*This post is sponsored by MyTherapist.
When considering potential career options, many people don’t take into account how their chosen field might affect their mental health.
Instead, they mostly focus on factors like income, benefits, and distance from home among others. In reality, being in a job that allows you to maintain strong mental health is of the highest importance.
That’s because working a job that hurts your mental health will make you miserable no matter how well it pays, how many benefits it provides, and how close is to your house.
Truth is that your mental health is key to having a happy and balanced work-life…
As such, you should always consider going for jobs that promote and support it.
Yes, finding such jobs isn’t a walk in the park…
That’s why, in this article, I’m going to lay down a few tips that’ll make your search much more efficient.
If you’re already in a job you hate, seeking third-party advice from a mental health professional or a friend could help you immensely get clarity on your next steps, whether that means quitting, taking some time off, or figuring out ways to make small shifts towards turning your remaining time there much more tolerable.
1. Make a List of “Musts”
The first step to picking a job that’ll make you mentally happy is making a list of all your job-related desired qualities.
Do you want something close to home with a short commute? Do you need great benefits like health insurance or lots of vacation time?
In other words, what characteristics must a job possess for you to be satisfied with it?
Being aware of exactly what you want out of a job will make the process of weeding out undesirable positions much easier.
However, avoid sticking to your list way too rigidly…
Instead, be open to compromise.
For instance, if you come across a promising opportunity that seems to have 4 out of your 5 desired features, it might be foolish to dismiss it in pursuit of the “perfect” opportunity that might as well not exist at all.
2. Go After Your Passions, Not a Job
Doing work that revolves around one or more passions of yours won’t feel so much like working but more like having fun, it’ll boost your energy, give you a sense of purpose and meaning, and decrease your stress levels.
Nowadays, everyone’s got some kind of activity they’re passionate about…
Maybe it’s working out, meditating, cooking, playing the piano, drawing, or caring for your cat.
No matter what your passion is, it’s almost guaranteed that there’ll be people and/or companies willing to pay you for doing it.
If you’re not quite sure what you’re passionate about, answering the following questions might help you gain some clarity.
- What is that which you can’t wait to do during your days?
- Is there any specific activity that makes you lose track of time?
- Where is the bulk of your free time spent?
- Is there anything that pisses you off if you’re unable to do it?
Lastly, consulting with a career or life coach along with utilizing assessments such as StrengthsFinder 2.0, Myers-Briggs, DISCAssessment, and/or Strong Interest Inventory could help you uncover your passion as well as gain clarity regarding career paths that align with it.
3. Don’t Put Money First
You’ve probably heard the saying “money can’t buy happiness”…
Yeah, I know that it’s so cliché but that’s because it’s 100% accurate!
People who pick jobs solely based on the size of their salary often end up unhappy and unsatisfied with their lives.
Money is undeniably important but it shouldn’t be your primary motivation behind accepting a job.
Truth is that you can be just as happy, if not happier, at a lower-paying job that you genuinely enjoy doing.
Sometimes, taking a pay cut could lead to a significant a mental health boost!
4. Find Your People
The people that constitute your daily work environment (colleagues, managers, boss, etc) can make or break your job fulfillment…
Trying to collaborate with people who don’t fit your personality and values on a daily basis, could be detrimental to your mental health.
For instance, if you value the quality of your work and your team consists of sloppy people who couldn’t care less, this will most likely impact your psyche in a negative way.
On the contrary, having the privilege to interact with like-minded individuals that “get you” in your immediate working environment could not only promote a healthy mental attitude but also boost your chances of making career advancements better and faster.
Having said that, before accepting any given job offer, make sure to carefully vet the kind of people that you’ll be collaborating with.
5. Hate It? Quit It!
There’s no shortage of people who stick it out at jobs they absolutely hate way more than they should.
I get it…
Knowing where your next paycheck’s going to come from and that you’re fully covered by health insurance in case you need medical attention makes you feel safe and comfortable.
I’ve been there myself…
However, staying at a job you hate could increase stress levels, create resentment, induce depression, and ultimately make your entire life a living hell.
If you can relate, it’s time to start outlining the action plan that could help you improve your situation.
If you’ve already done everything in your hand towards making your job much more tolerable without any luck whatsoever, there’s no shame in quitting even if you have no other job lined up.
At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for keeping your mental health and overall well-being intact.
6. Practice Self-Care
No matter what job you end up in, practicing self-care can go a long way…
Take frequent breaks (every 30-60 minutes) to stretch your legs around the office.
Leverage your paid leave towards resting and unwinding in regular intervals. Going on a short trip even for a couple of days has been shown to reduce stress levels and increase productivity upon returning.
Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
Start practicing meditation.
Try to exercise as much as possible, either this means actually working out, covering short distances by walking or cycling, or using the stairs instead of the elevator.
Stay away from workplace gossip and drama.
And lastly, seek professional help sooner rather than later.
A licensed therapist could help you deal with your work-induced anxiety and depression much more efficiently.
Being subjected to a work environment you despise on a daily basis can have an enormous negative impact on your mental health…
Unfortunately, locating and landing a job that makes you mentally happy isn’t a walk in the park…
That’s exactly why the vast majority of today’s workforce is knee-deep in jobs that make them miserable.
However, if you invest some time and energy in coming up and utilizing the right course of action, you could end up beating the odds sooner than you think.