If the past few years have taught us anything, it is that work and home life are more interconnected than we would like to think. With unprecedented times, it is common to rely on our coping mechanisms and push through – but is that sustainable or healthy even?
Conversations about mental health, stress management, and self-care are being brought into the workplace more often as burnout rates rise. You may think, “I don’t have time for ‘self-care,’ I have a deadline!” The truth is our success is tied to our ability to take care of our body, mind, and soul. Let’s explore some ways to identify if you are chronically stressed and ways to combat it!
As written in Healthline, “Long-term exposure to unmanaged stress can take a toll on your body and mental health, and recent research by Trusted Source suggests a potential link between work-related burnout and depression and anxiety.”
What are the potential signs of stress?
- low energy or fatigue
- changes in appetite
- rapid heart rate
- low self-esteem
So how can we avoid burnout?
- Take stock at the end of the day. How do you feel? Pessimistic or calm and satisfied? Is your head throbbing? Making clear boundaries between work and home – whether that means turning off notifications after 5 pm, meditating for 15 minutes, watching a silly TV show, or taking a long walk – can keep stress minimal and manageable.
- Make a priority list at the beginning of the week. By preparing tasks and ranking them based on urgency and importance, you can best determine how to best spend your time. Try setting blocks of time for more concentrated tasks, too, instead of getting trapped in your inbox.
- Take breaks during the day. Have a few minutes in between meetings? Listen to a podcast or do some deep breathing. This will help you be fresh for the next ‘to-do’ without running yourself ragged. .
Mindfulness tricks to incorporate into your everyday routine:
- Pause for a few moments before starting your workday and set your intention.
- Download a meditation app you can use when feeling excessive pressure at work or during your commute.
- Schedule a 5-minute break to try breathing exercises.
- Reframe negative thoughts. When we are stressed, our mind often goes to a pessimistic and unproductive place. Instead of getting bogged down with negative self-talk, try to observe things more objectively and, above all – listen to your body.
- Get a good night’s sleep. In order to tackle a busy ‘tomorrow,’ get a full 7 hours of rest today. It will save you time overall.
- Rely on your support network. If you are feeling the stress of work, instead of bottling up those feelings, use your trusted friends and family to lean on. You are not alone.
- Let go of perfectionism. Having high standards for ourselves is a great motivator but can become debilitating when we personalize failure or have unrealistic expectations of ourselves.
- Seek outside help. Therapy isn’t only for crises or diagnosed mental health conditions. Working with a therapist can help you identify your stress triggers and establish habits to better navigate them.
Amy S. Tolbert, Ph.D., and Certified Speaking Professional is the founder and principal of ECCO International (Energizing Cultural Change in Organizations). She specializes in creating inclusive cultures through online courses, keynote presentations, and facilitated workshops and training. She is the author of Reversing the Ostrich Approach to Diversity: Pulling Your Head Out of the Sand.
Lamothe, Cindy. “14 Ways to Manage Work Stress and Avoid Burnout.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 30 Oct. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/work-stress#write-it-out.