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Five ways to not let work stress take over your life

Five ways to not let work stress take over your life

A few steps for you to keep your work stress at bay
People chilling at office
Representational image | Shutterstock

Manic Mondays often continue until the last day of the work week for most of us. Impromptu meetings, a hyperactive email inbox and calendar notifications, calls, and not to forget submission deadlines are what broadly describe these five days. Sadly, the list does not end there.  Truth be told, even following a passion can stress one out. Happiest Health hears you. We gather a few simple steps that can help tackle manic weekday stress.

Identifying stressors

Stressors related to work can hamper our personal life. Hence, it is important to identify and address them.

For example:

One simple solution to dealing with an intimidating colleague is to cut short our conversation with them and focus on our work.

To overcome the stress associated with deadlines we can plan our work and complete it at the earliest. Moreover, we can talk to our in-charge about the challenges we face and relieve stress to a great extent.

Dr Lav Kaushik, consultant psychiatrist, Sarvodaya Hospital and Research Centre in Faridabad, lists a few points that can help one identify stressors:

  1. Keeping a journal to acknowledge everything, be it bad or good
  2. Asking questions on things we do not like around us
  3. Making checklists before doing things that can cause us stress
  4. Talking about things that bother us to a therapist, a friend, or a family member

Kanchan Dhabhai, a senior manager at GreedyGame tells Happiest Health, “We organise fun activities every now and then, because why not? A little laughter keeps everyone happy.” Dhabhai says that they make sure teams go on outings at least once in two months. They believe that this would give them some time outside the office premises to bond with each other leading to higher levels of understanding and harmony.

Taking time to recharge and learning to relax

Taking time from work and recharging ourselves is also important. Taking a short walk around the workspace, listening to music, doodling, or watching something that makes us laugh are some things we can do to feel better.

More specific ways of relaxing can be through meditation or breathing exercises.  Moreover, we can practise mindfulness to keep ourselves calm and focused.

“My work requires interacting with others extensively. It can be exhausting sometimes as it gets very monotonous and hectic,” says Raj Das, who works as a sales executive for a company in Kolkata. Since he is always around his phone or laptop, he likes to keep them away and go for a 10-to-20-minute walk to a nearby park. This makes him feel fresh.

When he is swamped with work, he uses the meditation app he has on his phone to de-stress.  

Learning to balance personal and work life

It is best to separate our personal and professional lives. Making a strict schedule of all the to-do things along with checklists can help people get more organised.

48-year-old JR Barman, a propaganda officer at a government hospital in Guwahati, Assam shares her story of how she manages to balance both. “I get a lot of work-related calls even after office hours from the hospital. If it is not an emergency and I know it can wait, I try to avoid them as I want to spend my after-office hours with my family.” But she had to learn to manage and balance her life the hard way when the stress got to her, and she had to consult a doctor.

“I used to attend to all the calls I got even after office hours, but the pressure got to a point where I could not handle it anymore. I have learnt that it is best to keep work-related stuff at the workplace and the same goes for one’s personal life.”

It is important to have clear boundaries. For example, if we have left our workplace, we can avoid doing or checking work-related emails, messages, or calls.

Time management

Work can be overwhelming, especially with the addition of seemingly insignificant but time-consuming matters. Procrastination can be a major factor that can hamper our ability to manage time. Managing time, having systems and processes to organise work and prioritising based on the importance of a task, can all help us meet deadlines. We can make important calls or read up work-related documents during a long commute to save time.

36-year-old Syeda Shabana, a food and hygiene officer from Bengaluru, must undertake a long, exhausting commute from her home to her office and back. However, she uses this time wisely. “My commute takes an hour and a half on low-traffic days. So, I listen to podcasts, watch something, or read on my way to the office.” She calls her family and friends on her way back home. “This way, I don’t have to call anyone once I am at work or home, and I can only focus on the things that are important.”

Seeking counselling

Richa Tilak from Jorhat, Assam, is a 27 year old higher secondary teacher. She also takes tuition to help students during exams. An increase in her workload took a toll on her mental health. “I love teaching, but unfortunately, I could not handle the workload and had to take a break.” During her break, she decided to seek help from a psychologist.  “The sessions with the psychologist have helped me understand and deal with the stressors.”   

When we are feeling low or stressed about something, it is important to identify it and seek help. According to Bengaluru-based counsellor, Mamtha Rajesh, people can seek counselling even if they are looking for self-improvement. Seeking help from an expert can always help them understand  their problems better and  solve them efficiently.

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