For years, the tech industry has been known as a highly competitive and fast-paced environment. With the pressure to always be innovative and the constant threat of being replaced by someone better, it's no surprise that many people in tech struggle with their mental health.
According to an OSMI Mental Health Tech Survey in 2021, 90% of people in tech have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
Fortunately, a growing movement of people in the tech industry is opening up about their mental health struggles. Promoting open dialogue will help to break the stigma surrounding mental health in tech.
If you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone. But before we find a remedy, we should start by identifying the root cause of the problem.
3 Key Factors That Contribute to Mental Health Challenges in Tech
Although several reasons and triggers can damage one's mental health, here are the three main ones.
Social media makes it easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. When you're constantly exposed to the success stories of others, it's easy to feel like you're not good enough. When all you see is the amazing things that others in tech are doing, you can start to doubt your abilities. This can lead to a downward spiral of negative thoughts and emotions, damaging your mental health.
Like an athlete with an assigned lane to run on, choose to focus on your path and journey. If you keep shifting your eyes to see how far your peers are, you'll lose focus of your lane. Instead, focus on your journey and celebrate each tiny and major milestone. Aim to be better than who you were a year ago, not better than your peers. This is how you grow.
Toxic Overworking Culture
"Chase the bag at all costs" is a common phrase that most of us have heard. Although giving your best to your work is important, taking care of yourself is even more important. If you're not careful, you can easily burn yourself out, even decreasing your productivity.
Find the fine line between giving your best and overworking yourself. Listen to your body when you need to take a break and relax. Take time to recharge, and you'll come back with renewed energy that will benefit you and your work.
Imposter syndrome is a condition where a developer feels like they are not good enough or qualified for their job. They fear that someday someone will discover that they're not good at their job, so they try to overcompensate by overworking and taking on too many projects. This leads to stress and anxiety and can even lead to depression.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to overcome imposter syndrome:
Realize that imposter syndrome is common and that you're not the only one feeling this way
Try to reframe your thinking and focus on your accomplishments rather than your failures
Build a support network of people you can talk to when you're feeling down
With some effort, you can overcome imposter syndrome, protect your mental health, and succeed in tech.
Don't suffer in silence if you're struggling with your mental health. You don't have to go through the struggles alone. You matter, and you can get the help you need. Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional. Sending lots of love.