Our workplace is like our second home. In fact, many workers spend most of their waking hours at the office with colleagues than at home with family. Work is good for our health, in general; what’s not good is a toxic working environment which can lead to several cases of physical and mental health problems.
Many don’t realize this but our working environment plays a significant role in the state of our mental health. According to a report, mood disorders and suicide in the workplace is becoming prevalent nowadays with the negative work environment as the main culprit. While many employers are taking steps to address the health of their workers, such as providing medical physicals for work, there is still a worsening mental health crisis in many workplaces. The correlation between mental health and workplace toxicity in undeniably important and it is best to examine its effects and figure out possible ways to manage and combat them early on.
Contributory Factor: Workplace Incivility
If you wake up hating to go to work every morning, or if you always thought of quitting your job, chances are you are you’re stuck in an unhealthy working environment that causes unhappiness and displeasure in your life. Many of us have a fair share of this kind of experience where we tend to stay in our job because we have to make money or probably because the job has already been our comfort zone for a certain number of years.
One of the possible reasons why you’re feeling this dread towards work is due to incivility in the workplace. Workplace incivility refers to the accretion of disrespectful habits that encompasses bad manners and etiquette which disturb the preservation of the norms at work for mutual respect.
Workplace incivility has increased at a relatively rapid rate since 1998, which reveals that many employees are being subjected to despotic behaviour every year, leaving workers feeling unappreciated – undermined by co-workers, intentionally ignored or publicly demeaned by an insensitive superior.
This form of work dynamic not only creates a strained social relation and impact on productivity and commitment to the organization but most importantly, has adverse effects on the employee’s overall physical and mental health.
Effects of a Toxic Work Environment
Harsh working conditions usually lead to depression, fatigue, sleep deprivation and unhealthy eating habits that mainly damage our body. You may be receiving a 6-digit salary but that won’t make any sense if your mental and physical health is on the line due to a taxing job.
In ascertaining the impacts of workplace incivility on the mental and physical health of an employee, one may find rumination as the determining mechanism. According to Nolen-Hoeksema, rumination refers to the tendency to replay or repetitively think about the situational factors, causes and consequences of one’s negative emotional experience.
Dysfunctional working conditions trigger people to mentally replay a disturbing work-related event even after the work shift has ended. In a strict sense, rumination is a problem-solving technique. However, this technique may translate to a problem itself when one habitually spend hours scrutinizing the situation, even after they’ve devised a plan for dealing with the situation. Sometimes, affected employees ruminate about the predicament so much, ending up with no clear solution to the problem.
Research is fairly consistent with this matter: people who habitually ruminate are more inclined to develop mental health problems like anxiety and depression. These mental health conditions are hard to combat when the affected person fails to see the dilemma with his/her ruminative thought process or even though he/she may have seen the problem but fails to overcome this thinking process.
Ways To Manage Mental Health in the Workplace
- Seek Professional Help
Start by seeking professional help. When you have depression or anxiety, it is best to get all the help you need to recover from a very traumatic experience. In order to get the proper recovery guidance, start by talking to a therapist that knows how to help you deal with your current condition. Additionally, if your depression or anxiety has resulted in you being unable to work, you might want to find a long-term disability insurance policy that works for you whilst you’re on the road to recovery. This can provide peace-of-mind that you will still have an income whilst you’re off work, removing unnecessary stress that may otherwise contribute further to your poor mental health.
It is imperative to have yourself check if you know that you are suffering from a mental condition in order to prevent any further deterioration of your mental health. Remember that self-care is important to regain our true self that has been lost due to some agonizing experience that happened beyond our control.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a loved one, friend or your most trusted co-worker to assist you in finding the right professional assistance for your depression or anxiety. A lot of mental health professionals, such as Brain Wellness Spa, specialise in highly effective mental health treatment and has significantly improved the lives of thousands of people.
If you have been struggling, and the feelings of helplessness, worthlessness and hopelessness do not stop, immediately ask for professional help and support.
- Discuss the Issue
Many employees suffering from depression and anxiety due to a toxic working environment tend to wallow in their own pain without addressing the situation with the proper management or their direct superiors. Some of the main reasons for these is that there still a stigma around mental health or the fear that they may be perceived as incapable of getting their job done.
But when you’re mental health conditions has started interfering with your productivity and motivation towards your work, it is best both for your mental health and for the organization you’re affiliated with to disclose this matter with your direct supervisor or your human resources personnel.
This will give them the responsibility and accountability to take the necessary actions to combat any hostile behaviour going around in your company, and it will raise mental health awareness in your organization and properly acknowledge the issue and settle it with an amicable resolution.
For instance, you may address the disturbing behaviour you’re being subjected to. You may suggest a proper avenue for criticisms – in such a way that you won’t get belittled and humiliated in front of your colleagues. If you’re really struggling with your mental condition, it is best to ask for some time off so you can focus on regaining your mental state back.
- Practice Psychological Detachment
Many studies have shown that people who distanced themselves from work during off-hours are more contented with their lives and encounter fewer symptoms of psychological strain, without being less occupied while at work. It also mitigates the worker’s response to stressful work situations. Reports likewise provide that workers who practice psychological detachment manage to perform well and show proactive behaviours at work.
Finding an activity you enjoy and making time to do them is the key to disconnect our minds from work. These may include exercising or planning future events such as outings or vacations with your loved ones and friends. Do your best to maintain balance in your life by focusing on what’s in front of you at the moment. For instance, if you’re at the office, give your attention to your job and make sure that you do it properly and if you’re at home, focus on your loved ones and get involved with the moment.
Jobs often promises security, professional growth and some sense of purpose. However, this is not always the case for everyone as some may get involved in a team of aggressive colleagues and a horrible boss. This only proves that a toxic work environment may break a person’s mental health.
If you find yourself battling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, do not hesitate to take the necessary precautions and ask for professional help. These mental conditions may pose as a challenge to overcome but nothing cannot be trampled by a strong support system both at home and at work!