It is important to know that it is normal to feel stressed from time to time. Some people find that stress is an excellent motivator at work, but there can be too much of good thing. This makes stress management extremely important for the modern working adult.
There are many reasons why work might be a source of stress. Perhaps a relationship at work is causing us sleepless nights, or we were passed over for that promised promotion, or our ever-increasing workload has become a problem. In our new reality, given that working from home has become part of our working lives, we might struggle with working from home because of an unconducive home environment. Or perhaps we might struggle from how different everything has become after the pandemic.
Whatever the reason, it’s important that we identify and address these stressors. Do any of these symptoms of unhealthy stress apply to you?
Stress management 101
If work is causing you to experience unhealthy levels of stress to the point that it impedes your daily functioning, there are some practical steps you can take to address work stress. You could:
- Speak to your employer. Have a conversation with your line manager and openly discuss any problems you’re having at work. Stress often decreases your ability to work productively – your supervisor has an incentive to ensure your health and comfort.
- Talk to a trusted friend or family member. Often times, accepting help from others could allow you to manage stress better. You might feel better if you have a strong support system to rely on when things feel difficult.
- Establish boundaries. Consider some level of separation between your home and professional life. For example, not being contactable at weekends or not checking work e-mails at home. Establishing a work-life balance takes time and effort, but the results will pay off eventually.
- Take some time off work. It’s important that you take time off for yourself occasionally. Doing this prevents overwork and burnout. Disconnecting in a way that fits your needs and preferences allows you to return to work in a better state.
- Reconsider negative thoughts. When you’re stressed, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision. You might start overgeneralising (e.g. everyone is always like this), magnifying (e.g. I couldn’t do this and therefore I’m incompetent), or minimising (e.g. My boss complimented me but I’m sure he didn’t mean it). These thinking patterns are unhealthy and may lead to further stress. But with conscious effort you can reconsider and reframe negative thoughts, thereby relieving stress.
- Develop healthy coping mechanisms. It might be tempting to crack open a beer or reach for another cigarette, but these coping mechanisms might lead to negative consequences like poorer health. You might consider exercising more often or other relaxation methods to deal with your stress instead.
Take the first step
If you are struggling mentally or know someone who needs help, please know that you are not alone. Consider teleconsulting a mental wellness professional on the WhiteCoat app at your discretion, and receive the help you need at your discretion. Click here for more information on our Mental Wellness service, or click here to go back to the blog.
This post was first published here by Annabelle Psychology, WhiteCoat’s Mental Wellness Partner.