Is Your Job in a Highly Stressful Environment?

Stress at Work

Too many of us have jobs that we find stressful.

Why is that?

We unfortunately oftentimes make choices based on grandiose ideas as opposed to reality.  We often choose what we determine as elite careers that will propel us into a sphere of cushioned financial comfort based on our perception rather than from experience.

We start the climb, squashed within a herd of egomaniacs. 

To escape, we have to swiftly develop survival skills to avoid the crushing stampede.

Herein lies the root of our highly stressful lives.

I get it – I chose a career because of the perception of personal fulfillment.  But – did I achieve it?

Yes,  but there are times when the stress levels are so high I can feel the adrenaline pulsating through my veins.

A sustained prolonged level of stress, however, can be detrimental – as we spend on average one-third of our lives in work.  This can equate to up to 90,000 hours over time.     

A well-packaged quote I use to reset when I’m particularly stressed at work is below:

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives

Most jobs are stressful due to blind obsessive emphasis on performance and targeted deadlines –  leaving us feeling flogged and flayed.

If this unrelentless squeeze from the iron fist is removed, the squeaking groaning strain from an overloaded system will ease. 

It is our attitude that will determine what effect this environment will have on us.

Work is defined in many dictionaries as any activity involving mental or physical effort in order to achieve a purpose.  You do not need a job to work, and work is not always associated with negative connotations of drudgery, toil, or strain.  It can be associated with the positive energy of achievement, function, and influence.  It is your choice which adjectives to choose to connect to your job.  There is a classic quote frequently bandied about which you probably know.

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life"

Now is a time of worldwide chaos and disruption.

It is at these times when humanity should come together with compassion, empathy, and selflessness. These attributes will help to shape the environment in which we work and the relationships we have with our colleagues.

It is vital that we stay healthy both physically and emotionally in order to be efficient and effective.

How can we aim to do this in this nightmarish anxiety inducing time we are now living in? As we embark on an entirely new journey, away from life as we know it, quick adaptation is needed for survival. 

For those of you within stressful specialties such as law enforcement, medicine, hospitality, travel and leisure; it is even more tense with all the uncertainties we now face.  Some of us will be losing our livelihoods or working in novel environments.  Of course this is stressful!

lady with afro working on laptop

How to Survive When You Are Stressed

First of all, recognize and acknowledge the signs of stress and start to address them.

Do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed, as this resolves nothing. 

When you are feeling stressed – stop. 

This may sound counterintuitive, but it stops the cycle. Take a few minutes to deep breathe, and ask yourself whether the task at hand is risking life or limb.  If it is, get support, and if not, take a few minutes more to recoup.

The most important thing to do to survive is to get a firm grip on time, even though it is easier said than done.  It waits for no one and stealthily passes like a whisper.

Therefore, choose how you will harness and shape this elusive commodity to suit yourself.

Make the most of time by doing your best to spend it wisely every day my managing yourself first.  Think of time as money – you would not intentionally throw money away would you?

Begin by mastering yourself and your time, and in so doing, you will become the master of time. Start the journey with having a clear roadmap of avoiding stress. Find the triggers within yourself and seek to veto them.  Everyone has different triggers, and only in identifying what those are can you seek to conquer them.

Keep in mind that we all have the same twenty-four hours per day to work with.  I’m being quote heavy today but this is relevant to remember.

Time is relative

Einstein
Lonely Belfast 2020

Nowadays, make sure to take time out.

As we walk along empty streets in deserted cities and towns to fulfil  our roles in our debt to humanity and society – take time to introspect on how we live, our social contributions, and how we nurture ourselves and our loved ones. 

deserted road with trees to either side

Pleasurable Habits To Cultivate To Reduce Work Stress

Yes – there are pleasurable antidotes to tackling workplace stress.  It begins by being selfish – prioritizing self and realizing you are responsible for yourself – because, guess what? No one else is. 

