Mental health struggles are often overlooked despite the importance they hold in all our lives. The hustle culture and unreasonable expectations to be productive only create more workplace stress, among other factors. Leaving mental health issues unaddressed can result in physical ailments, as well as burnout.
One brave athlete is breaking the stigma by opening up about her mental health struggles, i.e., Simone Biles. Mental health awareness is an important factor in every profession, particularly those in which workplace stress takes a significant toll on people.
Why Don’t More People Prioritize Their Mental Health?
Mental health has long been associated with a negative stigma in our society. People with mental illnesses have been stereotyped as being weak, emotionally unstable, sensitive, or lacking in strength or willpower. As a consequence, many individuals try to cope in isolation, fearful of opening up concerning their mental health struggles and seeking help, particularly when it is most needed.
How Does Workplace Stress Come into Play?
Workplace stress is the detrimental emotional and physical reactions that might occur when there is a contradiction between both the employee’s job requirements and their level of control over satisfying those needs. In principle, high demands in the workplace combined with a lack of choice in the matter can contribute to stress.
When the obligations of a situation are higher than a person’s ability to cope with them, they experience negative stress. They may be unable to be productive as a result of their stress. Thus, they can form a habit of not addressing a problem altogether, which can exacerbate the situation and cause stress for themselves and others.
Workplace stress may even exacerbate a preexisting mental health issue that the person has previously successfully handled without affecting their employment.
Which Practices Create Workplace Stress and Poor Mental Health?
- A Ranking System: Employees are evaluated from best to worst on a scale of one to ten. Supervisors convey where workers rank in the firm through yearly performance reviews.
- Annual and Bi-Annual Evaluations: A system of providing feedback to workers on an annual or bi-annual basis is often the only form of feedback employees receive in the entire year. Unfortunately, these irregular feedback meetings are used to review major events from the previous 6 to 12 months and construct a narrative to rationalize whether they do or don’t deserve a raise or advancement in their career.
- Unreasonable Job Expectations: Not giving adequate time to complete a task, asking employees to work after their shift, lack of appreciation, isolation in the workplace, poor communication patterns, and lack of autonomy can create stress.
The lack of vision of what someone is experiencing emotionally is the most difficult component of mental health. Everyone carries emotional burdens, and the greatest way we can contribute and assist others is to give understanding, support, tolerance, and flexibility.
Simon Biles’ mental health struggles are a clear example of how even the most talented people can experience workplace stress and the consequences that come along with it. Minimizing these stressors and extending compassion can go a long way in preventing burnout and creating a healthier work environment.
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