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The root causes of major work related mental health problems

By Angela Knox | Sep 28, 2020

Although a shift to a remote working culture seems now inevitable in the long term, the fact remains that the physical workplace remains a cornerstone of many companies.

We spend most of our waking hours at work, collaborating with co-workers (now remotely) and socialising over zoom.

Occasionally, certain mental health problems can emerge from the workplace. This can be a result of a variety of issues, some mental and some environmental.

Some workplaces have sought to address this by improving their corporate wellness offerings or adding measures to help staff when sick.

Now that the tide is turning decisively towards working from home, these measures need to reflect the growing challenges that some not so seasoned home based workers are experiencing.

The importance of mental health

Mental health is certainly not a subject to overlook.

In 2016, almost 1 in 5 US adults over the age of 18 reported some degree of mental health-related problem*.

In terms of the workplace, this could stem from a variety of things, including working overtime, managerial stress, general job strain, feelings of being unappreciated, bullying from a boss or co-workers, or job insecurity and worries of redundancy. All of these triggers might lead to a general sense of anxiety.

As for the root causes of these triggers: in general, a workplace serves as a second home. And now that the workplace for many is actually home, these triggers can be even more active.

Feelings of inadequacy or stress within one's own home can be amplified by the fact that the environment is, essentially, inescapable. 

Similar to a school environment, the office or home office is a required part of most people's daily lives. Being forced to interact with a negative environment for nine hours every day can be taxing, especially when done over a long period of time.

Work related stress 

Workplace stressors can also touch upon feelings of powerlessness or helplessness. And that's true whether you are working in a physical office or at home.

If a boss is displaying the characteristics of a bully or if the threat of redundancies is looming, one will likely feel an overall loss of control. And indeed, much of what happens at work is out of your control. Even CEOs answer to shareholders and the market.

Part of coping with this lack of power may involve changing your mentality and shifting towards a more mindful existence. Considering that 54% of UK workers suffer from stress in the workplace**, this might be a worthwhile approach for employers to begin adopting, as well.

It is also important to acknowledge the pervasive nature of stress. It can lead to insomnia, exhaustion, indigestion, headaches, social anxiety, apathy and even an over-reliance on alcohol or drugs.

Stress, in short, can impact every facet of your life. If the stress emerges from the workplace, whether that's the office or when you're working from home, it is vital to address that stress at the scene of the crime: within your own mind.

Remember to be mindful

Building supportive relationships, having a clean diet, getting regular exercise, and prioritising adequate amounts of sleep can all contribute to leading a lifestyle deeply entrenched in mindfulness.

Mindfulness practice and meditation can lead to significantly lower levels of stress, fewer negative feelings, reduced likelihood of depression and even lower blood pressure or a reduction in chronic pain.

It is a testament to the strength of the human brain that a shift in mindset can lead to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

We have provided a set of powerful tools within our employee wellbeing programme that are designed to address workplace and working from home issues including mental health, and with 7 different modules covering a variety of subjects and a complete self-help mindfulness course, you can be sure to find workable solutions for every employee need.

 

 

Sources:

*https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/tools-resources/workplace-health/mental-health/index.html

**https://employeebenefits.co.uk/half-uk-employees-stress-work/

Angela Knox

Angela Knox

I am a co-founder and director of Keep Fit Eat Fit Wellbeing Ltd and have come from a business and marketing background over many years, with a particular interest in everything to do with health, fitness and overall wellbeing. Having worked in offices for decades, I know the pitfalls of too much sitting at a desk, the challenges of fitting the gym around other commitments, and all the issues addressed within our website. The personal experiences of me and my partner Mark were the original inspiration for the concept of this website. Enjoy!