Women are often undervalued at work. We need to push harder to be noticed and to get the credit we deserve — and that's before we even start on the wage gap. "Be excellent, and make sure people know it," Sallie Krawcheck, the co-founder and CEO of online investment platform Ellevest, tells Bustle, . "The number one mistake women make at work is we think it’s school, so we think if we’re doing a great job, that that’s enough, but you have to make sure people are aware of it."
It's good advice. But we also need to acknowledge that it's not always that easy. Sometimes workplaces generally — and specifically for women — can cause a huge amount of stress. And that stress can go so far that it messes with your mental health. You may be so used to it that you don't realize how it's gotten. But, if you know the signs of stress in your own life and what a toxic workplaces looks like, then you can keep an eye out for yourself. Because it's normal for work to be stressful once in a while, but it's not normal for it to impact your mental health. Here's what you need to look out for.
1You Have Permanent Phone-Hand
There needs to be a line between home and work. If you find that you're always in work mode — and that your phone is permanently in your hand — it's going to be a drain on you. Sooner or later, you're headed for work burnout.
2You're Comparing Yourself To Everyone
Workplaces can get really competitive. So if you find that you're always comparing yourself to others, be careful. "Never, ever compare yourself to others, it's a one way ticket to feeling absolutely horrid," Sallee Poinsette-Nash, Business and Brand Troubleshooter tells Bustle."When this happens, which it inevitably will, simply thank your mind for the unhelpful comparison and return to the work you need to do to move yourself, at your pace, in the direction of your aspirations." Otherwise, your self-esteem will take a blow.
3You've Gone Forever Without A Raise
"Ask for a raise/promotion if you've been there for more than one year and have had very positive performance reviews," Jennifer Yeko, founder of Ninja Recruiting. If you go too long at the same pay, you'll feel like you've stagnated. You'll internalize that stagnation as a lack of self-worth, which can have huge consequences.
4Your Sex Life Is Down
If you need a sign that things have started to mess with you, look at your sex life. "Stress at work can decrease sex drive because stress sends out cortisol into our [bodies], which is a hormone that can suppress sex hormones," Kelly Connell, sexuality educator and counselor and sex educator at NaughtyNorth.ca, tells Bustle. "Also, in times of high stress, we go into a fight or flight response and tend to think about survival. The pressure of work, the need to pay bills, and the fear of losing a job often moves sex to the back burner." And if it's doing that to your sex life, imagine what it's doing to your mental health?
5You Can't Speak Your Mind
If you're in an environment where you can never voice your opinion, it's going to ebb away at you. "Allow your inner voice to speak to you at least as loudly as the voices of those around you," Life coach Erica McCurdy. "When something feels 'off' at work, trust your instincts. You may not immediately recognize the cause of your discomfort, but trust yourself enough to know when a situation warrants further investigation and be courageous enough to stand firm when pressed to take actions that are uncomfortable.”
6You Get Looked Over
Someone always taking credit for you work can lead to problems with resentment and anger. “Always take credit for the amazing work you did," Sharon Kaslassi, account executive of Blonde2.0 tells Bustle. "Did you work your ass off on that project with positive results? Then, brag about it!” If you're still being overlooked, you may need to talk to someone higher up.
7You Work Without Breaks
When you have a lot of work on, it's easy to start working straight through the day, putting in long hours without breaks. But your brain— and your eyes — need a rest. "This could mean taking a stretch break when you notice your shoulders are tense," psychotherapist Suzanne Hawkins, LICSW, tells Bustle. Walk around the block. Clear your head. Your physical and mental health will thank you.
We spend way too much time at work to put up with a place that stresses you out and has a negative affect on your mental health. Know the signs of stress and also of an unhealthy workplace — and make sure you make room for self-care.