Managing Work/Life Stressors

Many factors have contributed to the apparent increase in anxiety and depression in recent years. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, social media allows us to see many problems in the lives of others, and some sensitive people find themselves absorbing other people’s pain. But very commonly, stressors at work are the cause of anxiety and depression.

What could some of these stressors include? Increased workload, for one thing. Employees have much heavier workloads today than they did 15-20 years ago, and a person can only function at 150% for so long. Poor communication at work and a sense (accurate or not) that no one at work cares about how stressed out they are, add to this pressure. Finally, there are often personality conflicts at work that cause great anxiety.

So, what steps should you take to lessen your stress?

  1. Limit your social media and news consumption. There are many problems in the world; don’t make them your own.
  2. Start writing down events or conditions that cause you stress when they come to your notice. This act of writing them down can sometimes alleviate the discomfort right away. By seeing them in writing, you can sometimes see a solution or realize they’re not as big as they seem.
  3. As you determine the stressors that aren’t easily resolved, consider talking to the appropriate person. Often this is your direct manager. Without creating a combative atmosphere, try to present these stressful conditions, acknowledge that you think they may be affecting your performance, and ask for some suggestions regarding how they can be overcome. By acknowledging the manager’s authority and admitting you may be doing less than your best, you create a positive environment in which the manager recognizes you want to do better and are coming to him or her for help. Many times adjustments can be made that not only improve the situation but also improve relationships.
  4. Take time after work to unwind. Don’t open emails or take calls from work unless they’re absolutely necessary. Create a calming ritual at the end of the day.

These steps will help you manage the unmanageable stressors in your life. Keep in mind that if your anxiety or depression is so bad that you can’t get out of bed or don’t want to eat or take care of yourself, you should talk to a professional. When I work with my clients, I assist them in building skills to help them combat the stress of life.  It is a tricky dance to find your balance but entirely possible. If you can’t do it on your own, I am here to help you.

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