Have you ever walked out from your office thinking “I will never go back there again”? Yes, we probably all have, and then went back in after a breath of fresh air. This might be a bit of a dramatic exception but point is, stress is kind of unavoidable when it comes to work. Think of the fact that 65% of Americans consider work as being their mains source of stress[i]. This leaves a very low percentage of people who are truly either happy or at least not stressed with their jobs.
Question is, since stress is so omnipresent and we can find no way of escaping it, what can we do to at least fight it?
First of all, let’s see what the main stress factors within work are.
Low salaries represent a headache for almost anyone in the industry of work. Regardless of the job you have to perform, if the pay at the end of the month is also low, there is no motivational factor to keep you going. And stress cradles in slowly.
Too much work, too little time. Many times we are hired to do a job and we end up doing 10 more things beyond our initially agreed upon tasks. So we start to worry about how to get it all done, how to prioritize and so on.
Unclear expectancies. Have you ever been in the situation that one manager ask you to do something and then another one walks in and asks you to do something entirely contradictory? And then you are left to wonder on your own what the right path to follow is.
And the worst thing about all this is that you cannot just shut down your stress intake the moment you get home. And most of the time disconnecting after a hard day of work is the biggest challenge.
I know how hard it is to get decent sleep while your mind still wonders upon that project at work that has to be done by the end of the week and you are still nowhere. Yes, that’s stress.
Now the biggest remaining question is how do we fight stress back?
- Keep track of your main “stressors”
You can do this by recording your thoughts and feelings the moment a stressful situation arises. You can see which situations make you feel the most stressed and which you can still cope with. You can take notes of your ways of coping with these situations and see which requires the most of your attention and which can be dealt with more easily.
- Set some boundaries
Thing is, nowadays it’s easy to become stressed well, about everything and anything. If we do not set some boundaries in place that we can keep track of and follow, we risk to stress ourselves out due to some minor issues and become frustrated out of nothing. What do I mean by rules? For instance decide that mornings are for checking emails and before bed and after getting home from work no more email checking is getting done!
- Take breaks (every once in a while)
When we stress we lose a lot of energy on basically nothing. Just stressing itself might feel like a huge exhaustion. So what can be done after a “stressor”? Time to charge the batteries. This might mean taking a walk in your favorite park or go to the gym (this helps me disconnect most of the time). You have to figure out what helps you take your mind off the things that cause stress in your life.
- Try a healthier coping mechanism
Many people drown their sorrows, quite literally, in alcohol for instance. However, did you know that alcohol can only worsen the effects stress has upon your body and even increase anxiety? So although it might sound like a perfect momentary solution, it’s quite the opposite. Instead of going to these “salvations” try instead developing a healthier response to your “stressors”. You could try spending more time with your family, reading a novel you enjoy or just trying to find the time to take a breath, to take a break.
These being said, the truth is, as we all know it, that avoiding stress nowadays is almost impossible. So instead of trying to find ways to work around stress and stressors, the best we can do is come up with efficient ways of coping with it.
If you had any experience that helped you cope better with stress, do share it with us, we are eager to learn new methods!