Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Striking Out at Stress!

The 'recession' is over but the effects of it still linger. Those among us lucky enough to have jobs, and especially those who have survived a lay-off, are often stuck in stressful situation. Taking on extra work due to lay-offs or hiring freezes inevitably leads to more demanding schedules and increased stress levels. Because jobs appear to be scarce and employees often have a difficult time finding other work, management, unfortunately takes advantage of employees that feel they have nowhere else to go.

As workloads increase and morale takes a nosedive dealing with workplace stress is no longer an optional task, it’s a critical requirement.Successfully managing your stress on the job involves tackling the issue on a number of fronts. Unfortunately, I’ve had some experience with this topic. So here are some suggestions that I used to make life a little easier, when the job becomes increasingly more difficult.

  1. Make a List and Check It Twice (a day): Think of the things you honestly like or enjoy about your job. When I made my list it included my co-workers (well most of them), sandwiches at the café near the job, the fact that I had my own office, and my favorite topics to train on. While there were a number of things that stressed me out, focusing on the people and things that I did enjoyed helped a bit.
  1. Walk It Out: Using my break times to take short walks helped immensely. The act of walking as well as getting outside and out of the office helped to immediately alleviate some stress.
  1. Talk About It: Find a sympathetic ear … who will let you vent. It could be a friend or a spouse but it helps if it is not a co-worker. When you confine in a co-worker, you run the risks of your venting becoming office gossip which could quickly make a bad situation worse.
  1. Drive Your Troubles Away: When leaving work, I made sure that I did not pull out of the parking lot until I had put on one of my favorite CDs. As I sang along (and okay, yes, did a little dancing), it helped me put work in perspective and keep it where it belonged … in my rearview mirror.
  1. Be a Lady (or Lad) Who Lunches: Like with the walks, having a lunch I enjoyed eating gave me a nice break. It’s even better if it can be enjoyed with friendly co-workers or at a place or in an environment you like. It is a great way to break up the day.
  1. Look Elsewhere: Yes, the economy is bad. Yes, jobs are hard to find … but that doesn’t mean they are impossible to find. Update your resume and start looking. Looking for other work helped me to feel that I had some control of my circumstances.

Not only did I look for other employment, I found it - leaving a very toxic situation for one that is much healthier. So while good jobs are hard to find right now, it's still possible to find one.