There may be many instances in your life that trigger your fight-or-flight response, often when there is a crisis. Your body produces and releases adrenaline as well as cortisol. The first raises your heart rate and blood pressure while cortisol helps limit functions that are not essential as well as increasing your blood sugar levels.
These are the exact same symptoms that people under a lot of stress feel. If the issue becomes chronic, then your body and mental health will begin to suffer.
It’s very common for American workers to feel stressed at work, and it’s even more common for them to try and ‘push through’ these tough situations. That may be because certain environments teach us to be grateful for the jobs we have so that speaking up or changing anything could be next to impossible.
Common stressors for workers include lack of autonomy, too much work, low salaries, no room to grow, lack of support and challenges. When more of these factors combine, it may be even more difficult for a person to break out of the cycle of stress.
Failing to regain control may lead to serious physical and mental problems since overexposure to stress hormones can and will disrupt your body’s natural processes. This, in turn, could open up a slew of complications, including high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and anxiety.
Stressed workers have also been known to suffer from heart disease, depression, and obesity. A lack of good sleep and proper diet, both of which can be affected by these stress hormones, will undoubtedly lead to the inability to focus at work. In the end, you’ll begin the cycle anew so that snapping out of it might seem impossible.
In some cases, workers might have to take drastic measures in order to get back on track, but that’s not always possible. It might be particularly impossible for them to seek out new opportunities so a better, more productive idea, would be to try and deal with their stress head-on.
Keep in mind that these issues can arise at any time for anybody. Small changes around your workplace can snowball into you taking more responsibility than you have resources. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is only common among those who dislike their jobs, to begin with. In fact, it might be more likely for those who love their jobs to become stressed more easily since they’d be willing to put in the extra work in order to bring projects that are near and dear to their hearts to fruition.
Here’s what you can do in order to improve your work-life according to the American Psychological Association, National Sleep Foundation, Mayo Clinic, and Harvard Health!
Zeroing in on your stress factor can help you make changes that will positively impact not only your career but also your home life. You might be feeling dread whenever you head into work, but it’s important to know exactly what is causing your distress.
Another important aspect of this step is keeping track of how you react to daily stressors. Once you’ve pinpointed your reactions you’ll have an easier time dealing with them. If your anxiety levels rise, then you could look into breathing exercises or meditation, for example.
At home or in your free time you should look for coping strategies that will help rebalance your life. A new and more intense workout routine will ensure that you don’t fall back on unhealthy habits, while picking up a new (or old!) hobby can help take your mind off work. Focusing on positive things that bring you joy will make it easier for you to deal with stress while on the clock.
Since high levels of stress can seriously mess up your sleeping pattern, trying to have a set bedtime might be difficult, at least at first.
Don’t leave it all to chance, though, and look for rituals that might help prepare you for bed. In most cases, taking an hour break from electronics might work best. More so than any other color, the blue light from your screen messes with your body’s ability to prepare for sleep because it blocks a hormone called melatonin that makes you sleepy. Reading might be a suitable form of entertainment that could replace scrolling through social media.
Don’t bring work home if you can help it. We know, we all feel like venting to our loved ones sometimes, and that’s okay. Dedicate a few minutes to this and set clear boundaries. Once your minutes are up, you’re not allowed to bring anything from the office up for the rest of the day, even if you ‘forgot’ to do so earlier.
Remember, once you’re at home you deserve the chance to relax, not dampen the rest of your day.
Speaking to your boss, supervisor, or manager about your stressors might be difficult depending on your working environment and how empathetic said boss might be, but we encourage you to do so. If you are overworked, they might be willing to help. Just make sure that you go into the meeting with a clear plan of action as well as ideas on how to improve your work life. By doing so, you’ll actually show them that you’re willing to put in the work and aren’t just looking for an easy way out.
In the meantime, try to work on your problem-solving skills. If you show this to your employer they might be even more receptive to your need for change. Not only will this help your performance, but it will also stop you from going down a path of negative thoughts.
You may even ask for help from a health professional as well as an employee advocate. Both are trained to give you advice that will make your life so much easier.
Remember, it’s not normal to feel overly stressed at work so you shouldn’t feel stuck in this sort of limbo. Even small, gradual changes will improve your work life in the long run, so try to apply some of our tips whenever and wherever you can!
If you’ve ever asked for help from your boss, tell us about your experience down below? What sort of techniques do you use to unwind?