“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” – Steve Maraboli
Stress can be exacerbated by the approach of the individual. Although there is not much we can do about stressful situations appearing in our lives, there is something we can do about the way we view and deal with stressful situations.
Stress can, of course, be reduced by eliminating stressful elements of your life were possible. But adopting a mindful, conscious and, although it sounds odd, positive approach to stress and resilience is essential to maintaining an ongoing sense of wellbeing that weathers times both good and not so good.
With a few moments’ reflection, and an adjustment in outlook, you may discover that it isn’t that you need to do less. Perhaps all you needed was to think in different way, or view things from a slightly different angle.
1. Is Your Work/Life Balance, Well, Balanced?
The feeling of being stressed can comes 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 is making your stress worse, perhaps consider whether the ‘work’ side of the work/life scale may be a little heavier than it should be.
2. Do You Let Work Worries Seep Into your Leisure 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.
3. Is Comparing Yourself to Others Helping You?
It will be no news to anybody that the age of social media has bought with it an age of comparison. During lockdown 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!
4. What Does Your Job Actually Mean To You?
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 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.
By Chris Thomson
Check out this great post from our archives, written by Neil, all about the relationship between resilience, mindfulness and stress… The Zen of Stress
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