Working in a corporate environment can be challenging for both sexes. The pressure of meeting tight deadlines coupled with the constant need to stay on top of your game can result in serious health-related issues, such as workplace performance anxiety and depression.
Nowadays, many of us are living (and working) in a competitive business environment where even the smallest sign of weakness can damage your reputation and throw you off the corporate ladder. The organisational culture specific to many of today’s companies places a premium on excellent results while often ignoring the substantial health costs that may derive from this approach.
But while women are encouraged to open up about their problems and seek emotional support, men don’t always afford this luxury. In fact, even from an early age, boys are taught to “be strong” and deal with their problems on their own.
As a result, men’s mental health has become a taboo subject, preventing those who need support from receiving it.
But what are the problems that today’s men often deal with and what stops them from receiving proper aid?
Men’s mental health: A growing issue among today’s hard-working fellows
In recent years, researchers and healthcare professionals have begun to realise that men’s mental health is a serious issue that needs to be addressed from a slightly different angle.
In other words, the emotional and psychological problems that men often face are somewhat different from those of women. For example, if you look at most categories of emotional disorders, you will notice that while the prevalence rates are generally higher for women, men tend to experience more intense and troubling symptoms.
Some recent statistics released by Mental Health America reveal that:
- 6 million men are affected by depression each year
- Around 3 million men struggle with anxiety
- And the worst part is that men are less likely than women to seek help.
Considering these worrying numbers, it’s obvious that something needs to be done asap.
Let’s start by looking at the challenges men often face in today’s corporate environment.
The challenges of today’s corporate environment
Since competition and performance are some of the main characteristics of today’s organisational environment, numerous health-related problems may arise from this approach.
First of all, placing a strong emphasis on competition and top performance can push men to adopt unrealistic standards. This, in turn, can have a tremendously negative impact on the work-life balance.
In other words, we often end up sacrificing our family and social life for the sake of performance bonuses and recognition from our boss. We spend most of our waking hours at the office, crushing deadline after deadline, hoping to reach the top of the corporate pyramid.
Unfortunately, the compromises we make to achieve professional success can come at a steep price. Day after day of extended office hours can result in stress and burnout. If left unchecked, unhealthy stress can lead to severe emotional problems such as depression and anxiety.
But perhaps a better way to explain our current attitude towards health is with a quote by Dalai Lama. When asked about what surprises him most about our modern era, he replied:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
To prevent such problems from ruining your overall sense of health and well-being, you must learn to place your health above anything else.
Let’s see what today’s men can do to stay healthy despite the challenges of our modern corporate environment.
Tips for managing men’s health in a corporate environment:
#1 Stay active
We know for a fact that exercise can have a tremendously positive impact on our physical and mental health. From preventing geriatric conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis to keeping stress and anxiety in check, regular physical activity is undeniably among the healthiest habits you can adopt.
Unfortunately, many of us feel like we don’t have time and energy to go out for a jog or hit the gym. But staying active is not always about intense workout routines. There are plenty of other ways to stay active despite being under the constant pressure of tasks and deadlines.
For example, take a five-minute walk around the office every hour or leave your car at home and go to the office on foot. (If the office is not too far from home.) Browse the web and look for some home workout plans. There are heaps of options – you just have to get proactive!
#2 Develop conflict resolution skills
The tensions and conflicts that may arise at work are among the leading factors of stress. And when conflicts are not solved in a ‘decent’ manner – and hard feelings tend to linger around the office – your work environment becomes unhealthy and ‘toxic.’
Conflict resolution is about reaching a peaceful solution for both parties. It involves empathy, active listening, collaboration, and a bit of negotiation. Next time you find yourself in a heated dispute with a coworker, take the following steps:
- Clarify the problem. Find the core of your disagreement.
- Talk to the other party and find a common goal.
- Brainstorm ways to achieve it.
- Identify the obstacles that may prevent you from reaching this goal.
- Negotiate a common path towards your goal.
- Divide responsibilities between the two opposing parties.
#3 Meditate your stress away
Over the last two decades, meditation programs have become a viable strategy for psychological stress and well-being. Furthermore, recent studies indicate meditation can increase emotional intelligence and decrease stress in the workplace.
And with all the meditation apps and online video courses that are currently available, it would be crazy not to at least give it a try. Just ten minutes of meditation after your lunch can do wonders for your sense of well-being.
And once meditation becomes part of your daily habit, you will experience a significant increase in overall physical and mental health.
#4 Delegate tasks
Delegating tasks is perhaps the smartest strategy you can implement in the workplace. Since most of us often find ourselves swamped in tasks and impossible deadlines, knowing how to share the workload with your team can save you a lot of heartaches.
Even though being the guy who’s good at everything and does everything might sound like the safest path towards professional success, working yourself trying to exhaustion trying to micromanage every aspect of a project is obviously not a healthy move.
Free up some time for some well-deserved rest by delegating your tasks.
#5 Seeking help is not a sign of weakness
In the end, the best way to address the overwhelming stress that you’re probably under is by consulting a mental health professional.
Unfortunately, men are generally more reluctant than women to consult a healthcare professional that can assess the situation and recommend a treatment plan.
Remember, asking for help is neither a sign of weakness nor a blow to your manhood. It takes courage to face your painful emotions, admit you have a problem, and seek professional help.