- The impact of work on our mental well-being is a topic of increasing concern.
- The cost of mental health issues, predominantly depression and anxiety, exacts a massive toll on the global economy, draining a staggering $1 trillion each year due to reduced productivity.
- Esther also invites you to be on the lookout for the upcoming event, “Coping with loss and grief,” scheduled for October 7, 2023, from 8 AM to 4 PM, at Nairobi Children’s Traffic Park.
Are organizations ignoring key areas leading to stress, anxiety, and depression?
This is a question that resonates with the experiences of countless individuals in the modern workplace. In today’s world, our professional lives often demand as much – if not more – of our time and energy as our own.
The impact of work on our mental well-being is a topic of increasing concern.
In a recent discussion hosted on the fireside chats segment by Conversations with Esther Katiba, we navigated the complex terrain of workplace dynamics, unearthing the concealed facets that silently impact our mental well-being.
Esther Katiba, an author, astute organizational culture consultant, Legal professional, and certified HR Practitioner, opened the discussion with a profound quote, “There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
These words are a poignant reminder that not all scars are visible, and some of the most profound wounds can be inflicted in the very spaces where we spend most of our waking hours – the workplace.
Solving work stress
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is a state of well-being that enables individuals to cope with life stressors effectively, realize their abilities, learn well, work well, and contribute to their community.
Today, where over 50% of the global population is engaged in the workforce, it is alarming to note that 15% of working adults grapple with mental disorders.
The consequences are staggering, with a jaw-dropping working day lost annually to depression alone.
The cost of mental health issues, predominantly depression and anxiety, exacts a massive toll on the global economy, draining a staggering $1 trillion each year due to reduced productivity.
“In every four individuals, one is living with a mental disorder, it is important that we encourage the prevalence of anxiety and depression,” asserts Katiba.
She insists that “mental health conversations are not just a nice-to-have discourse but an absolute must-have in the society.”
Signposts of mental wellbeing
In the mental well-being landscape, indicators emerge as important signposts guiding us toward a healthier, more balanced life.
Resilience to stress, flexibility in the face of adversity, optimism, self-confidence, and a sense of spirituality that grounds us – are the building blocks of emotional fortitude.
However, the spectrum of mental well-being extends further, encompassing contentment, empathy, the ability to care for oneself and extend care to others, and clear thinking that cuts through the fog of doubt and respect for oneself.
Patrick Nyagudi, a clinical psychologist from Chiromo Hospital, adds his expert perspective to the discussion, emphasizing that “when talking about mental health, everyone has mental health but not everyone has mental illness.”
Nyagudi highlights a pivotal aspect: “One key thing for mental illness is behavior change.”
This observation underscores the importance of recognizing shifts in our behavior as potential indicators of an underlying mental health issue.
The modern workplace is a dynamic ecosystem with opportunities and challenges that can impact our mental well-being.
These stressors often lie in plain sight, from the culture that shapes our professional lives to the demands that stretch our capabilities.
To navigate this terrain, we examine these common workplace stressors: organizational culture, trauma, change management, role conflict, lack of support, unreasonable job demands, and poor management practices.
Jay Walemba, the CEO and Founder of Jay CVs offers great insights to help us deal with these stressors head-on. “Workplace stressors cannot be avoided,” he acknowledges.
“To curb them, you need to identify the root cause for the stress and set realistic expectations,” Jay emphasizes the importance of avoiding overambition and setting achievable deadlines.
He underscores the significance of prioritization and effective organization, urging us to harness time management techniques like Google Calendar and planners to enhance productivity.
“No is a complete answer,” he insists, encouraging us to establish boundaries to protect our wellbeing.
Intriguingly, Walemba reminds us of the power of sharing our stressors for emotional relief, and he champions regular workouts and short walks.
Seeking professional help such as therapy can provide essential support in managing stress.
Additionally, honing conflict resolution skills and taking regular breaks are critical strategies to maintain equilibrium in the fast-paced world of work.
Furthermore, Walemba suggests the empowering practice of making positive affirmations to uplift our outlook and invites us to consider changes in our workplace environment as a proactive step toward reducing stress.
Navigating workplace change
When the strain of your workplace becomes an unbearable burden, and you yearn for a fresh start, consider a change.
It’s a decision that can bring anxiety and excitement, but with the right approach, it can also be a transformative step towards improved mental health.
To start this journey, ensure you have your CV and LinkedIn profile polished and ready.
However, as Walemba advises, keep your network wide.
“I’ve seen people applying for jobs that do not match their skills,” he remarks.
Instead, focus on setting clear goals and apply for positions that align with your qualifications and aspirations.
But job hunting is not a solitary effort but a path that can benefit from the guidance of a career expert.
Seek their insights on crafting an effective CV, cover letter, and networking strategies.
Walemba emphasizes that “statistics show that 70% of jobs we land through networking, 10% through third-party recruiters, and 20% through online applications.”
Networking, in particular, is a powerful tool for securing your next opportunity. However, Walemba emphasizes the importance of experimentation and patience during this process.
Managing work stress is an ongoing process that may need time to refine your strategies.
“Before you quit, have a solid plan in place,” he advises, “so you don’t end up becoming another statistic for mental disorder.”
Prioritizing mental health
In the grand scheme of our professional lives, one resounding truth is;” no job, no amount of money, and no title is worth your mental health.”
Katiba leaves us with this powerful reminder to prioritize our emotional well-being as a call to action. She extends an invitation to normalize conversations around mental wellness.
Katiba appeals to bosses, leaders, and managers, imploring them to manage their emotions and temper, preventing the workplace from becoming toxic.
She advocates for the simple yet powerful act of stepping out and walking when emotions run high, thus sparing others from unnecessary stress.
In the spirit of fostering dialogue and collective wellbeing, Esther also invites you to be on the lookout for the upcoming event, “Coping with loss and grief,” scheduled for October 7, 2023, from 8 AM to 4 PM, at Nairobi Children’s Traffic Park.
Hosted by Conversations with Esther Katiba, this event promises to be a pivotal opportunity for support, healing, and reflection.
Are you excited to be part of this initiative and join her in impacting souls? Feel free to reach out to her via her socials or email her at email@example.com for more information.
Remember to also watch past episodes of the insightful fireside conversations and the upcoming ones on her YouTube channel.
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Dear reader, please carry forward the wisdom shared in these pages, prioritize your mental health, engage in open conversations, and collectively strive to create nurturing, empathetic, and healthier workplaces where everyone can thrive.