Think about the pros and cons of your job: Are you financially stable? Do you receive support from your peers and bosses? Do the tasks or notifications encroach on your personal after-work hours? Are the deadlines and workload realistic?

Now think about how those factors make you feel: Are you exhausted or sad? Burnt out? Do you sense that your mental health is declining? 

Even the so-called perfect job can cause stress from time to time. But when your job harms your mental health, it’s time to take action. According to Forbes Magazine, worsening mental health is the reason 50 % of millennials quit their job in 2019. 

While every occupation and workplace has their own unique stressors, it might be time to examine your well-being in respect to your job.


If stress at work has compounded and made you feel completely exhausted, physically and emotionally, you are probably experiencing burnout.

This is what many people are finding to be their “breaking point” — they’re tired, they’re unfulfilled, and they don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Some common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Cynicism and negative feelings about your job
  • Fatigue
  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope
  • Irritability

Burnout isn’t a diagnosable illness, but it is a struggle that many people go through. It can be directly caused by your job, but other parts of life can contribute to it as well. Finding more time to take care of yourself, building a support system in or out of work, and finding a new job are a few effective ways to combat burnout.  

Depression in the Workplace

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBI, depression is often thought to just be burnout. They both share some symptoms, like fatigue and melancholy. However, depression includes other feelings of hopelessness in all areas of life. 

Depression and burnout are closely linked, however, and bouts of one can lead to the other. However depression can’t be treated the same way as burnout. Talking to your doctor or therapist is the best way to address it.

Whether someone actively deals with ongoing depression, or is simply predisposed to it, its presence can exacerbate burnout and anxiety at work. The World Health Organization estimates that $1 trillion globally is lost due to decreased work productivity caused by depression. It also conducted a study that found that for every dollar used to treat mental health, four dollars is returned in productivity. 

Measuring mental health in corporate losses might seem heartless, however it is an indication of how it affects people’s ability to function at their fullest potential. Whether related to your job or not, learning constructive ways to cope with depression can help you stop feeling anxious or like you are underperforming all the time.  

Can Stress Make You Sick?

It’s important to consider the close connection between physical wellness and mental wellness. High stress levels or chronic stress can have lasting negative impacts on your body. An unhealthy work environment can take a toll on your body as well as your brain, causing you to become unwell.

When your brain registers something as stressful, whether you are physically in danger or your boss just moved up a deadline, it sends you into “fight-or-flight” mode. It releases adrenaline and cortisol that accelerate your heart rate and suppress any bodily function you don’t need right then and there. 

Constant stress means these hormones are constantly working against your body to take care of a threat. Too much adrenaline and cortisol can lead to heart disease and stroke, as well as:

  • Digestion problems
  • Paused menstrual cycle
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue

Chronic stress can even contribute to other mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.

Sometimes Quitting is the Best Option

Quitting a job for mental health is as good a reason as any other. Frequent burnout, depression, and anxiety lead to poor work performance, as well as a multitude of health problems. 

It is more difficult to heal from a toxic work environment if you continue to remain in it. Though leaving a familiar job might feel unsettling, this type of uncertainty might be a better option than working somewhere that harms your mental health. Whether you stay in your job or not, you must give yourself the time and care to seek healing. 

If you have the means to do so, it is ok to quit and return (or move on) when you are better.

What if I Can’t Quit?

Of course, quitting can be much easier said than done. Searching for a new job itself is stressful, let alone the possibility of not having anything lined up. 

Try to make changes in the workplace. Talk to coworkers, HR, and managers to see if there’s anything that can be done to alleviate some of the stress. Again, that’s not something everyone can do. For a lot of people, colleagues can be a major contributing factor to mental duress. 

Quitting, in this case, is probably your best option. While you decide where to go, you can utilize some stress reducing-strategies in the meantime: 

  • Create a support system at work
  • Enforce boundaries
  • Do something after work that relaxes you
  • Spend time with your support system outside of work

Get Help Today

Our jobs are a huge portion of our time, and they dictate enormous parts of our lives. You shouldn’t be miserable when you’re working. No matter what is causing harm to your mental health, you can talk to a counselor here at Inner Balance Counseling. We’ll guide you through whatever hardship you face. Reach out today.

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Katy Kandaris-Weiner, LPC

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