Whether you are looking for a job or have a job, you will experience some stress. It will happen! The degree to which one is affected by stress will differ due to individual circumstances; overall emotional state, daily pressures from work or job search, and attitude. Even the healthiest, well paid, mellow, chillaxed individual will occasionally experience some form of stress. How you choose to handle that stress can make a big difference in your attitude and your health.
Do you find yourself getting angry at little things that don’t ordinarily impact you? Have you been raising your voice at inappropriate times? Do you often feel hesitant, anxious and apprehensive? Are you finding yourself ineffective at tasks that you do regularly? Does everything you attempt feel like a miserable chore rather than comfortably routine?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you are stressed.
In order to combat stress, you first need to understand its origins in your life. Try to identify and isolate the cause of your stress. Can it be segregated, at least analytically, so you can gain some perspective on why you are experiencing that stress? You may not be able to immediately extricate yourself from the actual cause, but understanding and recognizing why you are stressed is the first step to coping and combatting the situation.
Are the causes of your stress internal and self-generated, or are they coming from external sources? For example, being stressed from the pressure you put on yourself to complete a project on time is combatted a bit differently from stress caused by a boss or manager with unrealistic expectations who tightened your deadlines. Stress that originates internally must be dealt with and understood. We aren’t always conscious of the pressure we put on ourselves to get things done, be someplace on time, keep commitments.
If the causes of your stress are externally generated, you must also look into their causes and address them. Are the daily traffic snarls of your commute getting your days off on the wrong foot? Find a new route, telecommute, ride public transportation or car pool. If deadlines are getting hard to meet, then make sure that procrastination isn’t the cause, talk to your supervisors to explain the importance of more lead time, and tell them how much longer you believe it’s going to take, including maybe even a little extra time to give you the leeway you really need. (Something not considered by the Canadian firm that was building the healthcare.gov website!)
For many people, in a wide variety of occupations, the pressures caused by their jobs – internally or externally imposed – a state of (near?) constant stress is their “normal.” Predictably, and not, some career paths are more stressful than others!
Being constantly in that stressful state can generate vicious cycles that are hard to stop. The pressures lead to rapidly changing priorities, the fear of missing an important step or commitment, that brings on stress that leads to loss of sleep and focus, that leads to worry and mistakes, that lead to more stress that leads to further sleeplessness that leads to ineffectiveness that leads to exhaustion that leads to health issues and medical bills and even more stress.
As workers, maybe we need to encourage management to have more realistic expectations on the time it takes to do a job or perform a set of tasks. Yes, many employers want you to believe that everything is a priority and it all must be completed yesterday. But we know this isn’t possible! When bosses set realistic deadlines and expectations, there is far less stress in the workplace.
Combatting stress in your life is essential for achieving a healthy life-work balance! The examples cited here are simplified solutions to a complex and potentially debilitating malady that affects millions. Exercise, relaxation, meditation, yoga, etc., are all important and useful in fighting off some of the effects of stress, but they aren’t the solution to understanding and minimizing the causes. Employers need to be more attuned to recognizing and addressing stress in the workplace, and employees need to be vigilant in their efforts to minimize its occurrence and mitigate its causes.
An easy way to combat stress is to focus on all that is good in your life, spend time consciously thinking about all the things that make you feel good about life and about yourself, and breathe slowly and deeply (clean air whenever possible). Do everything you can to combat and defeat the stresses in your life. You’ll live longer, happier and healthier.
My friend, Maui-based nutritionist and owner/chef of Conscious Quisine, Jessica Qsar created a bumper sticker that expresses the best state of being, and I agree!
(PLUG) For your very own “Too Blessed To Be Stressed” bumper sticker, ($3 each or 2 for $5), to Jessica Qsar’s Paypal account is: email@example.com Include your mailing address in the notes. Or contact Jessica at that email to make other arrangements.
For more information on fighting stress in your job search and on the job along with career development and job search planning, please search this blog, visit: hanklondon.com or get in touch.