Make your mental health at work a priority
Mental wellness in the workplace is as (or more) important than pay. Nowadays it’s common to find on the social network LinkedIn many posts that talk about prevailing peace of mind in the workplace over the pay you might receive. “Don’t let earning a living keep you from having a life”, “I’d rather not have a job than be in one that wears down my mental health”, “it’s no use investing in yoga and mindfulness classes to solve anxiety and stress problems if you still haven’t learned to listen to your workers” are just a few phrases we can find in the network.
Now employees have learned or are in the process of balancing their mental health by reducing certain factors that affect well-being in their workplaces and letting their employers know about it.
Deteriorating mental health is a silent enemy that is on the rise and is a reality, especially when a person has an excessive workload. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that stress and depression were one of the main risks for people related to the world of work.
This statement is evidenced by phenomena such as the Great Resignation that presented its greatest boom and took much relevance in the United States and now the silent resignation.
Almost three years after the pandemic, people have changed profoundly, most of us have different expectations about remote vs. face-to-face work, about work-life balance, and employers have had to face and respond empathetically and flexibly to new challenges.
Illnesses such as depression, stress, and anxiety in the workplace are often the result of the new work dynamics, the self-demanding nature of remote work, of bad bosses who still do not adapt and put pressure sometimes from a distance and after hours, because of the workload or the precariousness of conditions in the offices.
In a study conducted by McKinsey Returning to work: Keys to a psychologically safer workplace 36% of employees who returned to their jobs on-site reported negative effects.
Most employers cannot ignore employee mental health and must have options and solutions to help workers meet this new challenge with tactics to support psychological safety and create strong environments.
To do this, there are three fronts to consider:
Share mental health challenges and adopt initiatives:
The work culture of companies must be modified and positively shaped with robust and friendly programs that allow employees to be open to conversations that allow them to vent and share their mental struggles.
Create a psychologically safe workplace:
A psychologically safe place is one designed to support the mental and emotional health of its employees, i.e., ensuring that employees have manageable workloads, autonomy for decision-making, and work context with equity and fairness.
According to Harvard professor Dr. Amy Edmondson, safe environments also promote improvements in the quality, behavior, and productivity of work environments.
Don’t forget anyone
Strategies should include and apply to all groups and minorities in the organization, be it ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation.
Employees are the ones who are shaping the return-to-work culture and leaders will be the ones to provide resources and raise awareness.
How do I know if I am depressed or burned out?
Therapists generally associate burnout with work, although there is also parental burnout – especially post-pandemic – where parents and caregivers feel chronically exhausted. There is currently much talk about silent resignation, which is not a definitive resignation, but a progressive one in which the worker makes a minimal effort at work because of feeling exhausted by long hours and a punishing hustle culture.
Workers may feel burned out when they lose control over their daily lives and begin to suffer from physical symptoms such as insomnia, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems.
The World Health Organization includes burnout in the international classification of diseases and classifies it as a phenomenon associated with occupational health, not as a medical condition like depression.
A depressed person loses all interest in previously enjoyable things. Contrary to a person with burnout who just does not have the energy to perform any activity.
As with burnout, people with depression may sleep too much or too little and may have difficulty concentrating. People with depression may isolate themselves from others; they may feel that it takes too much energy to shower or eat. Depression can induce an overwhelming sense of sadness and hopelessness. In severe cases, people with depression may begin to think that they are worthless or that life is not worth living.
Burnout gets better when you get away from work when you can unwind with a vacation or take a mental health day. Depression needs more than that, it requires a change in circumstances. Although depression is often linked to a traumatic event, burnout can also be a risk factor that can lead to depression.
What to do if you think you are burned out
It is always good to take a break. Sometimes we believe that more hours in front of the computer is synonymous with working hard and being very accomplished and it is not so, the reality is that productivity should be measured by objectives, not by hours sitting. Feeling burnout is normal, but it is also normal to rest when we are overwhelmed.
We must be able to be in control, know how to stop, when necessary, stop notifications when we have finished working, know how to delegate as soon as possible, dedicate a few minutes to relax, disconnect from screens and do a little exercise a day.
What to do if you think you are depressed
Depression being a clinical condition requires to be attended to by a professional who can help you to treat and address the symptoms in the right way, but the person must also be willing to receive that support. Sometimes forcing oneself to do five minutes of walking or any other activity helps to mitigate the symptoms and feel a little better.