GUEST BLOG: The Mental Toll of Overworking (And What To Do About It)

By Xane Richards |

January 27, 2020

It is easy to dismiss work stress as a normal part of the job, and to some extent, it is. But compounded and chronic exhaustion may be your body’s way of telling you to hit pause. Often, we find ourselves letting our work control us, instead of the other way around. As it becomes more and more of a routine, we may not see that we are no longer performing to the best of our abilities until the results of our labour speak for themselves. Ignoring your body’s cries for help can lead to burnout––and this takes a toll on you both physically and mentally. When left untreated, stress can open the door for a number of health problems: poor digestion, heart disease, heightened chances of strokes, and the list goes on.
The effects that overworking has on mental health are more insidious. It can trigger anxiety and depression as well. Overworking can even be counterproductive––those who suffer from burnout are unable to be their best selves. The theme of last year’s Event Wellbeing Week was #itsoknottobeok which encouraged companies to develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress and take care of themselves. We’ve developed a few more tips to help workers avoid burnout.

Work remotely

A poll conducted by Gallup in 2017 found that 43% of Americans currently employed have spent some time working remotely, thanks to the number of communication and productivity tools that now exist to make it happen. Having the option to work where you are comfortable, with environments that keep you inspired may renew focus and purpose. Being confined in office spaces can cause cabin fever, which minimises the ability to function and perform. They’ll have more time to attend to their families, health concerns, hobbies, and the like, which will actually make them happier overall.

Distribute work, and outsource if necessary

Modern technology has cultivated a fast-paced world where it seems everyone is expected to multitask and wear more than one hat at a time. While some employees think that versatility is key to climbing up the corporate ladder, it may actually negatively impact your performance. Ayima Kickstart outlines the importance of hiring specialists for roles that nobody in your team is equipped for, as this will improve efficiency and allow other employees to focus on work they’re actually capable of doing, likewise increasing productivity.

Find an outlet

Burnout can pave the way for unhealthy coping mechanisms and habits like drinking, smoking, and binge eating, further exacerbating health concerns that already come with stress. Wellness coach Elizabeth Scott says that finding a stress reliever outside of work could mean an outlet that helps you feel better mentally and physically. This could be in the form of meditation, exercise, or hobbies that make you feel most like yourself external to what your job entails.

Learn how to say no

Sometimes an employee agrees to tasks and responsibilities so often that they become a “yes man.” “No” may not even be in the vocabulary of workers who are so used to agreeing to commitments. However, you should not be afraid to take a step back and say no to things that will not contribute to your personal goals and are beyond your job responsibilities. An article from Business Insider recommends that employees should not be obliged or feel the need to respond to messages after work hours unless it is an urgent concern. Clocking out of work should mean clocking into your personal life and needs as well. Workers should also be able to raise their concerns to HR departments or bosses about needing to take breaks for their own wellbeing.

Guest Writer: JBeckett