Stress is fuelled by so many different things. Sometimes it’s situational and fleeting, like running late for an appointment. Other stressors are more long-winded and stay on our minds for days, week, heck, years even. In the latter, there’s no quick solution or light at the end of the tunnel.
This type of stress is usually related to high-pressure jobs or running a business. And it might not even be just the never-ending list of tasks to do. Work stress can be caused by conflicts with co-workers, low salaries, few opportunities for growth, a lack of support, not enough control over your day, and unclear expectations.
Unfortunately, these stressors don’t just go away at 5.00PM. You might resolve one problem until something else comes up. It’s important to accept that all types of jobs have some level of stress. What’s more important here is to understand how you respond to it.
If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed at work, here’s what you need to do.
Track your stressors
Buy a journal and record every moment that you feel stressed. Write down the situation and assign a number, from 1-0, determining the severity of your stress (10 being the most severe). Express how you feel, who was involved, the physical setting, and how you reacted. Was it through anger? Did you go for a walk? Was it resolved?
Develop healthy responses
Instead of trying to fight the stress, work with it. Once you understand a little bit more about what causes you to stress out and how you typically react, you can implement healthy choices when you feel the tension rising. Try different strategies until you find a few that work for you. This could include exercising, listening to music or meditating. While it’s not always easy just to leave the office at a whim, taking a quick break can make a big difference to how you handle the rest of your day. Even if it’s as simple as completing a breathing exercise in the bathroom for a couple of minutes to recharge.
Establish boundaries & communicate them
It’s easy to feel like you need to be available 24/7 for your employer, clients or team. But this isn’t natural, nor good for you. Set some boundaries between you and work. It could be as simple as not checking your email after 5.30PM. It’s also important to communicate these plans to keep you accountable. Suggest any strategies that you come up with. This could be resources or making changes to your physical workspace so it’s more comfortable.
Stress has negative connotations associated with it, too. The key is to know the perfect amount of stress, and where to draw the line between positive and unhealthy stress.
Find that sweet stress spot, where it motivates you.