How finding the right work environment improved my mental health
Let me start by putting this out there: I’ve worked in some terrible places. Places with bad management, places that had unreasonable expectations, and places that were simply not a good fit.
It’s hard to put into words just how much of a toll this took on my physical and mental health. And why wouldn’t it? We spend the majority of our lives at work. Many of us see our colleagues more than we see our families. It’s only logical that an unhealthy work environment will quickly become detrimental to our wellbeing.
Everything I’ve learnt about wellbeing at work
Everyone wants different things from their job, and the key to being truly happy at work is identifying what’s important to you.
I know that I need a certain level of creative freedom and autonomy over my own workload, I need a collaborative work environment and colleagues that become friends. I need supportive management and a culture that promotes openness and transparency. Above all, I need to feel like I have the opportunity to grow and improve.
I’ll admit that I almost didn’t apply for my job at a Poole-based marketing agency, b4b. I was looking for an in-house marketing role, as the agency way of working didn’t really appeal to me. If it hadn’t been for a friend of mine working there at the time and suggesting that I apply anyway, I would have probably missed out on the best career move I’ve ever made.
Very early on, I was given the opportunity to shape my role and decide which direction I wanted to go in. In just under a year, I was promoted to Marketing Manager, and given the opportunity to really shape the b4b brand. For the first time in my career, I felt like my input was valued and that I could make a real difference.
Despite initially joining the company during lockdown and having to meet my new colleagues virtually, I was made to feel welcome. Regular socials and pub quizzes were organised on Zoom (oh, how we all remember a Zoom quiz!) and day-to-day contact with my team was encouraged through the use of slack and regular video calls. It was a strange time to start a new job but I have very fond memories of those first few months.
I’ve had many ups and downs during my marketing career, as well as my various pursuits before that! At my worst, I struggled with exhaustion, feelings of hopelessness, and even suffered from hives brought on by anxiety.
What to do if you’re struggling with stress at work
Every job has its stresses, but I soon learnt that when stress becomes chronic and unmanageable, it’s time to address it. Whether this means speaking to a GP, seeking support from your line manager, or taking some time to re-evaluate whether your role is right for you, it’s important to make sure work doesn’t impact your health in a negative way.
I feel so lucky to have finally found a company that cares about its people, that fosters a healthy and happy workplace culture, and where I feel supported and encouraged to grow.
Your specific hopes and career goals may be different to mine, but if your mental wellbeing is suffering because of a toxic or unsupportive work environment, it’s probably time to explore what else is out there. Like me, you’ll be glad that you did.
Our Guest Blogger:
Huge thanks to today’s guest blogger, Communications Manager Melissa Boyle from b4b marketing- Melissa writes about her own experience of working within a toxic work environment and the effects such an environment can have on your mental and physical health.
If you are struggling to cope with your mental health in general, please talk to your GP. If you’re in a crisis, treat it as an emergency. Call 999 immediately or The Samaritans, FREE on 116 123.
Dorset Mind offers group support that can also help with your wellbeing. The group offers peer support and helps to reduce stigma by normalizing conversations about mental health. You can also check out further support for stress and mental health here.
Mind Field is a 7-week online course, designed to help get people back to work and support their mental health. Find out more here
You’ll find links for 1-2-1 and groups mental health support we offer here.