If you’re working in a job you don’t like, you might feel the same way.
Work stress can destroy your peace of mind, your health, and your life overall. Pretty soon you’re not sleeping, not eating well (where did all those M & M’s go anyway?), and you’re not much fun to hang out with anymore. Depression and anxiety start to creep in and you wonder, “Why am I doing this?”
It’s easy to forget that your work is not your life. It’s work. So while it’s a big part of what you do every day, you can change it.
You spend so much of your time at work that it can can feel like your life, and it’s really critical to your health and well being that it’s right. It can’t just be manageable. You don’t want to be muddling through so much of your own life. You really need to kick the work stress.
Now of course, it goes without saying that anything in life – work included – comes with some stress. But if you’re finding that you’re negatively impacted by what’s happening at work, then it’s time for you to think about what needs to change.
Changes To Kick Work Stress
Here’s where I tell you what you’ve heard before. All the stuff that your mom told you: Eat right. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Drink water. Meditate. Talk to your friends. It’s all good advice, and it will probably help you manage most of the stress you’re dealing with.
Here’s the hard part: How do you do all the stuff that’s good for you when you are feeling so bad? (And what you really want to do is apply for the M & M Speed-Eating Tournament?)
Here are a couple of things that should help:
1. Make the good habits easier and the hard habits harder. Set yourself up for success and not failure, and put obstacles in the way of things that you know will ultimately stress you out more. So if you know that right now staying up late and watching a marathon of “The Good Wife” re-runs will feel good, you’ll probably be kicking yourself when your nerves feel ragged in the morning because you didn’t get enough sleep.
2. Remember the end goal. If you can consciously remind yourself that you need to go on a walk to lower your stress, you’ll be more likely to do it.
3. Assure yourself it’s temporary. As long as you’re not lying to yourself on this one, you can take some comfort in the fact that this stressful time won’t last forever. In fact, no matter what you do or don’t do, the stress at work is likely to change. But you may just have a highly stressful job which requires some action on your part to improve. So make a commitment that you’re going to take action, and that you won’t abandon yourself and let you suffer forever!
Embracing The Life You Want
1. Lay the groundwork. If your work stress feels under better control, it’s time to think about embracing the life you want. Be forewarned, embracing a new life IS transition. And transition IS stress. And even good stress is stressful. This is why many people feel so stuck in a bad work situation. The idea of doing something about it feels too overwhelming on top of everything else they have going on – even though doing something to improve their situation would make things better! But you have to dig in and accept that in order to take your life to the next level, you’re going to experience something resembling stress.
2. Decide that where you are is unacceptable. Make a decision to make a change – whether it’s radical, like making a career change, or small, like talking to your boss. Until you decide to change, you can’t look forward to a life that’s better, because you’re just stuck where you are right now.
3. Start the journey. You’ve stabilized your situation so that you’re not feeling the out-of-control stress that makes you miserable. You’ve decided to make real changes so that you don’t have to live in this high tension way forever. You need to live in a way that feels at ease and comfortable. So it’s time to start the journey toward the changes that feel right to you. What do you need in your life so that you can relax? Once you figure it out, you might still be working hard, but you’ll be experiencing the right kinds of work and stress, and because of that your system won’t be on overdrive.
If digging your way out of a situation that feels completely stressful feels murky you’re not alone. But you can do it. You deserve to be doing something that lights you up inside rather than drags you down. If you remember that you really do deserve – physically, emotionally, spiritually – to be doing something that’s healthier for you, you’ll keep the resolve you need to do what you need to do to see yourself through this challenging situation.
I’d love to hear your experience with work stress whether it’s happening now or in the past. How are you dealing with it or how did you deal with it in the past? What helped/or is helping? What advice would you share? (And where did all those M&M’s go??!!)