What is job stress?
Work can be stressful. According to a recent survey published by the American Psychological Association, job stress is one of the top ten areas of stress in American culture.
Job stress can make being at work miserable. Job stress can also rollover into your personal life, impacting relationships, creating sleep disturbance, perpetuating worry and causing health-related problems such as stomach upset or increased blood pressure.
Short-term job stress, such as working on an important project, is generally time-limited and less chronic than long-term job stress. Long-term job stress is experiencing the stress of the job, such as difficult coworkers, work politics and/or unrealistically high performance measures, daily.
Navigating one of these areas can create stress, anxiety or depression. Balancing more than one of these areas can create feelings of overwhelm and helplessness.
Do I have job stress?
If you’re feeling short-tempered, angry or edgy at work, you may be experiencing job stress. An increase in stomach upset, persistent feelings of fatigue, difficulty sleeping or inability to complete tasks are also indicators of job stress.
A recent article highlighted common issues at work and suggested action plans for each concern, as you will see below.
If you are feeling overworked, make an effort to leave work on time. Keep as close to your scheduled hours as possible. Alternatively, if you are unable to leave work at a reasonable hour, make an effort to schedule breaks and actually take a lunch.
Change can be challenging and, depending on your work environment, may require creative planning. If you’re have a difficult time setting boundaries at work (with yourself and others), you may benefit from working with a therapist who can evaluate your situation from an unbiased perspective. Having boundaries at work is important, especially if you work under deadline and manage multiple responsibilities. Additionally, having a self-care practice in place can prevent burnout and improve work performance.
Managing your time by setting boundaries and practicing self-care are two ways to address overwork. In my practice I help people create structured treatment plans to maximize self-potential. Contact me to get started on a plan that works for you.
If you’re company is downsizing and the pending layoff is the only thing people want to murmur about, start working on your back-up plan and stop engaging in the gossip. What’s the benefit in engaging in the chatter when in 2 weeks or 2 months later you may be unemployed. Having a back up plan in the works will ease your anxiety about the pending layoffs while making better use of your time.
Changing jobs isn’t easy, especially if you’ve been at the company for a number of years. Transitioning to another company (or even another branch within the same company) takes time, consideration and planning.
- What would you like to do next?
- What are your strengths?
- Are you open to a relocation?
- How soon would you like to start interviewing?
- How will you say good-bye to colleagues?
- How up-to-date is your LinkedIn profile?
- What, if any, clients need transitioned?
- What would you like to share with your manager before you leave?
- If you choose to stay, what will that look like?
- What’s your back-up plan if you are laid off in the end?
With a therapist you can thoughtfully work through these concerns (and anything else) that may come up in connection with a pending layoff or future transition.
3. Difficult coworkers
If you work with a difficult coworker, stay neutral. Make it a daily practice to not engage in negativity, which is easier said than done. Difficult coworkers need boundaries. Creating boundaries will require assertiveness from you. In session, we can discuss and role-play different options for setting boundaries and creating personal space. Practicing the skills you learn in session will increase your awareness, boost resiliency and self-confidence, helping you ease through the day and less frequently get tangled in unnecessary gossip and office politics.
4. Quit your job
Sometimes the best thing to do is quit your job. (For real, I’m not joking.)
If the stress of the job is too much, get your resume in order, boost your LinkedIn profile and start interviewing. A change in environment might be the best thing you can do for yourself.
Signs that might identify it’s time to quit your job are:
- Crying at work
- Crying when you return home from work
- A sense of dread about going into the office
- Being short-tempered at work
- Feeling easily overwhelmed (at work or at home)
- Increase / new onset of panic attacks
- Getting sick more often
- Missing time from work
- Vague body pains
- Talking / thinking about work all the time
- Complaining about work frequently, if not all the time
- An increase in thoughts about work that happens more spontaneously than consciously
- Difficulty sleeping
- Arriving late to work (and not caring about it)
- Feeling emotionally / cognitively removed from the job altogether
These are some of the symptoms common with job burnout and job stress. If you’re experiencing job burnout it may be time to to change jobs, and a therapist can help you work through highly personalized concerns.
On the contrary, if you want to stay at your current job, but you’re experiencing more than a few of the symptoms above, working with a therapist will teach you valuable skills to minimize the emotional and psychological impact of your job while starting the healing process from burnout.
If any of the aforementioned points resonate with you, it might be time for a change. Change can be big or small, easy or difficult. If you think you would benefit from creating change and want support to make it happen, schedule your first appointment today.
I look forward to talking with you about your job stress and creating solutions to improve your quality of life.