Mental Health and a Heavy Workload

When you struggle with your mental health it can be difficult to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, especially if you are overworking yourself. You may have heard the saying ‘find a job that you love and you will never work a day in your life’… I agree somewhat with this…

I went from working ten hours a week to working fifty hours a week and I can tell you; I was much more miserable in my part-time job than what I am right now in my full-time job. I previously worked a job where I had zero support from staff and management, I could not open up and tell someone when I was not feeling myself, I could not trust anyone with personal information without the rest of the staff finding out, even if it was a manager that I spoke to in confidence. It was not the job role that I disliked… though I knew it was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my working life, I was fairly happy doing what I was doing. It was the staff and the management that made me dislike going to work. There were a couple of times where I called in sick simply because the thought of being there made me feel so miserable and anxious. I now work in a place, doing a job that I absolutely love, in an area that I studied in, with an incredible management team and a lovely group of staff. I feel fully supported in my role and despite working 45+ hours a week, I am the happiest I have been in a long time.

But you can be in a job that you love and still struggle with mental health. Some jobs come with a heavy workload, I personally feel as though I am managing my workload well at the moment. I do tend to do a lot of my work at home, planning and paperwork etc. But it is work that I rather enjoy. However, I have been struggling to manage both my work and my blog. Through the week I work non-stop, leave the house at 6am, get home after 6pm, work on planning and paperwork for a couple of hours and then try to get some blog planning/writing in before going to bed… not forgetting to cook tea and do laundry in between! It isn’t easy and it got me thinking about how having a heavy workload can affect a person’s mental health.

Although I am struggling to manage my blog alongside my workload, I feel okay! I am not forcing myself to work on my blog, it is not something that I need to do, it is just something that I like to do in my spare time… it just so happens that I do not have much spare time anymore!
So to make my life a little easier, I have made myself a schedule to stick to in regards to my blog and I keep reminding myself that I am doing well, I am doing enough and that I should be proud of myself!

For some people, however, managing their workload may not be so simple. I am not pressured to write blog posts in my spare time, it is something that I choose to do, something that I am determined to keep going. Yet for some people, they are unable to escape from the work that they have to do. Some jobs are very over-demanding, long hours through the week, short deadlines to meet, hard to switch off from when they return home in the evening, being on call and having to rush to work at any time of day/night. This can make it hard for them to function well as a person.

Being exhausted and stressed can have an impact on the individual’s relationships as they tend to lash out or avoid socialising altogether. Life can start to feel as though it is closing in on them. Most of the time when people are struggling with their workload, it begins to have a large effect on their personal lives, making them more reserved and withdrawn than usual. They tend to bottle it up and not admit when things are becoming too much for them. Overworking can also have an impact on the individual’s physical health. Not getting enough sleep and not eating right can cause various problems. For example, not sleeping well can cause your brain to fog, making it hard to concentrate and make decisions, as well as causing more serious health concerns such as obesity, heart problems, diabetes and high blood pressure. Not eating well, such as snacking on junk food or skipping meals due to working can cause problems such as severe weight loss or gain, and tooth decay. Having poor nutrition can also contribute to stress levels and tiredness, therefore keeping you stuck in a vicious cycle.

There is no shame in asking for help. It is not selfish to put your work to one side for the night and just focus on yourself for a little while. Make yourself a schedule, take regular breaks, make sure to have proper meals (without working at the same time as eating!), go to bed at a reasonable time every night (the same time if possible), set your alarm for the same time each morning (or a little earlier to give yourself time to have your morning brew in peace). Life is too short to worry about work 24/7… worry about yourself, your family and your friends too! Enjoy some me-time when you are off work, hang out with your loved ones for a couple of hours and take time to de-stress before going to bed at night.

People don’t realise how much their work-life can affect their personal life and their health. It is time to change that.

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