“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” – Douglas Adams
It’s stressful out there, isn’t it? Lots going on. And, no doubt although much of it will be warranted, there are ways to remove stress by simply changing your outlook… your perspective.
Stress can come from things you can’t control, but also things that you can. And when it comes to those things, standing and looking at your problems from a different place can eliminate the stress. Nay, in some cases, it can even turn the situation into a positive.
Perspective. Here’s how it can help…
1. Worrying on Your Own Time
One of the hardest things about the work culture of some of our industries, and the fact that we now have access to emails, messages and phone calls 24 hours a day, is that it can be tricky to draw a solid line under your workday. As someone from works from home and sets my own hours, I know how easy it is to extend that workday or to be thinking about work once I am supposed to have stopped.
In the last few months, I have installed a new rule. I completely sign off from any work-related contact past a certain time of day, and I always take the weekend off. I have advised clients of this as well. Therefore, if I am contacted by a client out of hours, I do not feel obliged to reply to them until my ‘workday’ begins again. This has had a huge positive impact on my stress levels across the board.
2. Work/Life Balance
Ah, yes. The work/life balance. It might not sound like a new perspective, but it is something that many of us avoid addressing properly and consciously. The feeling of being stressed can come to us on occasions where there is, on closer observation, not much to be stressed about. This often happens when we are overstretched and have not carved out time for our brains to relax and recharge. If you are feeling overly tense or worried at any time, force yourself to stop for a few moments and evaluate. Ask yourself, ‘Am I stressing about things that are worth stressing about? Am I stressed simply because I am tired?’ and if you come to the conclusion that tiredness and burnout are making your stress worse, perhaps consider whether the ‘work’ side of the work/life scale may be a little heavier than it should be.
3. How Important is Your Job… really?
What is the function of your work? Is it your passion? Is it a means to an end? How much does it actually matter to you? I’ll use myself and my wife as an example. I love my job. And when I get stressed about my job, I know it is because I deeply care about it. However, my wife does not feel strongly about her work. It is a means to an end, in order to support the other things in life that she does love. She used to bring stress home with her until she asked herself ‘Why am I bringing this pressure home with me?’. Once she realised that the stress she was allowing herself to feel was not worth it for a job she didn’t love, she found it much easier to leave her tension and worry at the door.
4. What is The Habit of Comparison Dong to Help You?
It will be no news to anybody that the age of social media has brought with it an age of comparison. I have seen friends and colleagues talk about amazing things that they have achieved both in their personal lives and their work lives. It is so easy to convince yourself that you are not doing as well as others.
First of all, comparison is the enemy of self-worth. Be mindful that you are your own person. Your barometer of success should be set only against yourself, what your goals are, and what you know makes you happy. Secondly, any time you feel like this, take a look at what you’ve achieved yourself. For me, when I feel like I am ‘not achieving much during this global pandemic’ (which sounds pretty silly) I remind myself that I have sustained a freelance career throughout this turbulent year and managed to help raise a baby. If you think about what you have achieved recently, you are bound to recognise that you are getting along just fine!
By Chris Thomson
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