Work environments today aren’t the healthiest they can be.
The daily grind and struggle to balance work and social obligations can leave you feeling drained and unenthusiastic.
But what if this goes a step too far and you find out that your job harms your health?
Well, there are tell-tale signs of this phenomenon.
It doesn’t only cause mental health issues, but can extend to affect your body in ways you might not link directly to your work.
So let’s go over the ways your job might be adversely affecting your health and what you can do about it.
Table Of Contents
Can Your Job Cause Health Problems?
The short answer is yes.
Any state of constant physical or mental stress, like the kind you face on the job, can cause your body to release too much of the stress hormone cortisol.
Chronic stress can, with time, present health problems linked to adrenal fatigue, which is an umbrella term that encompasses several physical and non-physical symptoms.
Should You Quit Your Job if it is Affecting Your Health?
Only you can decide whether you should quit your job if it’s harming your health.
However, if you find that it’s no more than just a dead-end job, or that you don’t get enough benefits, like health insurance, to cover for the ill-effects of the job on your health, it might be time to consider looking for another.
Can You Quit a Job Because of Mental Health?
Mental health is a very valid reason to quit your job.
We often underestimate how mental health can and does affect our day-to-day lives.
But just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean that mental illness is less severe than physical illness.
That said, if you rely on your job for financial support and have no safety net to fall on, it won’t be such an easy decision to make.
Weigh your options before you decide to leave and see if quitting is the right decision.
Signs Your Job is Affecting Your Physical Health
There are a few ways to tell if your job harms your physical or mental health.
- Unintentional weight fluctuations (weight loss or gain)
- Digestive problems (bloating, acid reflux, abdominal cramps)
- Trouble sleeping (chronic insomnia)
- Weak immune system (falling ill more frequently)
- Cardiovascular disease (hypertension and heart palpitations)
- Back and joint pain
Signs Your Job is Affecting Your Mental Health
- Cognitive dysfunction (forgetfulness, not finding the right words to say)
- Constant state of anxiety and fear of the future
- Depression and inability to feel joy
- Irritability and anger issues
What to Do When Your Job Harms Your Health
Knowing that your job might be badly affecting your physical well-being is the first step in figuring out what to do about it.
Here are a few things you can do in that situation:
Recognize the Ways it is Harming Your Health
If you notice symptoms you’re not used to, like difficulty falling asleep on workdays or gastrointestinal symptoms you’ve never suffered before, try to write down when they happen.
Oftentimes, you’ll find a trigger of some sort that can be traced back to your work.
It could be an argument with a co-worker, a confrontation with your boss, or overwhelming feelings regarding your role and your ability to fulfill it.
Seek Medical Advice
Seeking the help of a healthcare professional is a great step to rule out any physical cause for your symptoms.
A doctor or clinician will ask you questions regarding your general health, lifestyle, family medical history, and current complaints.
If there’s no physical cause for your symptoms after examination and laboratory tests, you might be advised to look for answers elsewhere.
Consult Your Supervisor
Toxic bosses can be rather stressful, but your work supervisor is a decent person, they could be of some help if you’re not sure why you’re facing these symptoms.
If your job is physically taxing, they might give you some insight on how to reduce the unwanted effects on your body.
This can also be beneficial if you require medical leave to treat your symptoms.
Take Care of Your Health in Other Ways
This might sound like a broken record, but caring for your health by eating nutritious food and exercising is a great way to put your body in its best fighting position.
If you have a family history that affects your physical or mental health, like type 2 diabetes or anxiety disorders, this can benefit you.
Taking care of your body can delay symptoms and improve your odds against disease.
See What Changes You Can Make
There are some things we can do to improve the conditions we work in that can make work less detrimental to our well-being.
I, for one, have noticed great results after upgrading the chair I sit in so that it offers better back and arm support.
There are similar things you can figure out as you go.
Better equipment, more relaxed schedules, as well as new techniques to facilitate your work and make it less harmful to your health are all things to consider.
Weigh the Pros and Cons of Continuing Your Job
When it comes to choosing your health or your job, it’s always a tough choice to make.
Thinking it through to avoid making a rash decision is advisable, especially if you face financial insecurity and your income depends solely on that job.
A list of pros and cons for each choice will help you figure out which one’s for you.
What to Do if Your Job is Ruining Your Mental Health
In a toxic workplace, you can find yourself feeling drained and unappreciated.
This requires some effort on your part to figure out the issues and address them directly by doing the following:
Talking to a mental health worker, like a counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist, can help you find the reasons leading to anxiety before work.
It could be the result of your workplace being unhealthy for your mental well-being, or it could be an internal issue you need to resolve.
Instead of the tunnel vision you have on your own, you can find a new perspective to understand what’s causing your mental health issues and address your mental health concerns.
Reflect on Your Job and Mental Health
If you find resentment towards your role is growing, it might be time to sit yourself down and reflect on your job and what it’s doing to your mental health.
Write down how you feel about your job, performance, boss, and coworkers.
Be honest in your assessment and try to keep it impartial.
This should help you process issues and maybe look at the situation from another perspective.
Find Other Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy
Finding activities outside of the workplace is a great way to stay mentally healthy.
Journaling, reading, maintaining relationships, and physical exercise can all lift your mood and balance your worldview a bit.
If you’re suffering from an acute case of burnout, this might be helpful in re-centering your mood and making up for the emotional toll that comes with dealing with difficult coworkers.
Consider Leaving Your Job
If you’ve exhausted all your options and found that it might not be the most rewarding route to stay at your job, it might be wise to consider leaving.
How Do You Not Let Work Affect Your Life?
Not letting work affect your life constitutes a special set of skills that you learn to cultivate as time wears on. Here are a few of these skills:
Routines are a great way to give your life structure and meaning.
If you struggle to get out of bed, create a list of “quests” you need to accomplish every day so that you have something to look forward to.
Protect Your Time Away from the Office
Work-life balance can be difficult, especially if you’re still starting out.
That said, you shouldn’t let office drama or work creep into your after hours.
Keep those things separate and you’ll be thankful for that delineation.
Wind Down Correctly
Just like work routines, try to have a routine for winding down and calming your nerves after a long day at work.
Scented candles, meditation, and listening to soothing music can all help.
Establishing clear boundaries for your boss and coworkers not to contact you on your off time is a line in the sand and you’re not wrong to demand it.
If you’re made to feel like you’re not a good-enough employee because of it, keep that in the back of your mind as a sign of a toxic work environment should you decide to leave.
Work on Your Own Well-Being
Caring for your physical and mental health is a continued process.
Be mindful of what you consume but go easy on yourself if you slip up.
And lastly, know that investing money and time in your long-term well-being is always a good investment.
Work related stress can affect your job performance and take a toll on your relationships.
So nipping this in the bud is always a good idea.
Figuring out whether your job harms your health isn’t a fun realization.
You could be facing work stress that harms your physical and/or mental health without fully grasping it.
That said, deciding whether to continue in your job or to leave it is a heavy decision.
Just try to weigh your options and make your choice based on facts rather than rash feelings.
So what do you think about the harm your job could have on your mind and/or body?
Sound off in the comments below!