These days, mental health concerns are on everyone’s radar. The pandemic has been hard on all of us, and from worries about health, to adjusting to new policies and procedures around safety, and the constant onslaught of bad news from the media. The truth is, mental health is a fluctuating spectrum, with most people experiencing some sort of symptom from time to time, such as stress, anxiety or depression. It’s the way we handle our mental health needs that makes all the difference. And sometimes this involves talking to your boss about the influence your job is having on your mental health. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can get started with the following steps.
Consider your situation
First, think about what you’ve been experiencing and how it’s been affecting your job. If you’re under a lot of stress due to being short-handed, for example, you may be feeling burned out or depressed. This could mean you need some time off to relax and recoup to feel refreshed and ready to return to work. Remember, your mental health has a direct impact on your work performance, so it’s important and should be a key topic of conversation with your boss—even if it feels taboo and off limits.
Think about your company culture and benefits
The next thing to consider is how your company culture reacts towards mental health issues. Fortunately, many companies now provide access to employee assistance programs, counseling (by phone, in person or by text, depending on your benefits), and other resources. You probably also have paid time off to take as you need it. And if your culture is open to the value of self-care when it comes to mental health, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss how you’re feeling with your boss.
Schedule time with your boss
Once you have a clear idea of what’s troubling you and what you need, schedule some time to talk to your boss. Explain briefly what’s been going on, how you feel and how it’s been affecting you. Many companies are open, especially since the pandemic, to help employees deal with mental health concerns. Talk to your boss about how you’ve been feeling and what you think next steps could be and determine a final plan together.
Beware of toxic environments
If you’re working in a situation where you feel overworked, drained or burned out, or with a boss who doesn’t value self-care to address mental health concerns, you may be in a toxic work environment. If this is the unfortunate case, taking steps to change your work situation could be your best step towards a healthier future.
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