Work can contribute to your happiness in huge ways: it offers routine, camaraderie and purpose. But when your job is making you feel overly stressed, what should you do?
The importance of seeking help for depression or anxiety is generally understood, but for some reason we choose to ‘soldier on’ when it comes to stress — even though we might actually need support. And often when we are stressed, we don’t have the foresight to figure out practical ways to manage it.
According to new research commissioned by Mental Health Australia, only 18 per cent of Australians regularly seek advice or support when they’re feeling stressed or down. Meanwhile, 49 per cent of people aged over 70 said they rarely or would never seek such help.
These findings are beyond disheartening. Taking action when you are feeling stressed is easily overlooked when in reality it’s so important.
We spoke to to beyondblue’s Head of Research and Development, Nick Arvanitis, about the main factors that can contribute to workplace stress, and ways we can all make sure we are staying mentally healthy at work.
1. Go home on time.
Going home on time when you still have so much work to do can seem impossible, but it's an essential factor for managing your stress levels.
“We know that working long hours over a long period of time can be a risk factor for developing depression and anxiety. Some people might be comfortable to work longer hours, but the issue is when people are working long hours and they don’t want to, but they feel pressure and expectation to stay back," Arvanitis explains.
One way of dealing with this practically is to ask yourself why you are staying back, and then have a conversation with your employer about it.
“Employers have obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety act that relate to mental health in the workplace, and a primary responsibility to eliminate risks in the workplace that can lead to mental health injuries, like depression and anxiety. Don’t suck it up and let the stress build, have a conversation with your manager about it,” Arvanitis says.