Common Ways Work Contributes to Mental Health Problems

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:


Many members of the workforce simply regard their jobs as a means to an end. Although they have little to no passion for what they do, they require income to enjoy even the most basic quality of life. Unsurprisingly, spending the bulk of one’s days at a job they don’t particularly enjoy can be highly conducive to mental health problems. Not only can working exacerbate existing mental health issues, it can also give rise to new ones. Anyone curious about the specific ways in which work can contribute to troubled mental health should consider the following consequences of job stress. 

Heightened Stress Levels 

When people consistently have lofty expectations thrust upon them, heightened stress levels are likely to result. So, if you’re regularly given more work than you can reasonably handle, there’s a good chance your stress levels have been impacted. Overwork is so prevalent in the U.S. that many members of the workforce can never stay on top of their massive workloads. No matter how much unpaid overtime you put in or how far ahead you work, getting a handle on a seemingly endless workload is virtually impossible. 

If this describes your situation at work, make an effort to set boundaries with your bosses and coworkers. Let them know you’re being overworked and clearly identify what your ideal workload looks like. If you’ve never spoken up about overwork in the past, there’s a good chance the people you work with are unaware that you’re overtaxing yourself.  

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Lack of Personal Time 

Most people’s primary motivation in working is maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. However, many workers have little to no time in which to enjoy this lifestyle as a result of rampant overwork. Having ample time to oneself is conducive to sound mental health for a number of reasons. First off, free time provides you with an opportunity to de-stress and recharge your batteries. After all, if you’re always working, when are you supposed to replenish your energy reserves? Secondly, free time is when you’re supposed to enjoy hobbies and other leisurely pursuits that bring you personal fulfillment. 

Taking back your personal time may require you to speak up for yourself. For example, if you’re consistently asked to work against deadlines that can’t reasonably be met within normal work hours, let the relevant parties know that this arrangement is no longer feasible. If completing workloads on schedule regularly requires you to put in unpaid overtime, your bosses need to ensure that you’re duly compensated for your troubles or amend their expectations accordingly.     

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Diminished Self-Worth 

It isn’t hard to see why so many victims of overwork suffer from diminished self-worth. Many employers treat workers like expendable drones and refuse to regard them as human beings with actual lives. Even if the people you work under aren’t outright abusive, they may show a general lack of consideration for your needs and general well-being. For instance, if you’re frequently assigned unreasonably difficult tasks, this may be a sign that your employer doesn’t care about the strain that their impossible expectations are placing on you. When people are habitually treated like mere tools, they often come to regard themselves as such. 

Of course, this isn’t to say that heavy expectations are the only cause of diminished self-worth. For instance, you may be working under a boss who actively berates you or minimizes your contributions. Other forms of workplace harassment – most notably sexual harassment – can leave victims feeling utterly alone and worthless.  

If your work experience has caused your self-worth to take a tumble, don’t hesitate to seek out the proper mental health assistance. Even if your schedule doesn’t allow room for traditional in-person therapy, you can find a bevy of convenient remote options. Garden State residents in the market for mental health assistance should explore their options for online therapy in New Jersey

To call the modern-day work experience stressful would be an understatement. Given the exploitative work conditions that our culture has normalized, there’s little wonder as to why job-related stress is at the forefront of so many mental health issues. In addition to making existing psychological afflictions worse, workplace stressors can facilitate the emergence of new mental health problems. In order to effectively combat work-related stress, we must first understand the effects it can have on people. So, if you’re experiencing any of the problems discussed above, there’s a good chance work played an outsized role in creating them.