The terms “Mental Health” and “Mental Illness” are often used interchangeably but they do refer to different things. A Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) article defines the two (January 13, 2020). Mental illness affects day-to-day functioning. It is attached to anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depressive disorder. The CMHA states mental health is a state of well-being as life is meant to be lived, not just survived.  Therefore, a healthy mental state gives a sense of purpose. It is the ability to thrive despite the ongoing highs and lows of life.  Thus, we all have some level of mental health.

We must be just as diligent in protecting our mental well-being as we are in the food we ingest.  Yet, what works for some won’t work for others. 

The CMHA lists six common factors that positively affect mental health:

  • A sense of purpose
  • Strong relationships
  • Feeling connected to others
  • Having a good sense of self
  • Coping with stress
  • Enjoying life

The above list cannot be achieved alone.  As social people, we need regular, positive, interactions with others.  Obviously, the various interactions we have with people throughout the day impacts our well-being.  There are numerous stories on social media reiterating tales of positive and negative connections.

Staying in a Job You Hate Affects Your Mental Health

Creating a good mental health space in every workplace, school, and neighbourhood is a focus now.   Renee Fabian wrote an article in January 2018 citing a University of Manchester study, it found that having a poor quality job (the one you hate) is worse for your mental well-being than having no job at all.  Obviously, spending 40 +/- hours in a workplace you dread doesn’t fit with the six factors listed above.

Thus, the longer you stay in a job you hate, the worse it is for your mental health.

How a Poor Job Affects Your Mental Health

  1. Those that are constantly miserable at work are more likely to experience exhaustion, stress, and burnout, especially if they feel obligated to stay (or can’t find another job).  This feeling of indebtedness and loss of autonomy is emotionally draining (as per Business News Daily).  This creates a more negative outlook on life causing depression and/or anxiety – and is amplified by a place you despise daily (Sarah Schewitz)
  2. Hating your job can affect you later in life! A study tracked job satisfaction of people aged 25-39; evaluating their health at the age of 40.  Those with low job satisfaction in their 20s and 30s were more susceptible to mental health issues later – including higher levels of depression, sleep problems, and excessive worrying.  Those with bad job experiences early in their careers showed higher diagnoses of emotional problems and low mental health test results.
  3. Finding the silver lining?  Some individuals can consider less-than-ideal conditions as a career stepping stone and they stick it out.  For those dealing with a mental illness, it is far more difficult to find the silver lining.  It is easier to go to a dark, negative place as our brains are naturally sticky for the negative.
  4. It’s Hard to Leave! Mental illness does not allow for a path out and there is no motivation to find alternatives.  Schewitz states that hopelessness and helplessness removes the motivation to change. Thus even thinking of trying to get a new job is overwhelming.  Changing the ‘stuck’ mindset takes tremendous effort. 

Find a Workplace that is Life-Affirming

Considering the mental consequences of staying in a job you hate, engaging the support of a mental health professional might be what you need to help you change your perspective.  Let them help you find your way to a better workplace that is life-affirming and supports your well-being!  To take a free mental health test go here.

Grasslands Recruitment Specialists has been connecting Canadian agriculture since 1996. If you have a background in agriculture and would like to discuss possible career options, we invite you to reach out.  No obligation or cost.  We are not mental health professionals but have been known to offer alternatives to those feeling ‘stuck’.

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