Why We Shouldn’t Overlook Work Anxiety and Stressful Jobs
As more people around the globe become stressed out at their place of employment it’s crucial we discuss this issue and find feasible solutions. Workplace stress from demanding jobs has serious implications for our long-term health and well-being. And, the more we ignore this problem, the more we put ourselves at risk.
In this post, we’ll discuss the causes of workplace stress and anxiety. We’ll also talk about how to deal with work stress through mindfulness techniques. This way you can find a better work-life balance.
Work is a large part of our life and is important for our financial security and quality of life. But, you don’t want to ignore the signs of workplace stress and anxiety. Instead, take the time to fully understand and bring attention to this area of your life.
How Do Stressful Jobs Affect Our Mental Health and Our Overall Well Being?
You might be wondering why we need to learn about the effects of stressful jobs. Everyone gets a little stressed out at work right? Small amounts of stress are normal and even healthy. However, when you are put under long-term stress from a demanding job the effects don’t disappear after work hours.
What Are The Symptoms of Work Related Anxiety and Stress?
We like to think that we leave work behind us when we go home. But the impacts of stress are pervasive. A stressful work environment can lead to physical and mental pain, distress, and decline. You can experience headaches, stomach aches, sleep disturbances, problems controlling emotions, concentration issues, muscular tension, fatigue, a racing heart, and other symptoms.
What Are The Long-Term Consequences of Workplace Anxiety and Stress?
When experiencing stress for longer periods of time the effects become even more pronounced. Stressed workers can develop high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, anxiety, and a weakened immune system. In other words, stressful jobs are a major burden on our health.
Stress can also cut back on workplace productivity and decrease our level of mental health. The more stressed workers are, the less work they will get done and the less motivated they will be. Anxious and stressed workers can be less creative and innovative. They also act more aggressively and have a harder time communicating at work.
This can lead to further isolation and disinterest in their work. Which over time will lead to a major decline in mental health.
Not to mention, working under extreme levels of pressure or stress can lead to many work-related accidents. This goes especially for jobs where heavy machinery is involved, such as construction site work.
What Factors Cause Workplace Stress and Anxiety?
Workplace stress and anxiety can come from a range of factors. Each individual experiences stress or anxiety in different work-related situations. However, there are a few common factors that can really stress people out. These workplace stressors include:
- Low pay that doesn’t reflect the effort and work you put in.
- High workloads that lead to no work-life balance and anxiety.
- Excessively long hours that cause burnout and dissatisfaction.
- Lack of advancement or growth opportunities.
- No control at work over job-related decisions.
- Unclear work expectations and poor communication.
- Structural changes in the workplace which cause shifting dynamics.
- Inappropriate or discriminatory behavior and other workplace conflicts.
How Can You Effectively Manage Stressful Jobs and Workplace Anxiety?
Through awareness and stress-reducing activities, you can manage your stressful job and reduce workplace anxiety. Increasing your mindfulness is the key to helping yourself.
Include Meditation Into Your Daily Routine
At first, you might not think you are suited to meditation. Many people find this practice intimidating and don’t know where to start.
While it can be a challenge to quiet your mind, the effects of meditation on stress are well-documented. As little as 5 to 15 minutes of meditation can reduce stress levels and help you recenter your mind and body.
We recommend starting a mindfulness meditation practice during your work week. Consider meditating first thing in the morning or during your lunch break to get your stress levels down, sharpen your focus, and improve your energy.
Practice Mindfulness Techniques Throughout the Work Day
Meditation is a wonderful practice, but you can also include other mindfulness techniques when you are feeling stressed. It’s tempting to fall into old habits when you are feeling anxious or stressed, but we suggest following some simple practices to increase awareness and mindfulness and reduce workplace burnout. This could include:
- Focusing on your breathing or counting breaths.
- Think of three to five things you are grateful for and list them.
- Live in the moment and hone in on a single task or sensation in your body.
- Set an intention for your work day. Think about what you want to accomplish or how you want to frame your work day.
- Reflect on the good parts of your job. What makes your work meaningful?
- Break down work tasks into manageable steps.
- Have a growth mindset and think about what you will gain from your job.
Keep Track of Your Stressors
Part of the problem is that we don’t know what is causing our work stress. Use a notebook or journal and every time you notice you are stressed or anxious reflect on the cause and write it down. With practiced awareness, eventually, you will see a pattern around your stress and will find your stressors. Then you can start working on how to reduce those stressors in your life.
Stay Active At Home and At Work
You don’t need to join a gym or spend hours working out to see health benefits. According to recent research, small amounts of activity can help reduce stress and keep you healthy. Consider walking on your lunch break, taking the stairs at work, or even commuting on foot or by bike.
Moving around a little at work and home can help keep you from staying sedentary all day. Household chores, after-dinner walks, and moving around your house can also reduce stress after a long day at work by bringing you back into the present moment.
Take the Time to De-stress
Make sure you are making time to de-stress. Sometimes, we don’t realize how burned out we are from work until it’s too late. That’s why it’s so important to make time for ourselves. Think about what makes you happy outside of work. Then create time to engage in those stress-reducing activities.
Use Mindfulness to Know When It’s Time to Quit
No one wants to quit their job. But when work related anxiety or stress is ruining your life it might be time to move on. It’s hard to know when you should quit your job. But, by increasing your mindfulness you can find the answers you are looking for.
First, try to manage your stress with yoga, meditation, and other awareness-raising techniques. This will bring mental clarity and focus so you can make the right choice. Then, ask yourself if your job is worth the amount of stress.
Focus on the positives and negatives of your job. If there are more negatives than positives this might be an indication that you need to quit your job.
Knowing how to deal with stress at work is crucial. As we talked about throughout this post, it’s easy to develop work related anxiety and stress. Understanding why you get stressed and anxious is the start of changing your work-life and your overall health.
In some cases, if the stress is too much, it might be time to quit your job and find a new position that prioritizes your mental and physical health. Use the mindfulness techniques we talked about to find the next best move for your career. And don’t be afraid to make the best choice for yourself.
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