Job affecting your mental or physical health? It might be time to move on
When your job begins to impact your mental or physical health it could be a sign that it’s time to reassess your career. Some people report feeling physically sick at the thought of going to work, feeling unwell the whole time they are at work, or suffering from a range of other symptoms of stress, depression or anxiety.
A telltale sign that your job is the cause of your stress, depression or anxiety is when those feelings diminish or disappear once you are away from your work environment. Whatever the cause for your decline in physical or mental health, it’s something you shouldn’t ignore. The first step should always be to contact your GP.
Once you have the all-clear from your GP, it’s worth taking a look at the reasons behind your feelings. It’s important to understand the cause so that you can take the necessary action. There is any number of factors that could contribute to a decline in physical or mental health at work including:
Long hours, excessive workload, unrealistic targets, bullying, volatile work relationships, irate customers, unachievable objectives, lack of knowledge or skills needed to complete work tasks and insufficient or no supervision. The World Health Organisation describes stress in the workplace as:
What is work-related stress?
- Work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.
- Stress occurs in a wide range of work circumstances but is often made worse when employees feel they have little support from supervisors and colleagues, as well as little control over work processes.
Poor air quality, bad ergonomics, insufficient lighting, temperature intolerance (too hot or too cold), noise/sound pollution, and radiation pollution are common culprits of bad work environments.
It’s important to take the time to fully understand the cause of your declining physical or mental health at work. You need to pinpoint whether it’s the work environment, the job itself or other factors.
Jenny* came to me with a desire to find a new career that would be less stressful than her current job that she had been in for the past eight years. After some intense career counselling sessions, we made some interesting discoveries.
Prior to the company merger the year before, Jenny had been very happy in her job and had received numerous accolades. She had even won three awards, and two promotions and had plans to advance even further in her career before the merger took place.
Although we did explore other career options, time and time again through the work we did together, everything kept pointing back to the job she was already doing. Jenny came to realise that she did still love her current career and became less committed to moving on to something else.
It turned out that Jenny’s new boss and a number of newly arrived co-workers were the reason behind her feeling miserable at work. Jenny decided it was a new job she needed not a whole new career. Once we identified the key ingredients needed in her next job, Jenny managed to find her ideal role where she gained a renewed sense of vigour for her career and life.
Have you or someone you know experienced poor physical or mental health as a result of work? Feel free to comment below.
*Not her real name, case study has been used with permission.