Coping with career related stress
In the past year, over 12.5 million people have taken days off work due to work related stress, depression and anxiety. Like many mental health issues, it’s a common problem that is barely spoken about within society. Whether its caused by having a large workload, lack of support, or issues with co-workers, your feelings need to be taken seriously to prevent a negative long-term effect on your life.
As a Counsellor based near Warrington, Cheshire, I have spent a great deal of time assisting people in finding ways to manage the pressures of a demanding career and I’ve created this list of the top key habits to form that can help you to cope with work related stress.
Leave work at the office
Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night worrying about your next deadline? You need to stop! Did you know that you will spend 90,360 hours in work over your lifetime? That’s more than enough time to spend focusing on your career – don’t you agree? If you are spending your evenings worrying about deadlines, targets, and problems from work you could find your mood and relationships are being negatively affected by it. It’s easier said than done but more often than not leaving the building does not mean you will leave your stresses too.
You need to make an active effort to detach from work related issues and enjoy your evenings and weekends. If you are constantly dwelling on negatives it can have a detrimental effect on your mental health, potentially leading to depression. If you make a conscious effort to focus less on the negatives of work eventually you will stop worrying as much.
Don’t eat at your desk
Over 60% of employees don’t take regular lunch breaks and if you are one of them, that needs to change. It’s essential that you have some time to recharge and your lunch break has to be an actual rest from work. Staying in the office is not ideal either. Removing yourself from the work setting can help you to truly relax and return to the office feeling more productive and with a fresher perspective.
Another key positive of doing this is that you can get some light exercise. Weight gain is a common side effect of depression, anxiety, and work related stress, so by taking yourself out of the office and away from the glaring screen can help both mentally and physically. If you have a park nearby the office, you should go and sit there with your lunch – surrounding yourself by greenery can improve your mood and productivity. Even if you are in the centre of a city removing yourself from the work environment can help you relax and leave you feeling recharged for the rest of the working day.
Make time for family and friends
If you focus all of your energy on your career you can risk unintentionally upsetting your family and friends. They may feel neglected and unappreciated due to late nights at the office and your preoccupied behaviour. It’s easy to think that you need to work late for your family, but the most important thing is that you are part of your family. Dwelling on incidents from work can do you no good whereas you can improve your mindset for the next day by unwinding and resetting yourself.
In order to be happy you need to have a harmonious work-life balance and that takes more effort than you might think. In a sense, your friends and families are similar to cars – they can help you go further but only if you put in the petrol. You need to decide how to keep the relationships fuelled and whether this is a quick pint on Thursdays with your friends, a quiet night in with your partner on Saturdays or a movie with the kids on Sundays. The social circle can provide you with great support and improve your mood but only if you grant them your time.
Talk about your challenges
Work can feel like a cross you have to carry on your own. You don’t want to add it to your partner’s worries or go into detail with your friends, and you can’t talk to your colleagues about it without potentially causing more issues. Not wanting to share your burden can be an isolating feeling and sharing your emotions is the best way to resolve your issues.
Talking to a Counsellor who has experience supporting people suffering from career related stress, can be a great way to help yourself better understand and manage your feelings. If you have multiple areas of stress, they can help you find the root and address it. Everything would be kept confidential, so you don’t need to worry about repercussions or office gossip. Talking freely to someone who won’t judge you can be very cleansing and enables you to gain a new perspective and, in time, feel more positive and calm.
Get some sleep and eat well
Sometimes work can start nasty behaviour circles – you’re behind with your workload so you can’t sleep, but then you can’t hit your targets as you are too tired to concentrate. Without the right amount of sleep, your brain doesn’t work properly and that can make it harder for you to perform in work. Lack of sleep can cause more friction with your colleagues and loved ones too as it increases your irritability, leading to more stress. Set yourself a strict bedtime and ensure you wind down for at least an hour beforehand, ideally away from screens as they will keep you stimulated.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of people who suffer from career related stress, anxiety or depression can gain weight as a result of their condition. It might have been a rapid gain or a slow increase but either way, it adds to your unhappiness. By concentrating on eating better you can provide a welcome distraction from your work issues whilst also improving your health and general well-being. As the saying goes ‘you are what you eat’.
Get help coping with career related stress
If you are trying to balance career related stress, anxiety or depression and need someone to talk to I can help. I am a fully qualified counsellor in Stretton, near Warrington that has a wealth of experience of dealing with people in situations like yours.