From the moment we enter grade school in the United States, we are taught about the path in life we are supposed to take: Go to school, get good grades, attend a prestigious university, then obtain a job that is reputable – possibly pursue a career as a lawyer or a doctor. This is the mentality that many Americans today were raised to believe. But what if that path is not right for you, and more importantly, what if that final career choice is not good for your mental health – should you stay?
According to a recent article posted on Talkspace, an online therapy platform that provides alternative avenues to mental health services, it is important to walk away from a job “if the goals you once valued are no longer compatible with your individual and social thriving.” Simply put – do not stay at a job that is negatively impacting your health. To better understand why you should walk away you should first understand how work can impact your mental health.
Overworking is the leading cause of burnout and stress in the workplace. Many Americans are being forced to work extended hours because their wages are no longer matching the cost of living. They are giving up sleep to achieve bigger goals. They are even maintaining a position at a difficult workplace as a means of survival – or, they are fearful of the change.
Overworking can be found in many different industries. Most people identify overworking with those individuals who are working two jobs, splitting their time between a full-time position and a side hustle (or two!). However, overworking is found in many other professions as well, including medical professionals such as nurses, mental health professionals such as social workers, and entry-level interns working in large Fortune 500 corporations. No matter the career you are in, the impact of overworking is the same.
A Job You Hate…
Poor mental health associated with work is not limited to overworking – working in a job that does not satisfy your needs can also have a negative impact on one’s mental health. Business News Daily reported that those who stayed at a job they hated had increased susceptibility to exhaustion, stress, and burnout. Essentially, if you wake up each day unexcited about the day ahead –dreading the time you must spend at work, your body has a physical reaction. In addition to things like hypertension and digestive issues, you can become overly critical and adopt a persistent negative attitude.
The Impact at Work
Before we delve into how staying at a job that no longer fits your needs impacts your mental health, let’s look at how it impacts your performance at work. It should not be much of a surprise, but lack of motivation to engage at work and exhaustion leads to poor work performance.
The Impact on Your Mental Health…
These situations are commonly reported by workers in America and may seem necessary to survive in the changing economy. However, the impact that overworking is having on our society is detrimental. According to Talkspace, “people who work longer hours are at higher risk for anxiety and depression. They also get less sleep, which in turn leads to negative physical and mental health effects ranging from high blood pressure to a weakened immune system. Beyond the time [they spend] working, job satisfaction is correlated to mental and physical health. People who are less satisfied with their jobs experience worse health outcomes.” Additionally, individuals who are overworked may experience memory issues, trouble with thinking and concentration, mood changes, accidents, a risk for diabetes, weight gain, low sex drive, risk of heart disease, and poor balance.
It is evident that staying in a work environment that is negatively impacting your mental health can have long term consequences. Unfortunately, taking the step to leave the job is not so simple. Beyond the health concerns, leaving a job can also be difficult due to your financial situation or insurance benefits – not everyone can up and leave their job and still support their family. This is where the real dilemma presents itself.
Additionally, it is challenging to determine if you are overworked or just need a vacation. Thankfully, with newly developing methods of therapy, determining if leaving your job is the best option for you does not have to be a decision you make on your own. In fact, stress from work and career changes are two common reasons that people today seek assistance from mental health professionals. However, traditional therapy is not the only nor may it be the best-suited option – it takes extra time and can be quite expensive. Online therapy is a new avenue for individuals who are suffering from work exhaustion to seek assistance to determine if it is time for them to make a change.
Online therapy platforms, such as Talkspace, provide individuals the opportunity to get the mental health help they need when they need it, and at a price they can afford. Online therapy provides an opportunity for individuals to communicate with therapists in unconventional ways – via text, audio, and video chatting. If you are uncertain if your job is negatively impacting your long-term mental health, contact a professional today to get started on your new path to happiness.
If you would like to try the app for yourself, find Talkspace in the iTunes App Store.