We spend most of our adult life working, so if we love our job that’s great. But what if you dread going to work, if every Sunday you can’t sleep due to the worry about what’s going to be waiting for you in the office on Monday. According to ACAS, UK employees are the most dissatisfied in Europe. So what makes us unhappy at work?
Some of us might feel like we’ve ended up in the wrong career altogether, perhaps we were pushed into job choices by our parents? For others, we might feel we’ve been caught in a money trap. We don’t like our job but the money is too good to give up.
Others might like their jobs but be caught up in office politics or even be the victim of work place bullying. Or perhaps there is an ever present risk of redundancy making the work environment one which is uncertain and fear inducing.
Perfectionism can often feature in work place stress. This involves a need to do everything to an unrelenting high standard that’s impossible to keep up 100% of the time. This pattern can lead to exhaustion and perceived failure if any mistakes are made.
So what can be done to tackle work place stress?
1. Set limits. Decide when you are available to work and not available to work and stick to it. Having work emails constantly pinging over the evening and weekend will put you on high alert - your Stress System will be activated causing you to feel tired and anxious.
2. Ensure you schedule into your waking hours time to relax, I cannot stress how important this is. Relaxing means time for you to rest and recuperate. Mindfulness and meditation has been proven to activate our parasympathetic nervous system, this is the system that helps our body repair from stress. Popular Apps like Head Space and Calm are great. If you’ve never practiced relaxation before try with 5 minutes a day and build it up to longer practices.
3. Practice Active Relaxation. Active Relaxation is doing something that causes you to feel relaxed as opposed to meditation/eyes closed relaxation. Write a list of 5 ways you actively relax, it might look like this: Gardening, Cycling, Baking, Drawing, Reading. Schedule 30 mins in a day and stick to it.
4. Have an ally. If you’re miserable at work ensure there is someone you can talk to about it, this might mean a friend within or outside your work. Someone who isn’t going to judge you and who is going to offer you a supportive ear.
5. Leave your desk. Schedule in times throughout the day to get away from your desk. If you can, go outside and get some fresh air. This will also help challenge overwork/perfectionism patters as it will help you to recognise that disaster won’t strike if you take some time for yourself.
6. List what you think would make your working life better and how this could benefit the business. Ask for a meeting with your manager and present the list. Managers want solutions and innovation.
7. Identify what your personal long term goals are and every week put time aside to work towards them. This could be anything from running a marathon, to learning a language, to planning to move to another country. Having your own clear identity and life goals that are outside of work and addressing them in a structured manner will help to build your confidence and boost your self esteem.
If you are struggling with work place stress therapy can help you to address this and move towards a life that is more fulfilling. Contact me on 07908710526 for more information.