How to keep your sanity at work

Did you know? 1 in 3 UK employees consider quitting their job regularly.

Everyone encounters some form of stress at work, this is inevitable. However, it is how we recognise and deal with the levels of stress that determines the level of sanity we are able to sustain.

In years gone by, during my 20’s, I was the type of person who thrived on the challenges of work. I took on more and more, without recognising the levels of stress mounting on top of me. Eventually, I reached that awful place called “burnout”. I didn’t know how to recognise ‘stress’, let alone find ways to manage it. In the end, it was the high levels of stress that taxed my body and mind. I ended up completely fatigued and my concentration levels had been reduced to near enough zero. My fast-paced job had reduced me to ‘burnout” and I was overwhelmed with no awareness of ever getting to this point.

Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way, so today I want to share how you can identify the triggers and keep yourself well.

Identifying the triggers

This is how you can learn to help yourself, to keep on top of your work without wearing yourself out. When your work is overwhelming, try to work out why you feel the way you do. Perhaps you have too much to do, in too little time? Or you have huge deadlines, which are looming in? Or there aren’t enough hours in the day to achieve all your goals? Does your boss tend to pile on the pressure, when you could do without it? Is the working environment affecting your productivity? Or is the company culture simply having an adverse effect on your health and wellbeing?

The body deals with stress in a certain way. It first tries to signal and make us aware of when it rears its ugly head. However, it is not usually until we feel overwhelmed, that the body initiates the stress response. This ‘stress response’ involves the body signalling to us that the demands being placed on us far outweigh the body’s resources to deal with such stress.

When I become emotionally overloaded, like at this time of year, with the darker nights setting in, the workload increasing, and it being the anniversary of my dad’s passing; I often feel slightly out of control. This is a direct result of all the subconscious pressure that I have placed on myself, which in effect is ‘emotional overloading’. This imbalance will trigger the release of cortisol hormone within my body and in turn will trigger adrenaline to be released. This ultimately leads to higher levels of stress.

What to do with these triggers

Some of my clients have tried many different options, the most successful being a ‘journal of thoughts, feelings and actions’. They in turn, are able to reflect and work out what is actually triggering the stress and to understand why it happens. From here, my client and I actually develop a strategy plan around our findings. As this process is very individual, the following is a are ideas to reduce your stress and enable you to stay more ‘sane’ within your work place.

Tips to combat the work-related stress

  • Does your physical working environment affect your attitude and performance? If so, try to keep your work area both clean and organised. Perhaps add a plant to the area that you work in. A good one is to learn to handle or ignore any interruptions from colleagues when you are in the thick of work.
  • Try some relaxation exercises and plan them into your working day. Play some chilled out music, stretch, or go for a walk during your lunch break. Getting out into nature will instantaneously reduce your cortisol/stress levels and can be very self-soothing!
  • Do not suffer in silence and learn to say ‘no’ when it all gets too much!

There is nothing wrong with confiding in your boss when your workload is becoming far too much for one person to reasonably manage. This is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength (knowing who you are and when you reach your own limitations).

  • Do not let yourself get carried away with work stresses – Remember the important things in life – you work to live, not live to work! Try some mindfulness exercises. If you are unsure on how to start with this, I can help. If not, try the Headspace app or Calm app, they are a great tool for mindfulness and understanding cognitive behavioural therapy. These techniques will enable you to change your way of viewing your work and how to cope with work from a personal perspective.

If all else fails

Having tried all the above ideas with no change, you may still want to quit your job. If you are struggling, then it might be worth looking for a new career.

You may be able to stay in your current job and deal with the stresses that it brings on you. However, if this stressful job has not made you unwell, it will in the long term. It may have a knock on effect to your confidence and your own abilities at work. This can lead to having a hold on you moving forwards and may even stop you from finding another job. If you do leave your job, please research the new company’s culture to avoid the same stressful rut as before.

Or alternatively give me a call or drop me an email and let’s discuss how I can help.

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