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5 Powerful Tips to Reduce Mental Health Problems in the Workplace

Dr. Khalid is a Ph.D. in clinical research, engaged in scientific research, and performs evidence-based studies for journal publications.

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The impact and outcomes of mental health issues in the workplace

Recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals the annual loss of 12 billion workdays on a global scale due to the increasing prevalence of depression and anxiety in adult populations. The mental health complications in the workplace are responsible for the loss of USD 1 trillion and continue to deteriorate the health-related quality of life and working capacity of young professionals. Mental health issues not only impact productivity and performance but also disrupt the daily functioning and physical capacity of employees. It further reduces professional communication and results in misunderstandings and interpersonal conflicts. Research has revealed a 20% increase in job completion time and a 35% reduction in cognitive performance in adults due to their depressive episodes. Globally, 57% of people in the job sector experience depression and rarely opt for physician-guided treatments. The underreporting of mental health complications is another major cause of workplace conflicts and a drastic reduction in work engagement.

The possible causes of mental health challenges in the workplace

The high prevalence of long-term physical illnesses in the working class increases their risk of mental health issues to many folds compared to otherwise healthy individuals. The employees affected with bone and joint disorders, chronic pain, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, and heart disease experience a high level of stress that impacts their mental health and sense of wellness. Other potential causes affecting the mental health condition of employees include high workload, poor pay, and social stigma. Toxic work environment, improper management, high attrition rate, unprofessional conduct, lack of accountability, uneven workflow, and contractual hiring include some of the potential causes that add to the workload and stress in employees. They eventually fail to cope with their added stress and are often unable to meet their project timelines, which eventually deteriorates their productivity. These shortcomings increase their risk and incidence of anxiety and depression, which further reduce their quality of life. The low salaries of employees also add to their stress levels, particularly when they are unable to meet their daily commitments and family responsibilities. The employees under high stress are often unable to socialize, which increases their stigma and sense of vulnerability.

The possible ways to minimize mental health problems in the workplace

Mental health issues are the outcomes of a complex interplay between social, environmental, and biological factors and that is why they are difficult to treat. However, adherence to the following practices may improve the quality of life and mental health outcomes in the workplace to a considerable degree.

1. Improvement in eating habits: The excessive consumption of junk food is not only toxic to health but also leads to heart disease and related mental health complications. The avoidance of junk food (including soft drinks) is the first step to improving your overall health (including mental health) and sense of well-being. You should make sure to include the following items in your daily diet to improve your work capacity.

  • Dairy products
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Green leafy vegetables and fruits
  • Soybeans
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Flaxseeds
  • Nuts

Note: It’s important to avoid alcohol, smoking, added sugars, sugary drinks, and high caffeine to maximize the health benefit of the above food items.

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2. Mindful drinking of water: Several sources recommend consuming plenty of water to avoid the risk of debilitating illnesses. This suggestion is nothing more than a myth, since excessive water consumption (above the body’s physiological requirements) may add to its stress and increase the workload of kidneys. The overloaded circulatory system may increase the risk of kidney disease and heart disease and related stress. Research has recommended that the daily consumption limit of water should not exceed 2.2L in healthy women and 3L in healthy men.

3. Communication is the key: Empathy and compassion provide a healing touch to those affected by depression, anxiety, and panic episodes. It is therefore advisable to share your feelings with your well-wishers since their empathetic support can work wonders and help you beat your stress levels in the workplace. Alternatively, you can get help from a counselor or a mental health practitioner to understand your mental health problems and the possible solutions.

4. Say no to the sedentary lifestyle: An active body has greater stamina to overcome workplace challenges and manage the work-life balance. Try the following activities to quit your sedentary lifestyle and increase your routine activities.

  • 30-40 minutes of walking or running each day
  • Avoiding elevators and using stairs whenever possible
  • Reducing the use of mobile phones and computer screens during leisure time
  • Participating in outdoor activities or sports on weekends
  • Taking a 5-minute break after every 60 minutes of dedicated work in the workplace or at home
  • Actively participating in household chores

5. Adopt a caring attitude: A kind, humble, and caring heart not only gives satisfaction and contentment but also revitalizes one’s body and soul every moment. It makes you feel valued and increases your sense of happiness. Your helping hand for the needy ones also improves your self-esteem and decision-making ability. These achievements directly or indirectly enhance your mental health and overall stamina in the workplace.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Dr Khalid Rahman

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