By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
We all know that work can be a very enjoyable, but unfortunately also very stressful part of our lives. Even for those of us who love our jobs (like me!), the pressure and stress that can be unique to the workplace can get to you. Here are some suggestions about how to cope with it more effectively!
Consider why you are stressed at work
The first step in figuring out how to manage your work stress differently is really thinking about why you are stressed. Some work related stress is in the nature of the job while other stress is more related to the interpersonal environment or demands placed on you by your direct manager or higher ups. If you are stressed due to the nature of the job itself, it’s helpful to consider if a career change would help or if you need to relate to the job differently in some way. In this case, therapy is often helpful! If you are stressed due to the environment, it can be helpful to consider if feedback would be useful and well received. If so, definitely talk to your managers/higher ups. If not, perhaps consider if there is another job or position that would be a better fit. Again, therapy could be helpful in working through these questions and solutions!
If you have decided to stay at your company or position, consider the following as ways to make the best of a difficult situation.
For some, a big challenge is regarding boundaries and not setting them effectively. For you, setting boundaries might be more with yourself and in how much time you take to work on work activities outside of work hours (late night emails anyone?). For others, setting boundaries might be with your company and in letting them know what you need. You may need to consider asking for a reduced schedule, reduced demands on your time, a change in structure or responsibility, or more support.
2. Increase self-care
I know that self-care is a big buzz word these days, but that is for a good reason, which is that taking care of yourself needs to always be a priority! I have noticed that particularly when clients are struggling with work stress, their self-care tends to reduce right away. Taking even 15 minutes a day to add in something that is an enjoyable and fueling activity for you (walking, running, art activities, playing with your children or pets, cooking, reading, meditation) can be extremely helpful in managing stress at work and making sure that it does not leak into your non-work hours with your family.
3. Take brief breaks
Most of us tend to work even more when work stress is really high. It makes sense that we would want to reduce stress by just plowing through as much as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes our brains need more of a break in order to work effectively on our tasks. Taking periodic breaks of even just 1-5 minutes to walk, stretch your legs, close your eyes and take deep breaths, or to do a quick mindfulness meditation will help you focus more for the rest of the work day!
4. Meaning making
Sometimes work stress is related to feeling that your job does not have meaning or value in the world. I am of the belief that making some meaning out of your job, even if it is just that you are providing monetary support for yourself and your family, will help you feel better about spending your time there. Consider your values and how your job helps you serve them in your life and try to focus on that on the tough days.
5. Find support
Seeking out support from friends, family, a trusted colleague, or therapist can be so helpful when you are struggling with work stress. While it can help to “leave work at work,” it can also leave you feeling isolated with your struggles. Seeking a careful balance between talking about the struggles you are having and not ruminating or obsessing about them outside of work can be helpful. I have also found that most people experience stress in their jobs in one form or another in their lives so this is also a topic many people can relate to and understand.
As many of my clients know, I am a big believer in affirmations and intentionally choosing certain coping thoughts to help you get through a difficult time, and work stress is not different. Affirmations, or intentionally chosen thoughts and phrases, can really help you cope. For example, remembering “I am a valuable addition to our team” can help when you are feeling a lot of self-doubt. Or, thinking “this is just one part of my life and career” might help if you are feeling a lack of success or appreciation in the workplace.
I hope these ideas are helpful for you! If you find yourself experiencing a lot of work stress, or other kinds of stress of course, please reach out to us today! We at Thrive love working with adults who are balancing many areas of their lives and work with people from a collaborative approach to make changes.
At Thrive, we take a positive, client centered approach to therapy that is focused on creating a genuine connection with our clients. If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
As always, thanks for reading and comments are always welcome regarding any issues around child or teen psychotherapy services in San Diego by Thrive Therapy Studio.
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