Are you feeling overwhelmed with life? Are you the head or co-head of your household and have a full-time job? If you said yes, we already know your life is stressful and busy! Despite the constant logging in and out, logging on and off, we have to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves. Self-care (yes, I know it’s such a buzzword but hear me out) is SO important for your overall well-being. We can’t pour from an empty glass, and what that means is that we cannot be our best selves if we are constantly depleted! Self-care also means actively managing our responses to stressful events, people, and situations. The amount of stress in the workplace alone is high for most Americans and growing. Studies show that the number of Americans who are extremely stressed at work is between 29% and 40%. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have found the following true for stress in the American workplace:
Workplace stress can be caused by a variety of factors such as disorganization, interpersonal conflict, multitasking, or physical discomfort. While it would be great to be able to eliminate stress completely, it is a more realistic approach to learn how to manage that stress and navigate your way through it! Very Well Mind suggests the following ways of managing your workplace stress:
This will include planning ahead, so you are not so rushed for time in the morning. Have your clothes out and ready to put on. Set your clock so that you have plenty of time to have a nutritious breakfast without being tempted to skip it or choose foods high in sugar or saturated fats. These things will help put you in a positive frame of mind to start your day.
If your duties in the workplace are unclear, it can cause confusion and stress in the environment. If you are not clear on what your responsibilities are, have a talk with your boss and get some clarity. Even if you have sought help before, try again and be open to hearing what others do to manage stress.
Interpersonal conflict in the workplace can be like a land mine ready to explode. It can start with two people and end up all over the office. Avoid conflict by staying away from workplace gossip. Stay out of political and religious discussions, which can be divisive. Stay away from office troublemakers unless it involves work. If you do find yourself embroiled in a conflict at work, take measures to deal with it appropriately. Have those tough conversations and get support from your boss or a mentor, if needed.
Being comfortable at work is important. It is difficult to be your best when your back is aching. Do everything you can to make yourself comfortable at work. It may mean an extra cushion for your chair or a change of shoes during the course of the day. Some people even put a small desk fan on their desk or a scented candle to be more comfortable. Check your posture and think about how reaching or slouching may be contributing to your aching back or legs.
Multitasking splits your focus and the result is less accuracy in what you accomplish. It is better, when you can, to finish one task before moving on to something else. You will feel much less frazzled. You may also feel more capable and accomplished at the end of the day. This helps you to feel less depleted, scattered, and drained.
It is great to excel at what you do, but when you are a perfectionist in all that you do, it can be very stressful to yourself and to those around you. Just do your best and go easy on yourself. Check your self-talk and be encouraging and compassionate with yourself as much as you can.
This is especially important if you have an office job and you sit all day. Going for a walk is invigorating and can help relieve some of that office stress. It is also a great exercise. Even if you can’t go for a walk at lunch, fit in some stretches at your desk or go for a walk around the office at some point during the day. Even tapping your feel or shifting your stance can help. Any movement helps!
Workplace stress is real and can affect your job performance and overall well-being. It can also carry over into your personal life, causing changes in your ability to be present with those you love. Stress can contribute to being vulnerable to illnesses such as colds, flu, and even heart disease. Managing your stress is one of the most important things you can do for yourself! Effective stress management will have an impact on your life at work and at home!
I am giving you permission to grieve, rest, relax, say no, ask for help, or whatever else you need to do. It is OKAY to take care of yourself, so you can show up healthier and happier for your coworkers, employees, and your family. If you have trouble managing your stress, contact a counselor who can help guide you along the way. There are many techniques and strategies you can learn to better manage your stress, improve your positive self-talk and increase compassion for yourself and others. We want to help you become the best version of yourself, via counseling or health coaching at Lifeologie Counseling Durham. We offer telehealth and in-person sessions for your convenience. We can’t wait for your call and to start this journey of stress management and healing with you!