We spend a lot of our time at work. While working can enrich our lives and provide us with financial stability, it can also be a source of great stress. However, learning how to deal with work stress can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
There can be many sources of stress in our lives. Work stress is different from other stressors because of the unique challenges that arise from a working environment. Some examples of work-specific stressors can be:
A demanding boss: A boss who does not respect your time or appreciate your contributions can make you feel overworked and undervalued
Confusing roles: You may have been hired to perform specific roles but are constantly asked to do work outside your responsibilities
Impending deadlines: Deadlines with little to no flexibility can cause you to panic when projects are not getting done on time
Traffic: Commuting to and from work through heavy traffic can cause frustration, anger, and boredom
Workplace dynamics: You might have conflicts with certain members of your team who you have to see every day
Low pay: Not being paid what you are worth can lead to financial instability
Although work is just one part of our lives, it can affect many other aspects of who we are. A study published by BJPsych Bulletin found that “unrealistic demands, lack of support, unfair treatment, low decision latitude, lack of appreciation, effort-reward imbalance, conflicting roles, lack of transparency, and poor communication” all contributed to higher levels of work stress.
We might find that instead of taking time to do hobbies we love or exercise or cook healthy food, we are spending the time we have after work to de-stress from the day's challenges. This can leave little to no time for personal activities, extracurriculars, or even regular responsibilities. Your relationships, physical health, and mental health may all suffer from the stress of work.
Common signs of stress include:
Aching and tense muscles
Getting sick more frequently
Inability to focus
Changes in appetite
If you are experiencing any of these as a result of work, learning how to manage your stress effectively can help you eliminate these symptoms and have a healthier relationship with work.
One of the best ways to work toward a healthier relationship with work is to actively seek a work-life balance that works for you. Work-life balance can ensure that you are not thinking and stressing about work every second of the day. A healthy work-life balance might also mean that you set boundaries when it comes to work, ultimately helping you reduce stress. Setting boundaries might look like:
Not answering your emails outside of working hours
Learning how to say no to responsibilities outside of your scope
Asking for a raise
Finding a new job
Not getting involved in workplace drama
Not tying your self-worth to your work
These are all preventative measures that you can take to avoid unnecessary stress at work.
You can de-stress from work in a variety of ways. Take some time to think about what helps you feel better when you are stressed, then apply that to work. Some ways you can de-stress include:
Doing things to reduce your stress before the workday even starts can help you start the day off in a good mindset. You can practice yoga, wake up early to do a hobby you love, or set intentions for the day ahead.
You can de-stress at work by taking steps to make your work environment more calm and peaceful. You cannot control everything about your working environment, but you can add things that are in your control. You might consider adding some plants to improve the green space in your working area or choose to block out time during your workday to meditate or practice mindfulness.
To de-stress after work, you can focus on things that will refresh and invigorate you the most. To get yourself out of the work mindset and stop thinking about work worries, you might take a warm shower or bath right after work, exercise in a group sport, or journal out your thoughts so they can stay on the paper and out of your mind.
While work can be stressful, learning how to de-stress and change the things in your control can help you find greater peace.
Work can be stressful. Whether you have a strict boss, demanding schedule, complicated workplace dynamics, or impending deadlines, you might feel like it is impossible to stop thinking about work when you get home. Stress from work can affect your physical and mental health. Luckily, you can learn to deal with work stress by setting boundaries at work and focusing on the things that you can change that are in your control. You can de-stress before, during, and after work by focusing on what makes you happy and brings joy into your life. If you are having trouble dealing with work stress, SokyaHealth can help. Our therapists know that you are a unique individual and that your situation is specific to you. We can help you learn how to set boundaries and find ways to reduce the amount of stress that work brings into your life. Call us at (877) 840-6956 to learn more today.