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4 min read

My Job Is Stressing Me Out: Conquer Job Stress and Find Inner Peace

a woman stressed at her job

Work related stress can take its toll on personal life, relationships, and even physical health. But often, society normalizes fuzzy work life boundaries in a way that makes it easy to miss signs of work stress until they become overwhelming and lead to burnout. In this article, we'll take a closer look at how feeling stressed at work can impact your home life and well being, how to spot red flags for high stress levels, and how to relieve stress at work and at home.

Recognizing the Signs Workplace Stress and Its Impact on Mental Health

Stressful situations are a given in life, but when you are stressed much of the time, it can develop into chronic (or long term, unrelieved) stress. Chronic stress can lead to long-term health problems, including depression, anxiety, obesity, and heart disease.

It can be important to recognize the signs of job stress, such as feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed. Stress can affect everyone differently, so take some time to examine how it makes you feel in particular. Does a Monday morning make you feel sick to your stomach? Do long hours cause you to have negative thoughts? Become mentally exhausted? Get snappish with your loved ones?

Job stress can affect both physical and mental health, leading to feelings of burnout and exhaustion. Some common signs of stress or burnout include:

  • Irritation
  • Sleep issues like insomnia
  • Depression symptoms
  • Headaches or body aches
  • Gastrointestinal problems like constipation, nausea, or diarrhea
  • Inability to focus

Sources of Workplace Stress

Some common causes of work related stress include things like a lack of control over tasks or workload, which can lead to unclear expectations or conflicting priorities. It can also be due to poor work-life balance, a high-stress job or work environment, long working hours or overtime, or working two or more jobs due to financial need.

Personal Traits That Exacerbate Stress at Work

In addition to external factors that create or exacerbate stress, there are also inherent traits in our personalities that can contribute to the issue. Perfectionism is a common trait that causes people to stress at work, and yet ironically, this can be the enemy of completing your best work. A perfectionist will often have difficulty initiating because they become fearful that their work is not good enough, or they might redo their work over and over again, working inefficiently.

Poor time management skills can be another challenge. Procrastinating on projects, focusing on smaller or less important projects first, or not prioritizing properly can lead to jams in the workplace, which can cause continual stress.

An inability to set boundaries can also be at play. If you work at a job where you don't have a lot of support, or where corporate culture is toxic, if you are unable to say no, this can lead to taking on too many tasks, covering for co-workers work, and, in general, biting off more than you can chew for your to-do list.

Prioritizing Physical and Mental Health

The World Health Organization recently created a list of guidelines based on a systematic review of stress in the workplace to help overwhelmed workers. You can address stress levels in two different ways, using specific strategies to manage stress in the workplace, and also incorporating general protective behaviors that can reduce overall stress and anxiety.

Self-Care Strategies for Reducing Stress in Your Workday

  • Take regular breaks to relieve stress and stay focused
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing. You can do this at your desk, allowing yourself a few minutes to have a quick stretch and take some deep breaths.
  • Engage in physical activity to reduce stress and anxiety: take a walk to get lunch, bike to work, or invest in a standing or walking desk
  • Take a mental health day to recharge and reduce stress if needed

Managing General Stress and Anxiety

  • Prioritize sleep and eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods
  • Seek support from a mental health professional if needed
  • Engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment outside of work. Immense pleasure in other parts of your life can help manage stress levels in your work place

Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms

The following tactics can help you cope with stress in a healthy way.

Effective Time Management and Organization

Don't wait until you reach your breaking point to take action. Set clear boundaries and prioritize tasks to reduce stress. Use tools like calendars or to-do lists to stay organized, and practice saying no to tasks that aren't aligned with your priorities.

Building a Support Network

Surround yourself with supportive colleagues, friends, and family members. Spending time with others is a strong protective factor for stress. You can even join a community or group (online or in-person) of people with similar experiences so you can talk out your frustrations.

Reconnecting with Your Why and Reducing Stress at Work

Reflect on your values and passions to find meaning in your work. It can be worth sacrificing a larger salary (within reason) for work that offers fulfilment. Identify your strengths and set goals to help you work toward a dream job or career path.

Seeking Satisfaction and Fulfillment

Find ways to make your work more engaging and challenging if you find yourself in a rut. You can seek opportunities for growth and development within your workplace, or even within your career path. Take the time to recognize your successes and celebrate them.

Communicating with Your Employer to Reduce Work Related Stress

If your work is the problem, communicate openly with your employer about work stress and concerns, and see if they are willing to work together to find solutions to reduce your workplace stress. Be sure to set clear expectations and boundaries to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Seeking Well-being at Your Job in Austin, TX

If you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed in your work, negative thoughts can spill over into your personal life, affecting sleep, health, and relationships. The good news is that therapy can help.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, our team of doctoral-level Austin psychotherapists offers both online and in-person appointments to accommodate busy schedules, so that they can offer you the emotional support and tools you need, even if you think you don't have the time.

If you need help, give us a call today, and our patient coordinator will help you find the right individual therapist to help you identify factors that may be causing workplace stress, and offer strategies to cope with them, as well as guide you toward creating a more healthy lifestyle for both work and home life.

Book a Therapy Session in Austin Today

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