’ then we better be damn sure it’s the right type of environment or you might want to consider a move or starting a worplace wellness initiative.

Take a look at some other interesting statistics around workplace wellness or lack thereof.... may just make you take that big career move  and finally leap into an organisation that fosters a healthy and happy culture.  Life's too short to be stuck in the wrong job or company.

  • 52% of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy.

  • untreated mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces approximately $10.9 billion per year. This comprises $4.7 billion in absenteeism, $6.1 billion in presenteeism1 and $146 million in compensation claims2 .

  • One in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy.

  • 1 million employees miss work each day due to workplace stress (American Institute of Stress) 

  • Depression results in more days of disability than chronic health conditions such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes (National Committee for Quality Assurance) 

  • 52% of employees believe their company does not do enough to promote employee mental health (Randstad)