Balancing Work and Mental Health

Balancing Work and Mental Health

Healthcare workers must find a delicate balance between providing empathetic care and maintaining positive mental health. Many people in healthcare experience emotional or physical burnout due to the pressures of the job unless they find a way to create a healthy work-life balance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 46% or "[n]early half of health workers reported often feeling burned out in 2022, up from 32% in 2018." Driftwood Recovery supports staff members by providing services and policies designed to protect their mental and physical health. Staff members are encouraged to balance work and mental health by setting clear boundaries and practicing self-care.

How Does Being in Healthcare Impact Work and Mental Health?

Healthcare jobs rely on people to help others through a physical or emotional crisis without letting it negatively impact their own well-being. Treating individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring mental health issues can be demanding and emotionally distressing for some people in healthcare. Many individuals experience burnout if they don't have the skills to cope with challenges in the workplace. According to the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health, "Burnout is a psychological response to chronic workplace stress that can lead to feelings of exhaustion, increased mental distance from one's job, negativism, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy."

Being in healthcare affects mental health by doing the following:

  • Increasing exposure to emotionally distressing situations
  • Requiring people to display positive behaviors even under extreme stress
  • Decreasing time spent doing healthy activities, including socializing with loved ones and practicing self-care
  • Exposing people to secondary trauma

Clients in the healthcare field may struggle with distrust of authority or underlying trauma, making it important for healthcare workers to treat each person with empathy and compassion. Constantly being mindful of tone of voice, word choices, and body language may become overwhelming for some people. The need to be supportive can sometimes feel like it takes priority over self-care. However, if healthcare workers don't care for their own well-being, they cannot provide clients with the highest quality services.

Emotional Burnout in Healthcare

Physical and emotional burnout is a serious problem in healthcare. People treating clients with addiction or mental health issues often have a desire to help and go the extra mile to help clients heal, even if it means sacrificing personal time. However, providing non-stop emotional support to others without caring for oneself leads to emotional burnout. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), healthcare workers "are at an increased risk for mental health challenges and choosing to leave the health workforce early." Driftwood Recovery helps staff avoid emotional burnout by meeting every day to discuss ways to support and uplift one another. Working as a team ensures no single person feels overburdened.

Resources for Maintaining Work and Mental Health

Not everyone has access to a strong support system or the financial stability to regularly practice self-care. Navigating workplace stressors and responsibilities on top of a complex home life may leave some healthcare workers feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about how to create a healthy balance. The managers at Driftwood Recovery prioritize employee mental health by ensuring schedules allow for reasonable amounts of time off each week to allow staff to recharge and engage in meaningful personal activities.

Some of the resources professionals use to maintain work productivity and positive mental health include:

  • Individual counseling or therapy to reduce stress
  • Nutritional counseling or coaching to improve diet and general health
  • Self-help groups for healthcare workers
  • Apps for managing time and creating self-care schedules

Community-based resources are also available to help connect workers with essential support services related to health and wellness, family support, further education, or career advancement. Staff feel less stressed when they have access to the resources they need to do their job and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

How Does Driftwood Recovery Prioritize Balancing Work and Mental Health?

Driftwood Recovery respects staff members' time and skills. The treatment center shows appreciation for each employee by providing training, opportunities for advancement, emotional support, a reasonable work schedule, and benefits to support staff. Every member of management practices the values of transparency, honesty, and integrity to ensure staff members feel comfortable reaching out if they need accommodations or additional mental health support in the workplace.

Maintaining Positive Mental Health Helps Clients and Clinicians

The mental health of clinicians and support staff directly impacts client outcomes. According to HHS, in one survey, "76% of U.S. workers reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition," and "81% of workers reported that they will be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future." Driftwood Recovery supports staff through various policies and procedures designed to address mental health needs in the workplace. Clients benefit when staff adopt a more balanced approach to work responsibilities.

Balancing work and mental health is difficult in any profession. However, it is especially important in healthcare. Staff members working with individuals experiencing physical and emotional crises have a greater risk of developing mental health disorders if they don't establish healthy work-life boundaries. Often, clinicians and support staff go above and beyond to help others manage emotional distress without giving themselves the grace of stepping back to reduce stress. Driftwood Recovery ensures the care team has the resources, tools, and opportunities to look after their own well-being. Healthy staff members create a welcoming and nurturing space where clients feel comfortable, safe, and supported during recovery from substance abuse and mental health disorders. To learn more, call us at (512) 759-8330.