Do you find yourself losing concentration in work meetings? Are you more tired than usual? Do you find it difficult to create time for yourself to take breaks? You may be suffering from work related stress.
In today’s world employees have more demands on them than ever before, but that can leave you feeling depleted of energy, not sleeping or eating well, and on the path to being signed off work from stress.
How can I hold it together you may ask? Start with looking at your day, are you able to prioritise your jobs? Can you take small breaks? Is there an option to delegate some of your tasks to others? Telling yourself you can cope with the stress helps because as Dweck (2007) illustrates,“ the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.” (p6)
Sometimes it is difficult to get the right work/life balance, but it is really important to pace yourself through your working day so you don’t burn out. Ask for help from your manager, talk to your Occupational Health department, and above all listen to yourself. You will know when things are becoming too much to manage. Set boundaries and say ‘no’ when you need to.
Some people find visual cues really helpful to stop them from getting swept away with their day, such as a post card on their lap top saying “I am doing the best I can in the circumstances I am in” works for many. Jeffers 1987, writes” Whatever happens to me, given any situation, I can handle it!” (p16) these type of mantras can be helpful. Others benefit from regularly looking at a photograph of a calming place they went to e.g. a beach or local park.
To deal with work related stress when it gets out of control it is important to reach out for support. Go and visit your MD, and try not to isolate yourself. Looking after the basics are helpful eating regularly and getting enough sleep does help with concentration. Natural remedies such as rescue remedy (which can be bought at Walmart) can take the edge off the stress.
It is important to remember that some things are out of your control, your manager may have given you a big project to manage when you have not yet finished the one you are working on. Your work colleague may have suddenly left work unexpectedly due to a family bereavement. You are then left with a pile of extra work you did not anticipate for. How can you respond to this? Grab a pen and paper and write down in order of priorities what needs to be done and ask for help from other work colleagues if you can.
Make yourself a hot calming drink e.g camomile tea and remember that it is how you choose to respond that makes the differences. We are often thrown balls we think we cannot catch at work, try to readjust the pace you are working at. Accept that you cannot do it all, and be kind to yourself. I suggest making extra self care practice a priority to manage through your work related stress. Some people like walks in nature, bubble baths, watching movies, or reading novels. Do something you enjoy each day to try to address the pressure/pleasure balance.
Guided imagery, mindfulness and relaxation exercises can all help you keep balanced through this extra stress at work.
Dweck, C.S ( 2007) Mindset. The Random House Publishing Group
Aviva Keren Barnett (PgD, M.A ) is a UKCP registered existential psychotherapist and counselor. Aviva holds a Master of Arts in Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling. Aviva, a very passionate therapist, works with individuals on a private basis.