Updated: Nov 8, 2019
We have all been there. Feeling stressed out at work. Deadlines are looming, coworkers are being difficult and the boss is way too demanding. An excess of very long meetings plus emails or phone calls at all hours.
Feeling stressed out at work is becoming increasingly common, especially with the potential to be always and never switching completely off.Feeling swamped due to work emails pinging away on our cell phones any time of the day and night!
We actually spend a large portion of our lives in the workplace, and even although you may have the most fulfilling interesting job in the world, you are still going to feel stress at one point or another.Sometimes the stress gets so overwhelming it can really affect our emotional and physical well being.
When this happens this constant work stress can creep into other areas of your life like your relationships with your partner, with your family and friends, your quality time with your kids and of course your health!
Feeling constantly stressed out may mean we bring this back home at the end of the day which can sometimes create a cycle of negativity and stress Then our partners and our kids complain we have no energy or no time for them, we fell generally run down, we have absolutely zero time for our own self -care which leads to other health issues. We feel frustrated and overwhelmed. Not in a good place!
So how do you fix problems at work?
First, let's look at some of the typical scenarios you may have to deal with where you are feeling stressed out at work and maybe seriously impacting your mental health. Any of these sound familiar?
1 Problems with your boss.
There are some classic bad bosses which you may have experienced in your career. It may be the manager or head of your section, or this could apply to the CEO or head honcho of your organization or institution.
Let's see if any of these problems sound familiar and then look at some possible simple solutions!
The demanding boss.
The demanding boss has no awareness that you have a personal life. They want that report or that spreadsheet done now no matter what they cost. Most likely workaholics themselves, demanding bosses expect everyone to dedicate all their energy time to the job no matter what the cost to their own well- being.
This is tricky but you have to find a way to politely set some boundaries with this type of manager. Decide exactly how far you are willing to go to do the extra work requested. How much longer are you willing to stay in the office if needed? How much time are you willing to spend on work projects or sending emails in the evenings or on the weekend? Once you have decided this then you have to find a respectful way to say NO to other demands beyond this and at the same time produce the high quality work your boss is looking for within the time boundaries you have set. Do what is necessary to avoid a negative impact on your mental health.
The disorganized boss
The disorganized boss may be easy to work with and may have a great vision for the company or the goals and objectives for the coming year but have very poor organizational skills. This can be a problem as their lack of organization is often blamed on other employees and can have a knock-on effect on everyone in the office creating more work and maybe wasting even more time.
Focus on the work that is your responsibility and don't get in the habit of offering taking on extra work because of your boss lack of organization. Don't offer to organize things for him or her either.
The boss who wants to delegate everything and leaves the office at 3 p.m .
In my own experience the boss who delegates is very good at planning long term goals and planning out the future of the organization or company, However he or she tends to not like the nitty- gritty admin jobs or any of the daily tasks that have to be done in any workplace. So what happens is they delegate them to everyone else. Ironically they may also take the credit for this work as well !
Ask yourself how much extra work you are willing to take on to make a good impression on your boss. Where do you draw the line ? Don´t take on more work that you can´t handle and try to be fair to yourself. Use your voice to politely yet firmly say no when necessary.
The mediocre boss who may not have all the skills sets needed for his or her position but tries to cover this up and impress everybody anyway.
Again I have personally experienced this and it can get very complicated. A mediocre boss who may be either very inexperienced, or does not have the right knowledge or skills for the position will be constantly trying to prove themselves to everyone else due to their insecurities. Mediocre bosses often go on power trips to make sure their position is not challenged and treat everyone as their inferiors.
Tread carefully here. This can be very stressful but ultimately you can´t solve this issue. Do not allow this type of boss to treat you unfairly and be sure to have a paper trail for any projects ir work he or she asks you to do in case there are any problems later on.
2.Problems with co-workers.
Hopefully, you are working with a great team and conflicts with coworkers is not an issue. However it can just take one difficult person in the office or the organization where you work to really make your work life difficult.
If you have a difficult problematic colleague, first of all, don't stoop down to their level and start being difficult as well. Remember the old adage, keep your friends close and your enemies closer! Don't act hostile in front of them, but at the same time be fair to yourself and express your concerns when necessary. If they continue to be difficult and make you feel very stressed out then you may need to file a complaint with your human resource representation or line manager.
3. Negative Work Culture
Healthy work culture is a must for a successful company or organization and if that is true for you in your workplace then this make you enjoy work much more! However in many cases, the work environment is not like this and in fact, can be very negative. The first example of this is when you have a work environment where there is a lack of trust.
This often starts at a management level where the boss or bosses don't trust their employees. In a healthy work culture, each employee feels valued and trusted to be a professional and do their job to the best of their ability. When the opposite is true, this creates a very unhealthy atmosphere from the top down of suspicion and mistrust and can be very stressful on a day- to- day basis.
Adding to this can be office gossip which feeds into the negative atmosphere and generally makes it worse.
The most important thing is to not fall into a negative mindset even although many of your co-workers will. It can be very draining and trigger a lot more stress. TRY to maintain a positive attitude throughout the day and not be influenced by others who will want to pull you down to their level, Most importantly don't waste time on office gossip,
By this I mean avoid gossiping about your colleagues or management but also don't be a passive listener wither. A passive listener may not contribute to the gossipy conversation but is still a willing participant simply by listening,
Either change the subject if you can or walk away.
4. Work-life Balance
One of the biggest complaints in the workplace is the lack of work-life balance.
Are you expected to be on call at all hours of the evening and on weekends?
Are you constantly getting work emails and find it hard to switch off?
Is there tremendous pressure at work when a deadline comes up?
Does your boss expect you to work late constantly?
I think this issue of trying to maintain work-life balance is one of the most challenging and may cause more stress than anything else. It interferes so blatantly with the most important aspects of our personal lives never mind our own self-care!
There is also a flip side to this as it could be that if you are happier at work than you will be happier in your personal lives. All of the above scenarios I have mentioned if resolved could contribute to this. Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon refers to this as work-life harmony rather than work-life balance.
This is probably the most challenging scenario in the workplace. If you feel the demands of work are having a serious impact on your emotional and physical well being, perhaps it's time to clarify with your boss what the expectations for your role are.
Sometimes expectations are not made clear on being hired or expectations may change over time. I know it may be scary but do try to sit down and have this difficult conversation to clear the air.Explain your point of view and try and find a middle ground where both parties are happy.
You also have to decide your limits as to which emails you choose to read and when and when it is time to switch off, You know you are valuable so you need to show yourself little respect and know when it is time to leave work at the door and focus on other parts of life.
If you do have the conversation with your boss and the demanding boss does ntle up and your schedule is just too overwhelming you need to sit down and really think it is time to consider looking for another job.
In short, our work and careers are important and we spend a lot of our lives in the workplace. It is really really essential to find ways to cope with feeling stressed out at work.
If you can't figure out any solutions, then spend some time really thinking about what you value and what is important in your life. Maybe it´s time to move on to find a less stressful job and workplace environment.
Be sure you value yourself in whatever decision you make!
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