We all experience a little work stress from time to time, and a little stress is actually good for us. But do you know when you have stepped over that line?
Do you listen to the needs of your body in those times and are you aware of the stress indicators that are trying to get your attention?
From 2005 to 2010 I ran my own small business – the wrong way! The amount of stress I experienced as a result of not taking care of my own needs in the process was debilitating and a life changer (actually in the end for the better).
I had to reach an enormous low – that of bankruptcy, burnout and a relationship breakdown to really take a serious look at my life.
There are 3 key things to know about work stress.
1. Is this a one-off event or ongoing?
Ok let’s get this straight. When we feel stressed our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode, we release hormones like cortisol and adrenalin and we get ready to burst into action to stave off any danger.
Unfortunately, if this is ongoing and our bodies are going into this mode often, this puts a major strain on the ability of our adrenal glands to function as they should, and there are many knock on effects on the body. This is where the term adrenal fatigue comes from.
If stress is ongoing or chronic, adrenal fatigue can occur. The most important thing is to get to the root of what is causing you to feel stressed. Sometimes drastic decisions need to be made.
2. Are you speaking up for yourself?
Are you being loaded up with too much work?
Are you being expected to take on additional responsibilities that do not form part of your job?
Are you working overtime without being paid?
Are you letting the unspoken politics of your workplace dictate how you work?
Remember, this is your life, your health, your vibrancy. People learn how to treat you by how you behave. If you continually take on more, do more, don’t speak up; this becomes “normal” and others just respond to what you do.
If working in this way is causing you to feel work stress, things must change. Remember, the effect of chronic stress is debilitating. You may not feel affected at first, but over time this is very harmful to your health and wellbeing.
Begin to take steps that help to build your confidence in speaking up for yourself.
Get support for this process. These changes don’t happen overnight. The first step is in recognising that a situation is not ok for you.
3. Are you doing work that is meaningful to you?
So many people land up in jobs or businesses that they simply do not want to do, it doesn’t call to them. For reasons like money, family commitments or it’s just what you “know”, you may find yourself continuing day in day out to do soul destroying work. This is exactly what I ended up doing.
I spent 5 years running a business that didn’t call to my soul, and the result was devastating on my health, finances and relationship.
When you do work that is inspiring and meaningful for you, you release “feel-good” hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin instead of stress hormones like cortisol.
If you are already doing work that is meaningful for you – awesome news; just make sure that the quantity of hours that you spend at it, is in balance and that you also have time for what you desire in other areas of your life.
If you have anything else you would like to add on this topic of work stress, I would love to hear your comments below.
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Take care and think deeply about what it is that you need in your work.