A career change can significantly impact an individual’s mental health, both positive and negative, depending on various factors. Here are some ways in which a career change can influence mental health.
Some of the positive impacts of our career change
- Increased satisfaction. If the career change aligns better with an individual’s passions, skills, and values, job satisfaction and a sense of purpose can increase. This can positively impact mental well-being.
- Reduced stress. Transitioning to a career that is a better fit can reduce work-related stress and burnout. A more suitable job can lead to a healthier work-life balance and improved mental health.
- Enhanced confidence: Successfully navigating a career change can boost self-esteem and confidence. Overcoming challenges associated with change can contribute to a sense of accomplishment.
- New opportunities. A career change can open up new opportunities for growth, skill development, and learning. The excitement of learning new things can have positive effects on mental health.
The possible negative impact of our career change
- Uncertainty and anxiety. Career changes often involve stepping into the unknown, which can trigger feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. The fear of the unknown and concerns about job stability can contribute to stress.
- Financial concerns. If the career change involves a decrease in income or a period of unemployment, financial stress can impact mental well-being.
- Identity and self-worth. Our careers are often tied to our sense of identity and self-worth. A career change might lead to feelings of identity crisis or questioning one’s value, especially if the change involves a shift away from a long-held profession.
- Social pressure. Societal or familial expectations related to career choices can lead to pressure and guilt when making a career change. This can impact mental health by causing inner conflict and stress.
- Loneliness and isolation. A career change might involve leaving behind a familiar workplace and colleagues, leading to isolation in a new environment.
Tips for managing mental health during a career change
- Plan ahead. Carefully plan your career change, considering the financial implications and potential challenges. Having a solid plan can reduce anxiety and uncertainty.
- Seek support. Talk to friends, family, or a therapist about your career change plans and the emotions you’re experiencing. Emotional support can help alleviate stress.
- Practice self-care. Prioritise self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, spending time with loved ones, and engaging in hobbies that bring you joy.
- Set realistic expectations. Understand that a career change might come with challenges. Setting realistic expectations can help manage disappointment and frustration.
- Stay flexible. Be open to adjustments along the way. Not every aspect of the career change might go as planned, but being adaptable can help reduce stress.
- Focus on skills. Emphasise the skills and experiences you’ve gained from your previous career. These can be valuable assets in your new role.
- Professional help. If the stress and anxiety become overwhelming, consider seeking professional help from a therapist specialising in career transitions and mental health.
Remember that a career change is a significant life decision, and it’s normal to experience a range of emotions throughout the process. Taking steps to prioritise your mental health during this time is crucial for a successful and fulfilling transition.
Dina Relojo is the social media manager of Psychreg. She is a high school teacher from the Philippines.
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