Stress at work can be incredibly damaging to our mental health. I know in my situation, stress at work definitely made a huge contribution to my eventual breakdown.
In the time since my breakdown, I have considered the skills and support that would have been useful in helping me to reduce my stress levels surrounding work, and I’d like to share those today.
- Keep a journal
Write down your worries and visualise them flowing out of your body, through the pen, and into the journal. It doesn’t have to make sense, or even be in full sentences, just write down whatever is in your brain and let it fall onto the page. Once it’s out of your body and onto the page, close the journal and put it away. Try to leave the stress with the journal and not dwell on it whilst you’re at home.
- Ask your manager for a debrief
If you’ve had a particularly difficult project or dealt with an extremely unpleasant customer, ask your manager or HR officer to sit with you and discuss it. They may be able to offer some useful advice or suggestions, but it can also help to just offload the incident and feel like you’ve been heard.
- Try to improve your commute
If you drive, try listening to a motivational podcast or audiobook on the way to work. If you take public transport, you could read or even do some creative writing during the journey. If you spend the whole commute dwelling on how much you’re dreading going to work, it will just make it feel worse.
- Make friends with your co-workers
If you have allies at work, it can make it much easier to deal with stress, as you will always have someone nearby to have your back and support you.
- Ask for additional training
Speak to your manager or your HR department about any additional training you feel may be beneficial to helping you deal with your stress. Whether it’s assertiveness training or even a stress-busting meditation workshop, give them your ideas and let them know why you believe it would be beneficial, not only for you but for your colleagues as well. A happy workforce is a productive workforce.
- Communicate with your loved ones
If you’re experiencing stress at work, communicate this to your loved ones, rather than bottling it up. This can also help you to not take out your stress on those who don’t deserve it and it can help them to support you effectively if they know exactly what’s going on in your work life.
- Utilise your free time
Try to make sure that when you’re not at work, you’re doing things you enjoy. I know that when I was struggling, I would come home and go straight to bed because I was so exhausted from the stress, however, I now realise that this only added to my mental distress, because essentially my entire life had become work, sleep, repeat. It’s important to use your free time doing enjoyable things in order to break up the stress. It doesn’t have to be elaborate days out or trips away. It can be simply having a nice meal or reading that book you’ve been wanting to read for ages. Spending some time doing something simply for you is important to maintaining a good work/life balance.
- New job
If none of this works, then it might be time to look for a new job. Whilst the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, sometimes we can find ourselves stuck in a toxic work situation that is making us ill, and moving onto a new challenge may be what’s best for our mental health and wellbeing.
What helps you to manage your stress at work? If you’re struggling, do you ask for help? Let me know in the comments below.