I’ve written about stress here before about how in some situations and in moderation, it can be good for us. It can give us the boost we need to get things done. The key word here though is moderation. For many of us, stress comes at us like a tidal wave, overwhelming us.
Stress can come from lots of different places, but here I want to focus on work-related stress. This is something I struggled with when my anxiety first really started affecting me a few years ago, particularly at my day-job. Back then, I found a quote on Pinterest that *actually* really helped.
Become more aware of what’s really worth your energy.
I realised that I was pouring a huge amount of emotional energy into work. I’m passionate about my job and realised that perhaps I was getting a little too emotionally involved, especially when it came to things that were quite simply out of my control.
Taking a step back, looking at my priorities and learning to hold back a little energy-wise (without losing my passion and dedication) was incredibly helpful. Work became a lot calmer. I did this by recognising when I was getting worked up and stressed and asking myself, ‘is this worth my energy?’. Sometimes it is. But often, it’s not.
Stopping myself from spiralling and gaining perspective is something else that helps me to this day. Spending time with loved ones has helped me realise that work (both my day-job and Blue Jay work) is not the be-all and end-all.
Ensuring I have some interests outside of work is key. After completing Susannah Conway’s ‘Unravel Your Year’ workbook, I realised something I want more of in my life is travel, live music and, well… fun. I want more cinema trips, more visits to museums and galleries. I want to enjoy more non-work related activities.
Something else that made a big impact at the time, and that continues to do so, is becoming more aware of my breathing. A lot of the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety can be linked to shallow breathing (we breathe like this when we’re in fight or flight mode).
Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly and breathe – which rises first? If it’s your chest, your breathing is shallow. Try to be conscious of this and breathe more from your belly. If you breathe out a little longer than you breathe in, this will activate your parasympathetic nervous system, encouraging you to relax. This can be super helpful to remember in the moment when something makes you feel stressed.
Some extra resources
I’ve pulled together some helpful resources and extra reading if you’re finding work-related stress is affecting you:
I hope this was helpful. I find in January we have this burst of New Year energy and perhaps go a little too hard in our work lives, leaving us feeling exhausted by the time February rolls around. So I thought this would be a good time to remind you to keep an eye on your stress levels and take care of yourself.
If you’re finding it hard to prioritise self-care and think you would benefit from some support, take a look at my self-care strategy coaching offer. We can go through whatever’s coming up as a block for you and create a sustainable self-care practice that fits into your schedule.
I’ll be back next week to explore why we avoid taking risks, and how we can edge outside of our comfort zone. Until then, I hope you have a lovely week.
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