Going back to work after a summer break can be hard. In theory, we’re all returning refreshed and recharged but what if your job is making you miserable or is really stressful? Then returning to work is not fun.
Being happy in your job is a big contributor to maintaining mental health. It’s long been recognised that employment is a critically important contributor to recovery from mental illness. Which means if you’ve suffered from a mental illness or a mental health issue then working in a job that provides stability and connections with other people can benefit your recovery. Conversely, working in a job that makes you stressed or unhappy can trigger ill mental health.
Issues that can create stress at work, among others, include:
- harassment – bullying, violence, sexual, racial, disability, or being different
- high expectations of long hours
- too much or too little work
- lack of recognition, or positive feedback
- uncertainty about what is expected or required of you
- uncertainty about the future of your immediate team or the organisation
- accident hazards and dangers
- poor management styles
Sometimes when we’re struggling it’s hard to get a clear view of how we’re feeling. If you think some of these might apply to you but you’re not sure, try this well-being checklist to clarify your feelings. Then, if you think your workplace is affecting your mental health in a bad way, the first step is to ask for support and help. Start by looking at what resources are available to you from your organisation.
- Is there an EAP – Employee Assistance program - in place?
- Do you have any sick leave?
- Who can you talk to, either at work or at home?
If you can talk to your manager, approach them about what you need. Don’t be afraid to take a support person with you. If your manager is one of the problems or even the cause, find someone else in your organisation such as a peer or another manager.
Of course, you might want to also consider that it could be time to look for a job elsewhere. February is a great time to start applying for jobs. Employers are returning refreshed from summer breaks, those with a financial year that aligns with the calendar will have fresh budgets to spend, and projects that stalled before Christmas may be given new priorities.
You may decide that while you’re not unwell, you’re just ‘in the wrong job’ and that it’s time to reconsider how you spend your time. We came across conscioused.org which has some great blogs on finding your purpose and happiness. Feeling content and happy shouldn’t be difficult, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if we have what others have we will be happier. Or, if we had the perfect job, or had had the perfect summer holiday, life would be better. It’s never the wrong time to make positive changes in your life and to think about what makes you happy and healthy both at work and outside of work.
At Pinnacle Life we take mental health seriously. One in six NZers will suffer from a mental health disorder in their lifetime. What’s more, mental illness sufferers have significantly worse physical health than the rest of the population*. When you apply for life insurance, it is standard to be asked questions about your health and lifestyle, including any history of mental illness, depression or suicidal thoughts. You should know that just because you may have had some challenges in the past, it doesn’t mean you can’t get life cover today, although there may be loadings (higher premiums) for your life cover and we may not be able to offer you Income Protection.
Make 2019 a good one and keep yourself safe and happy, especially when you’re at work.
The great thing about Pinnacle Life is that you can confidentially answer the health and lifestyle questions to see if you qualify automatically for cover before you give us any personal information.