Are you wondering what to do when you feel stress at work? In the typical day-to- day workplace, especially in the Western world, most often, instead of feeling nourished by day’s end, you end up feeling spent and depleted. And not just mentally but physically too.
Somehow over time you have become stuck in a repetitive daily routine of stressed out. Does that sometimes describe how you feel at the end of most work days? Are there people in your work environment that just seem to trigger a stress response inside you? Maybe in your personal life too?
STRESSED SPELLED BACKWARDS SPELLS DESSERTS!
Here are some common experiences and viewpoints that often describe it:
- Your career is how you spend most of your waking hours.
- By the end of the day, you’re in information overload big time!
- You only feel valued at work when you meet margins and revenue projections.
- You feel like a “hamster on a wheel” doing it again each day.
- Your boss or team leader is often chaotic, polarizing or stirring up discontent.
- Everyone around you is so negative that its begun to wear on you day-to- day.
- Challenging personalities are hard to deal with.
- You feel like you’re either putting out fires or walking on eggshells.
- Recognizing that the culture is toxic, you feel more and more cynical each day.
Can you relate to any of the above?
Yes, although a bleak work experience is expected at times. It becomes harmful when it becomes a daily reality for you. The above reality will only feed the stress experience you feel in your body. Not to mention as well in your mind and spirit. The impact is detrimental over time.
Think about it. If you’re body is firing off the stress hormone cortisol, what’s the impact on your health and other aspects of you? It’s not a great scenario long-term.
I know it firsthand. Several years ago, I was in a work culture that drained me by the end of the day. I literally came home and wanted nothing more than to do nothing. Skipping the gym and having food delivered for dinner tempted me daily.
After a while, it became obvious to me that this “work” was not a good fit for me. The stress was getting to me. I was getting sick more often. I asked myself four questions that gave me clarity on what was important to me in my life. So I made a change, gave my notice and trusted that something better would show up for me. It did, by the way.
A client, “Jill” summed it up by saying that work feels like a “tornado” most days. By the time she gets home, she has little or no energy to give to herself; let alone spend quality time connecting with her husband. The stress is beginning to show on her health, self-image and her relationship. What she really wants is to enjoy life more. And since her work is a big part of it, how can she enjoy that too?
Stress can be a relentless deal-breaker on the quality of your life. It’s like a fungus that eats away at you little by little. It impacts all areas of your life; not just at work!
How can you feel truly fulfilled and happy if work is getting to you?
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
It takes a good amount of courage to have the life you want. And since the financial piece is a big part of the broader picture, you have to look at what is important to you. Yes, get crystal clear about what you really want in life and then find ways to integrate it into your daily work life too. You need a starting place to gain real clarity about what would be fulfilling to you.
Here are the four questions I use to get my life-work happiness vision back whenever it wavers:
1. What do you believe would be more ideal for you at work?
2. What do you want in the day-to- day workplace?
3. Why do you want this?
4. What do you need to do to have this at work and in the rest of your life?
So not only does it take courage to shift how you’re relating to stress but also your commitment to make changes. Once you make a decision to do this for yourself, you begin to feel nourished instead of depleted by the end of your work day.
Let’s take some time to really dig into how you can de-stress so that it doesn’t feel like work. Remember, get a real clarity of the vision you want your work life to look and feel like. There’s some tremendous benefits that will trickle into the rest of your life too.
Game on! Roll up your sleeves! Put your whole heart into it and include all the challenges too. Challenges create new possibilities. Yes, there will always be uncertainty, anxiety, fears and beliefs that get in your way or just pull you along.
Sometimes like a numb fool. Count on that! Your life will only transform if you begin to use some powerful tools. However, many people believe that if they experience success at work, that all the stress will go away. Nope. Life doesn’t work that way. You cannot compartmentalize stress and put it into a little box to deal with later. What you can do is include stress by managing it when it shows up and threatens to mess with your happiness!
That’s where courage comes into play. And you may be greatly challenged by this. Know that you cannot control stress but you can control your response to it. It takes ingredients like mindsets, resiliency, healthy releases and using your brain power to make powerful choices toward a different result. Yes, this is a powerful challenge for you to choose to engage in.
Why do you want to trade your happiness by paying the price of stress on your entire life?
Ouch, right? Why would anyone consciously choose stress that disempowers your psyche, your relationships and your health? Well you don’t have to!
If you can’t summon up the muster to get control over the stress that you’re being bombarded with, for over thirty years we’ve mastered it. And in the meantime, you may want to have these quotes near your workspace that sum up nicely, the power of de-stressing:
“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”
– William S Burroughs
“Stress is an ignorant state.
It believes that everything is an emergency.”
– Natalie Goldberg
What is it going to cost you in the long-run if stress is getting in the way of you achieving your goals of happiness and fulfillment in life?
STRESS FREE ZONE
1. Every 50 minutes, take a 5-to- 10-minute break with movement if possible.
2. Create a stress inventory and then choose one item you can change your
responses to each week.
3. Answer the following questions for yourself: Am I a victim in this situation?
How can I change my relationship to stress? Am I feeding the stress of this
situation by my thoughts?
4. Identify as best as you can: How are my emotions getting in the way? Am I
only thinking about myself? What are the real facts here?
5. Find a practice that authentically supports you in calming your emotional
reactions to real life situations such as, mindfulness techniques,
forgiveness, generosity, breathing, etc.
Typical business cultures immersed with a system that considers employees relevant only when they meet the goal projections of the company, isn’t working as well anymore. If you want to feel valued, on-purpose and nourished at work, a beginning place is to get a handle on your response to stress. It’s the “It Doesn’t Feel Like Work” way!
The most important thing you can control in your life is to have a singular and compelling vision of the person you want to become. This is what makes you human. We’re really good at dreaming of what we want. When you’re stressed at work, can you imagine things that might not be happening yet as how you want it to be?
There’s so much of life we just cannot control. However, you can control how you process stress. You are the only one in charge of your choices. And, making the best decisions for you in each moment can add to your ultimate happiness and fulfillment at work and in the rest of your life. Another bonus is that your responses will add a positive impact to others in your work culture and in the productivity of your division.
So get really clear about what your vision is for your work environment and then stay committed to it. De-Stress So “It Doesn’t Feel Like Work.”