“It's changed my life to have a part-time job as a school crossing supervisor. It's only ten hours a week, but it gives me human contact and most of the parents and kids are very nice.”
Work comes in all shapes and forms, and what is work for one person may be a hobby or passion for another. What is common to all, is that work provides structure, purpose and connection, and can be an important way to contribute to our independence and society.
For many people, work is a reason to get out of bed in the morning. In return, it can nurture our self-esteem, social connections, financial security, status, and sense of identity. When work is satisfying and rewarding, it benefits our wellbeing. It has also been shown to aid recovery from mental illness.
Take a look at the resources below to know more about workplace wellbeing. We also have pages on connecting with co-workers, supporting co-workers, and purposeful activity.
A closer look
Studies show that work is generally good for health
Research confirms that work, whether full time, part-time, paid or unpaid, can play an important role in promoting good health and wellbeing - for us and our families. If we are unwell, it can help us to get better more quickly. Working can also bring us benefits by making us less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviours - like excessive drinking and smoking. (Source)
Work offers many of the same benefits as other purposeful activities
Workplaces need to be healthy too
To reap the mental health benefits of work, it is important that our workplaces are healthy too. Safe work practices, a supportive workplace culture, good relationships with work colleagues, and sensible hours are all important in making work beneficial to our wellbeing. When these things are present, we can feel valued, supported, and we can be productive in our work. If they are absent, however, work may not be healthy for us. (Source)
Maintaining a work-life balance requires understanding
There are times when work and life will not always be in balance. Sometimes work may need us more, whereas other times, family life may need our attention more. In these times of increased demand, it is important that we don’t overdo it and cause ourselves undue stress. During these periods, it is useful for families to have understanding, and employers and employees to have trusting and respectful partnerships.
Work can benefit you and your employer
Getting back to work after a mental illness can be an important step in recovery, and you do not need to be 100% better to get therapeutic benefits. Research shows that the majority of workplaces that hire people recovering from or managing a mental illness have positive experiences. The important thing is establishing open communications so that both you and your employer feel supported. (Source)
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool (opens in a new tab).