How many people around you have admitted to being stressed out at work? Do you also feel overwhelmed at the office? It’s actually more common than you think, but a lot of Americans think that this is just par for the course.
But it is not! In fact, two stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) are triggered to release through our bodies when the demand on us outweighs our resources. This ‘demand’ can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Perhaps your workload is piling up, or the workplace culture is getting to you. Maybe your boss is a constant, demanding nag!
When these things reach a tipping point, we can begin to feel under pressure due to an emotional overload, and we begin to stress out.
Instead of accepting this feeling as being a part of your life, you must find ways to combat it. Of course, the first step in doing so is identifying your triggers. Look around you and try to take note of when you feel the dread setting in. If at first it might seem like everything is getting to you, try to hold on to a journal and make small notes on your emotions every now and again.
Before long, you will have found the culprit. Now it’s time to apply these 6 tips that will make your work life so much easier!
Don’t suffer in silence
Plenty of American workers don’t speak up even when they feel they’re being overworked. The issue at hand is that, in most cases, these burdens seem to progress. You might have been asked to take care of a certain small task, which then involved in helping the team with a fully-fledged project, which then progressed to you being at the helm of a project on top of your original duties.
Because these changes might be small but incremental, workers don’t have the foresight to ask for help ahead of time. It’s kind of like that saying about a frog in a pot of water. If you toss the frog in a boiling pot it’ll immediately jump out but if you bring the water to a boil slowly, it might never leave.
(This is a myth, by the way, but it’s a good example of what we’re trying to portray.)
Set a meeting up with your boss, but don’t just go in with your complaints and expect them to handle them immediately. Instead, make sure to cite your original contract and show that you’re being overworked. Offer solutions, as this will show them that you’re willing to make changes for the benefit of everyone involved.
Try not to get emotional and keep the discussion as professional as possible. In most cases, you can also give your boss the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps some underlying issues you have not been previously informed about caused this change in your workload. If it’s a temporary problem, your boss should help you manage your work and time better.
Of course, we’re talking about ideal scenarios. Not everyone might be as willing to listen. If this is the case in your office then you might want to discuss your situation with an employee representative or trade union.
Bottom line is, don’t suffer in silence!
Learn to say no
If you often feel compelled to say ‘yes’ to everything, this might be because of traits taught to you during childhood. In most cases, people who do this may feel that by rejecting a request or proposition will signify that they cannot obey rules and thus will be rejected themselves.
But our physical and mental health is balanced by the things we agree to and things that we do not. You must learn to say no, even in a working environment, despite whatever anxieties you might feel.
Most workers feel or have been told they’re lucky to even have jobs, which might deter them from disagreeing with anything. They might believe that keeping their heads down and being grateful for the opportunity is simply what they must do in order to flourish and gain bonuses or promotions.
Learning how to do this might be difficult in all work environments, but it could be particularly daunting for freelancers. As self-employed people must always deal with a degree of financial insecurity, it’s no wonder they’d agree to any project that comes their way. But remember, sometimes saying no sends one clear message above all, that you’re busy, which might instill the fear of missing out on your potential clients.
Put things into perspective
If you take your work home with you after you’re done, all you’ve managed to do is soil your free time with more stress. It might be difficult to separate the two at first, but it’s one of the most important steps in working on your stress levels.
Start slowly by turning off email and other notifications from work. Give yourself no more than half an hour to talk about work with your spouse or friends and then focus on other aspects of your life.
Trying to change your perspective will help alleviate some of your stress levels, too. It might also shed some light on whether or not you are overworked. In some rare cases, your stress might be a product of another issue you haven’t yet pinpointed. But in a job environment, looking at your workload in an objective way could help you tackle your tasks more easily.
Take breaks and relax
When you’re overworked and it feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day, it might seem counterintuitive to take breaks. But working without breaks could cause more harm than good. First of all, you won’t be doing your job any favors as you’ll be more prone to making mistakes on top of processing information more slowly.
Stress has the added adverse effect of closing off the creative parts of your cognitive processes. Wait a minute, you might say, I don’t work in a creative field anyway! But it’s not just artists that will suffer from this. Your creativity will help you overcome obstacles quickly and efficiently!
Furthermore, high stress levels can also distort our perception of time, which makes taking work-related tasks more difficult.
If you take short, frequent breaks you’ll notice improvements in your daily life as well. Those who don’t typically reach for junk foods for emotional support while often abandoning workout regiments. In the end, they end up having trouble sleeping, and thus the cycle continues.
If you have exhausted all your options, and you are still struggling, then it might be worth looking for a new job. “If [a stressful job] doesn’t make you ill it can erode your confidence in your own abilities, which then makes it harder to leave and find another job.”
When looking for a new role, it is worth researching a company’s work culture, so you do not find yourself in the same situation. Sites like Glassdoor survey workplaces, and also ask about management style during job interviews, suggests Archer.
Many workers wrongly assume that pushing through a difficult time is worth it as long as it doesn’t make them physically ill. But you always have to consider your mental health too. Your abilities and confidence might suffer and building them back up might take a lot of time.
Have you exhausted all your options? Then it’s time to move on. Find a new job where your skills and patience will be rewarded, not taken advantage of.
The next time around make sure to research a company’s work culture. During interviews ask them about a typical day around the office, ask about the person you are replacing, and why. This should give you a hint as to whether or not you’ll end up in the same situation you’ve been trying to avoid!
What are some of your own personal tips that have helped you destress after a long day at work? Let us know in the comments down below!
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