  • Make it a priority to  consume healthy natural  exciting meals – avoid all things bland and not visually exciting.
  • Use an app such as http://www.foodgawker.com for amazing inspiration and be sure to mix it up. 
  • Have at least one thing every day that will make your tastebuds zing.  If working long hours, it is best to meal-prep for at least four days whilst avoiding dreadful monotony.
  • I find this invaluable in reducing stress. I know the digital world is where it’s at, but –  there is something to be said about putting pen to paper- and not just any paper!
  • Choose luxury stationary which will make scheduling compelling and pleasurable. Spritz a small amount of perfume on the sheets to take it up a notch. 
  • Visit http://www.smythson.com to elevate your stationary game.  There are many stationary sites to choose from – just choose the best. Crumpled bits of paper or disorganised google Calendars won’t do.
  • Make sure to avoid deviating from urgent tasks, as this can be disastrous. I know, as I’m speaking from experience,
  •  Each day, wear something that will make you smile when you look in the mirror or look down at your feet.
  • Happy socks under trousers, a bold red lip, silky soft blouses or a loud tie.
  • Of course do not forget amazing shoes!
  • A habit of smiling in itself is a powerful choice
  • Smiling is scientifically proven to release endorphins – the feel good hormone, and also influences a positive mood in those around you.
  • If you smile more, your overall stress levels will fall.
  • Provided you are not just task-dumping, and you do so appropriately, you can achieve more in less time.
  • Doing too many tasks at once is guaranteed to produce lower quality results, with the rebound effect of more stress and wasting time. 
  • Focus on that one task you trust yourself to do better than anyone else even if it is mammoth. 
  • You are never a hero for doing too much. Politely say  “I would love to help  – but I am otherwise engaged”. 
  • An hour is not that long – believe me. It is very easy to lose track of time, but if you have regular reminders, it is likely you will be more time efficient.
  • Choose a tune you really like that will make you involuntarily tap your foot and put a smile on your face.
  • No lovesongs here – keep it uptempo but work appropriate.  Bob Marley is failsafe for me – but choose your no-brainer feel good songs.
  • I’ve been guilty of not taking breaks, and find I’m frazzled and less effective when I don’t.
  • Even if it is just for five minutes, take a walk, do some stretching, grab a cup of tea| coffee or have a bit of banter.
  • Close your eyes and do not look at your phone, the computer, or anything lying on your desk.  A break is exactly that – unplugging temporarily.
  • This is old advice which is repeated incessantly for a reason. It works.
  • If you don’t think you have one – monitor yourself for a week and you will see that you do.
  • The question is – is it a routine that you are happy with? Write down your habits and be brutally honest in quelling those that do not serve you well. I’m guilty of the forever snooze.
  • When you are honing your routine, it should set the tone for your day. 
  • Try to appreciate nature in whatever form you are exposed to on that day – see beauty in it. 
  • Don’t rely on others to validate you.
  • If you feel a sense of achievement, celebrate it.
  • Plan in advance how you will reward yourself for achieving. A day off, a new perfume, a new pen – anything. But it should give your pleasure.
  • Don’t buy any necessities – that defeats the purpose.
  • It is important to reset after a long day.
  • Make it a priority to find time to debrief – either through reflection, meditation, yoga, or just having a long sudsy bath saturated in your favorite scent.
  • Never run home to chaos if you do not live alone.
  • If needed, take a longer route home and listen to something uplifting.  Alternatively, find a pleasant detour – such as the makeup counter, the sports-shop, or whatever suits your fancy.

Conclusion

We spend a lot of time at work, which can be up to one-third of our lives.

We can employ pleasurable habits to make our days fruitful, have a positive influence on others and reduce our work stress. 

There are habits one can employ to ensure we have better days with less strife, choosing not to engage with negative connotations of drudgery, toil, and strain.

We should aim to manage ourselves first, and be the masters of our time.

Remember that self-care is paramount to success. Developing pleasurable habits, curating an environmental oasis will foster and strengthen our resilience.

Do you have any strategies you use to make your work life less stressful?  Share in the comments below

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