Health and Wellness

Coping with Workplace Stress (without Giving up on your Goals)

Workplace stress is frighteningly common. A little stress, after a long day, or a particularly grueling shift is normal. You’d be expected to go home feeling tired, upset, and tense after an argument, or an emotionally draining day. But, for some of us, it gets much worse than this. When workplace stress stops being something that gets you down after a long day and starts being something that affects your home life, your relationships, your ability to eat and sleep and your joy of life, it’s not normal, and it’s not ok. But, because so many of us work long hours, in busy jobs, often while trying to juggle other commitments and worrying about money and job security, workplace stress is common.

It can sometimes feel as though the only way that you can avoid being stressed out by your job is to lower your expectations and stop striving for success. If you aren’t pushing for promotion and recognition, you can take it easy and enjoy yourself, right? Well, no, that’s not usually the way it works. Even if you took a step or two down the career ladder, you could face the same stress and pressure, without benefits like higher pay, more respect and responsibility, and bonuses. So, instead of giving up on your goals, let’s find some ways to manage your workplace stress, or even avoid it altogether.

Find A Focus

Often, when we’re stressed out at work, it’s because we’re trying to do too much of everything. When this happens, it’s easy to get lost. You can quickly find that trying to do everything means that you can’t do anything well. So, you are working harder than ever, putting in lots of hours and effort, but getting no results. When this happens, for the good of your stress levels, it’s time to focus down on one thing. It’s better to do one thing well, before moving on to the next, than to do everything poorly.

At home, this can be as simple as writing a to-do list and giving each chore your full attention, before finishing it and moving on to the next, instead of trying to do loads of things at the same time. Work might seem more complicated if you’ve got a lot of responsibilities and need to excel in many areas to gain promotions and recognition. But it isn’t, not really.

Give yourself a clear focus. Are there specific areas of your work that you’d like to improve? Or a task that you have to do but don’t feel good at? Set yourself goals, speak to your managers, and put plans into place. Then, start writing to-do lists. Focus on one thing, whether that is replying to emails, finding a company that is developing compounds at a reasonable price, making notes for a meeting, or preparing a presentation. If other things come up, add them to your to-do list for later, don’t lose focus. Working like this can make everything seem less daunting, and so, less stressful.

Find a Way to Switch Off

You’ve probably heard people talking about switching off after work, or complaining that they struggle to switch off after a tough day. That’s all too common. You get home from a hard day at work, and you keep thinking about work, worrying about tomorrow, analyzing your performance, asking yourself what you could do differently. Ultimately, even hours after getting home, you can find it hard to sleep, and if you do this regularly, it can start to feel like you never get any time off.

Unfortunately, switching off, while essential, isn’t always easy. There’s not just a magical switch in your brain, we don’t all switch off in the same way, and you might even have to use different methods on different days.

But, it is helpful if you can find something that helps you to move on from work. To get out of the working mindset. Some people find that they need to talk about their day, so do this as soon as you get home. Then, try going for a run or practicing another exercise to burn off some negative energy. Or, taking a shower, reading a book, cooking a meal or even just talking a few minutes by yourself to meditate and focus your mind could be enough to separate work from home and change your mindset. Then, enjoy your evening without worry.

Lifestyle Changes

Some unhealthy lifestyle habits increase your stress levels, and decrease your abilities to do well in work, or unwind at the end of the day. If you are feeling stressed out all of the time, consider making some healthy changes to your diet, getting more exercise, getting into a sleep routine, and even looking at who you are spending your time with. Try to surround yourself with positive and encouraging people.

Change Your Work Habits

Your own work habits might be making your stress worse, instead of the job itself. If you work in a rather haphazard way, without any thought of organization and time management, things might be harder, and so more stressful, than they need to be. Change your work processes, make to-do lists, learn to manage your time at work, and make sure each day has a clear focus, and you might start to find things easier.

Learn to Recognize the Signs of Stress

Again, this isn’t always easy. Mainly because stress affects us all in different ways, so, you can’t just read about it. You need to learn about your body and mind, to become more aware of how stress affects you. But, if you do start to recognize the signs of stress, you are in a better position to take steps to reduce your stress level, perhaps by taking some time off, getting some early nights, making lifestyle changes or seeing your doctor, much sooner, because it has taken hold.

Some common signs of stress include difficulty sleeping, being unable to concentrate, feeling fatigued and sluggish, a loss of interest in things that you enjoy, and feeling impatient, anxious, and aggressive. Physical signs might include spot breakouts, mouth ulcers, muscle tensions, panic attacks, headaches, and changes to your toilet habits.

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