“Work allows you to provide for yourself and your family while also serving a purpose in the community, but when it takes over your life, it can negatively affect your health”
Mental Health Month explores multiple topics underneath their 2019 theme of #4Mind4Body, including work-life balance.
Work allows you to provide for yourself and your family while also serving a purpose in the community, but when it takes over your life, it can negatively affect your health.
This article contains a personal experience about Work-Life Balance from a member of the UNCrushed team as well as a recent Workplace Mental Health report from Mental Health America.
“It took my sister dying to realize my work/life balance was a detriment to my life”
Work took over my life.
I was on such a high in 2015 and 2016 from all the success I was having in my sales career that it actually destroyed my life for quite some time. The more hours I worked, the more money I made. The more flights I took, the more people I got to meet. The more people I got to meet meant more time away from home. But the bottom line was that money equaled success, or so I thought.
From the fancy house to the sports car; on the outside looking in I “had it all,” when in reality, I was losing sight of myself and more importantly, I barely knew my family.
Work was my life. I would get a high from opening my computer at night and working until 11:30pm, honing my craft, making more connections, and ultimately closing more business. I was completely and utterly obsessed with work. And it only got worse.
I was rehearsing for a big presentation on September 26th, 2016 in Dallas, TX, when I got a text saying my sister Melissa had collapsed in Washington, D.C. I flew out the next morning, computer in hand on the plane (working of course) and continued to work in the hospital room even after they pronounced that she was dead. She died of a brain aneurysm but we kept her hooked up to the breathing machine until we could donate her organs…that was her dying wish.
I remember sitting there, her lifeless body, and me working on my Powerpoint presentation. I was preparing it for the C-Suite of a well-known retailer in Nashville and I was actually feeling nervous for once because it was my first time presenting to them. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do in my frame of mind but it was all I knew. It was my comfort zone. I even remember taking a screenshot of each of their LinkedIn profiles and memorizing their names and faces so it looked like I studied them.
After she passed I still continued to obsess over work. In hindsight, I think it was because I didn’t know how to grieve or even deal with what was going on in my personal life. I just wanted to bury myself in my work and become better than I was yesterday. Honestly, that part of my life is such a fog that it’s hard to even remember the severity of my obsession with work.
Ultimately, when I started seeing a therapist I saw the light and realized that working so many hours and being obsessed with my work was a detriment to myself and ultimately to my family. I barely knew them. I missed all of the after school achievements, the recitals, and still struggle to remember big events with my younger son. All because of work.
Here I am, 2 years later, and I’m not perfect. There are times where I work late into the evening but I can tell you that is fewer and far between.
My hope is to remind you that if you’re in sales you are not saving lives. I tell my team all the time that if they lose a deal that no one died. We are selling software. In the grand scheme of things, it is simply not worth it. No amount of money can bring my sister back and I wish I had spent that time holding her hand rather than holding my computer.
Hold your loved ones close. Evaluate yourself and take note of when you’re behind a screen working versus being with your family, and do the latter. Working too much is simply not worth it and spend more quality time face-to-face with your friends and loved ones. I wish I had.
Dedicated to my sister, Melissa Langham
raleigh-durham, nc, USA
Workplace Mental Health
“People who reported that it was unsafe to discuss their workplace stress in their companies had the poorest outcomes for employee engagement and wellbeing”
Data, Statistics, and Solutions
For many of us, a quarter to a third of our lives will be spent in the workplace. On a daily basis, we will spend more waking hours in our workplace than at home, and experience more exchanges with team members than family members. Job satisfaction and levels of productivity depend on workplace culture, work demands, work support, and work rewards. Simultaneously, an organization relies on a productive and engaged workforce to remain competitive and meet external demands.
Mental Health America (MHA) recognizes the psychological impact that workplaces can have on their employees. Millions of employees spend a large part of their day, and lifetime, at work, increasing the effect that workplace environments can have on psychological well-being. MHA’s research is part of an ongoing commitment to uncovering workplace disparities and addressing the psychological needs of the workforce.
The 2019 Workplace Health Survey measured the attitudes and perceptions of nearly 10,000 employees in the US. Survey questions were designed to explore topics of supervisor communication, company culture, and employee engagement and wellbeing. Survey findings explored the relationships between managerial style, workplace health, and employee engagement, concepts that have, in recent years, become more measurable, and indicative of workplace stress levels and overall mental health.
Supervisor communication and a workplace culture of safe and open communication are correlated with an employee's motivation, confidence, and pride.
People who reported that it was unsafe to discuss their workplace stress in their companies had the poorest outcomes for employee engagement and wellbeing, including:
Difficulty with sleep
Lower confidence in the workplace
Supervisor communication is correlated with safety in reporting ethical violations and areas for improvement in the workplace.