You’ve been working on that big project for weeks and the deadline is fast approaching. You want to stay on top of everything, but you feel like the Cat in the Hat, balancing everything while standing on a ball with one foot. How do you manage to get everything done, get enough sleep and fend off that headache and tight neck that have begun creeping into your daily life?
- Know what to look for. We sometimes get so busy we ignore the signs of stress until our bodies force us to, which starts a vicious cycle of having to stay home, which means more stress because the work isn’t getting done, etc. Be aware of the signs, in yourself and others. If you become isolated or more “difficult” in dealing with others, either at work or at home, you probably need to slow down. The same goes for needing more coffee/alcohol/cigarettes to get through a workday. Or if you feel constant anxiety and low self-esteem, along with shoulder/back/neck pain or headaches, those are all classic signs of stress.
- Manage the physical/psychological. That project deadline won’t change, but your reaction to it can. Do what you can to get plenty of sleep (most doctors suggest 7-9 hours) each night. Exercise if you can, even if it’s to take a ten-minute break to walk around the building, and then ten more minutes at home. Find something you like to do when not at work and indulge in it, whether reading a book, playing a video game or walking the dog. Meditation also works wonders for stress, even five minutes. Apps such as Insight Timer and HeadSpace offer a wide variety of guided one that you can do anywhere.
- Manage the work-related. Again, that project won’t do itself. But contrary to what you (and some bosses) believe, you do not have to make yourself available 24 hours a day. Establish unbreakable boundaries, such as not answering your phone after a certain time of day or during meals. Don’t take on too much by yourself — ask for help if you need it. Talk to your supervisor if you feel really stressed — it’s in their best interest to have healthy, happy employees. Rather than going in with complaints, frame it as an attempt to manage stress so you can do your job effectively. This may even include changing to a more flexible schedule or getting help with time management.
You can’t avoid some stress at work, but it doesn’t have to take over your work life, nor should it. To avoid the stress of finding your next job, work with the staffing professionals at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks Ventura County.