Do you love what you do and also secretly resent having to go to work/sign in to Zoom some days?
Maybe because you love what you do, but dislike your direct manager, or a colleague you work closely with? ….Or….. maybe you love what you do and dread the systems used at your workplace or those long, waste of life (your words, not mine!) meetings?!
Did you know that in the UK, 79% of employees experience work-related stress, which made work-related stress the most common form of stress in the UK? Also 94% of American workers reported experiencing stress at their workplace in 2019?!
As someone who’s danced with GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) since the age of 5, I don’t find this surprising, anxiety became my norm until depression slapped me hard in the face; but anxiety does NOT have to be our norm, stress does NOT have to be just another thing that we ignore at work.
Thankfully, due to many companies supporting employees worldwide we are now talking about our Mental Health at work, we are now accepting and allowing employees to be what they are- HUMAN- and to be heard and not judged for their life in and outside the office. Let’s be honest, as much as we try not to, we take our baggage everywhere we go and whether we like it or not, the crap we accumulate at work we bring home and the crap we accumulate at home we sometimes dump in the office.
Whether your current employer has an excellent system in place to encourage Mental Health check-ups/ open communication or not, I’m here today to tell you that YOU can take control of your work-related stress… and here are 5 tips how:
1. Take a break
This one gets me all riled up, mostly because I was horrific at taking breaks until I realised that breaks keep me healthy. Both mentally and physically.
When a smartphone is overheating and you haven’t just dropped it in the toilet or on the floor you most likely have a software problem. So, how do you cool it down? You begin by turning off the wifi, the bluetooth, you turn off the location services, notifications… You stop playing games on it for a bit, you put it on airplane mode OR you turn it off all together, for a short period of time. In other words, you allow your phone the break it needs in order to cool down. Your body and mind needs the same thing. It needs a break, either in between tasks and especially before that meeting you consciously know causes you anxiety. In that moment, you are given the perfect opportunity to take a mindful break. Even just 5 minutes of diaphragmatic breathing, as you sit on the toilet, will help loosen the muscles in your lungs so you can soothe your anxiety. Benefitting you both physically and mentally. FFS, just take a break.
Many people like to call it Brain-Dumping. I call it Data-Transfer. As we journal, our hands and pen or pencil allow us to transfer thoughts to paper and begin to OBSERVE our thoughts rather than BE our thoughts.A very simple and effective procedure to release anxiety and find a new perspective, calmness and acceptance, yet not many of us have learnt how to journal constructively. Using Journal Prompts to guide your Data-Transfer, not only allows you to slow down and take a breather, it also enables you to create space for yourself, to observe your thoughts and consciously choose to shift your focus in a new efficacious direction. Here’s your Call to Action:
When you are done reading this article download this FREE Stress Relief Journal Prompts PDF which you can save on your phone and use at any moment of your day.
4. Acceptance, Self-Awareness, Communication
Take a nice deep belly breath 3, 2, 1 and release.
The more you ignore your stress or anxiety the more you feed it.
Rather than ignore, accept it. Acknowledge it for what it is, a normal human experience.
When experiencing anxiety or stress there is a part of you that is experiencing fear, and that part of you needs to feel accepted, respected and loved. As you acknowledge and become self-aware of the deeper issue at hand you can then move forward with integrity to communicating your needs in the workplace; enabling you to ask for help, ask for reassignment, have a difficult conversation from a space of worthiness, calmness and respect for both yourself and your colleagues/workplace.
You can use the Stress Release Journal Prompts mentioned above to begin this journey of self-compassion and integrity.
5. Build Resilience by taking a Holiday/Vacation
As a self-employed individual with massive workaholic tendencies, I know first hand that taking a proper holiday/vacation from work can build your resilience!
Brendan Bouchard, world’s top Performance Coach, takes a holiday with his wife every 90 days to recharge his mind and creativity. Why? Because the key to resilience is giving all you got with integrity, then stopping, recharging, readjusting and allowing yourself to do it all over again.
Remember to breathe deeply and smile, my loves.
See you in the next article, where I’ll be sharing my five favourite 5-Minute Mindful Work-Break Exercises you can do anywhere in the office.