Whether or not you love your job and your work, many people find the structure, the pressures and sometimes even the boredom of the 9-5 working life quite challenging.
In fact, many of my clients often put “workplace stress” on their intake form as one of the reasons they’ve come to see me!
What does workplace stress look like?
- Deadlines, targets, and time pressures
- Interpersonal and people management issues
- Working long hours or overtime
- Working through breaks or taking work home
- Checking your emails on the way to/from work or late at night
- Unrealistic work loads
- Work doesn’t inspire or challenge you
- Micromanagement from supervisors
- Job insecurity
- A lack of role clarity or poor communication
- Conflict with workmates or managers, including bullying or discrimination
- Feeling under-appreciated, unheard
Sometimes if you’ve worked in the same industry or the same role for a long time, you might feel as if you don’t know how to change. You could feel stuck!
You begin to obsess about quitting your job and finding a better one.
The truth is, workplace stress has the same core issue as any other stressor in our life – when you feel as if you don’t have any choice.
Oddly, you might stop taking care of yourself when under stress!
This is a very curious response to the fight or flight response… that when you’re under pressure or stress for an extended period of time, you may notice yourself shutting down.
You might start avoiding the very things that you KNOW would help you feel better.
The fight or flight response can cause you to curl up in a ball whenever you don’t have to be doing anything else.
Which ironically, can be very tiring because you’re not taking the time to diffuse your stress. Because, stressed!
Instead, you’re keep on accumulating it and taxing your HPA (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal) axis…which leads to further compromises in your body and health.
Eventually, your stress response might feel like it’s broken. The smallest change in your world can send your anxiety flying, with heart-thumping, stomach cramping physiological responses. Ouch!
So, what can you do to feel better?
Plenty. You generally know the top of mind answers already, don’t you?
But let’s start with paying attention to your thought processes…
- First, acknowledge that you’re in a spiral of stress and/or negativity.
- That you’re possibly telling yourself how “stressed”, “annoyed”, and “angry” you are (etc), on repeat.
- So recognise your thoughts. The stories you tell yourself about how you feel.
- And choose to do things differently.
Where to start…
As a first step, it’s a good idea to communicate your concerns to your boss and/or Human Resources.
Hopefully they are supportive and helpful to create change for you! Unfortunately that’s not always the case.
However, even in the most supportive workplace environments, there’s only so much that can be done.
Another important aspect of dealing with workplace stress?
Is to consider how YOU respond to stress, and if you’re willing to do the inner work required to quite literally “change your mind”, aka change your perception of stressors and your emotional reaction to them.
Your own stress responses may have been learned from family, your boss or workmates. However, they aren’t fixed or unchangable!
There’s a LOT you can do to diffuse your own stress, improve your resilience, and change your mindset and perspective.
Sure-fire ways to reduce workplace stress
I’m sure you could add to this list with your own (feel free to sound off in the comments!), but here’s a short list to get the ball rolling!
- Yoga and meditation – even 10 minutes a day of yoga and/or sitting in meditation is highly beneficial to calm your nervous system
- Moving your body – okay, so if yoga isn’t your thing, then walking. Or if leaving your home doesn’t feel good, dance around your lounge room. Our bodies are designed for movement, and so they function better when you do something, rather than nothing.
- Breathing practices – learning the simple practices of pranayama are highly beneficial for helping to calm your entire body. Look up nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breath)
- Mindfulness – there’s a lot of mindfulness courses, books and online resources available to help you understand this useful off-shoot from Buddhist philosophy, which offers very effective stress reduction techniques.
- Proper nutrition – is really important to make sure your brain works properly. You can try making simple meals like:
- Slow cooked stews
- Roasted veggies
- Ask a friend to take turns cooking – share the job!
- Drink adequate water every day – this isn’t a myth! Our bodies are approximately 70% water, and require daily hydration in order to function.
- Less internet/Facebook time – turn off your smart phone / iPad / laptop when not needed, or even try taking a short internet “detox” when you’re not at work. It’s absolutely empowering!
- Have fun! Do something that makes you LOL. A good belly laugh can transform your world in moments.
- Stop over-giving and over-doing – Oy! This is a HUGE issue for people pleasers! And all it does is drain and exhaust you, and leave you feeling stressed and depleted.
- Do less instead of more – Delegate, simplify, shed unnecessary tasks at work and at home.
- Get plenty of sleep and go to bed earlier – Not just because your mama says so. Sleep you get before midnight
- Learn boundaries!! Many of my clients have never even considered their boundaries before we work together! Learning how to say no, and figure out what’s your energy and what isn’t, has a massive impact on managing your stress levels.
- Find other interests – Sometimes our life’s focus becomes quite narrow and serious. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
- Take delight in small things – For me, this is about nature, small finds, and animals. My Instagram feed is littered with things that light up my world.
You can book a Kinesiology session
If you’re finding your workplace stress is becoming unmanageable and/or your mindset on how to manage stress levels feels like it could do with some support, then book a Kinesiology session.
We can settle your adrenal system and stress levels down, and determine any other support you might need on a physical, emotional or mental level.
As well as assisting you on a physiological level, Kinesiology is brilliant at helping you re-group, find your centre and gain new insights that can shift your perspective.
Ambha Amanda Roberts is a Kinesiologist, Intuitive Healer, educator and facilitator based on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. She offers Kinesiology sessions both in-person and via Skype/Zoom all over the world.
Ambha Amanda is the co-creator of Adventures of Staria, which includes a series of Staria cards, and an upcoming book for children (including inner children).