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Work can be a big part of our lives so it makes sense that it affects our wellbeing in different ways.

Meaningful work can give you purpose and motivation. Having a difficult time at work or in your life can make work feel overwhelming.

Workplace culture

Workplace culture is influenced by management and employee relationships and can significantly impact your mental health. A negative environment can form when employees feel undervalued and unsupported. Overwhelming work demands, lack of safety in raising concerns and experiences like bullying can affect your mental wellbeing. Employers are required to make sure everyone feels safe at work.

If you have raised concerns and nothing has changed, you may want to try these things:

  • Speak to someone you trust – this could be an HR representative, co-worker, friend or whānau.
  • Speak to your union representative – your union will advocate for your rights in the workplace.
  • Check your workplace policy about bullying.
  • Make a formal complaint.
  • Use an employee assistance programme.
  • Check out what Employment New Zealand has to say about bullying.

A positive work culture and supportive colleagues can make all the difference. Even if you aren’t working in a job you love, the people around you can get you through the day.


A busy workplace can cause stress and burnout. Even if you feel supported at work, burnout can still happen from working in a physically or mentally demanding job or other things in your life outside of work. Burnout happens when we are pushed to our mental, physical and emotional limits. 

Burnout and depression can have similar physical and emotional symptoms, but they are not the same. Burnout is caused by long-term stress or overworking and can sometimes lead to a depressive episode. While you can have depression and burnout at the same time, depression will not cause burnout. Learn more about the signs of depression here.

If you are feeling burnt out, you might find that things that usually come easily to you require more effort. Even getting up for work in the morning can feel completely overwhelming. You might feel that you don’t have the energy to do things outside of work any more.

Feeling exhausted from the demands of life is normal, and everyone needs support from time to time.

Finding balance can be hard, especially when you may need to work long hours or multiple jobs to support yourself and your whānau.

Here are a few things you can try:

  • Talk to a friend about how you are feeling.
  • Eat well and get enough sleep.
  • Take breaks at work.
  • Try reconnecting with something you enjoy like sport or a hobby.

You can ask for help at any time. Nothing is never ‘not serious enough’. If you need help, it is okay to ask. Our page on mental health resources has more information.

To speak to a trained counsellor, you can call or text 1737, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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