I never realized just how much influence our jobs have on our mental health. I mean, sure, we can get stressed at work, occasionally have to deal with toxic people, clean up mistakes, things like that. It’s a job and it comes with the territory.
I recently read this article that explains how a toxic workplace can increase an employee’s risk of depression by 300%. Wow.
I’ve been working in office environments for nearly thirty years and I’ve had my fair share of toxic workplaces. Not all of them started out that way. Some jobs were great for a while, but then a change in ownership or turnover in management changed everything from the top down. Then there were a couple of places that convinced me things were great, but once I started I realized my mistake and got out. Quick. Looking back, there were warning signs, but I was too trusting.
The thing is, you may not necessarily realize how your job is affecting your state of mind. It can be subtle, insidious. Maybe you have a passive-aggressive boss, or a co-worker who steadily undermines you. Or maybe it’s a slowly increasing workload being dumped on you.
Eventually, you find yourself struggling both on and off the clock. Not only will it affect your performance at the office, but it will also affect your relationships and your physical health. High blood pressure, migraines, stomach problems. It all ties together.
The two things that helped me in these situations were writing in my journal and meditating. Journaling allowed me to vent and get those toxic thoughts out of my head. Meditating helped me to calm down, relax, lower my blood pressure and heart rate.
There are tons of online resources for meditating. Or if you prefer, you can also find apps that offer guided meditations. Personally, I like using the Headspace app. Look around and try a few different options to see what works best for you. All you need is ten minutes and a bit of quiet to get started.
But those are only temporary measures. The only real solution is to find another job, something that’s better suited for you. Will it be easy? Maybe, maybe not. But what I’ve found is that sometimes you have to take a step or two backwards in order to move forward. I’ve done it before and I’m doing it again now.
I’m starting a new job this week. A fully-remote writing job with a company that went virtual last year. They don’t have an office and every employee works from home. It’s much different from what I’ve been doing the past eight years, but I’m glad to be getting back to writing. All the people I’ve met at my new employer have been wonderful and I’m excited to be starting something new, a new path, a new adventure. And I did it for me and my well being.
No job is going to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for one that makes you unhappy. It’s not good for you. Look around, take a chance, and maybe you’ll find something that will make you feel good again.
You deserve it.