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How to manage career related stress
A certain amount of pressure in our lives can be a good thing. It can push us to react quicker to tasks, encouraging us to act rather than procrastinate. In this way, pressure can help us to achieve our goals – both in the workplace and in our personal lives.
However, too much pressure can contribute towards stress. A natural reaction to pressure, stress can impact your health and overall wellbeing. Our recent research found that almost half of workers are close to breaking point, so it’s crucial we know how to identify these feelings early on. Knowing what triggers our stress is a step in the right direction to learning how to manage these emotions. And while we often can’t avoid these situations, we can approach them feeling prepared.
Deadlines, new jobs, exams and job uncertainty are all topics which can play on our minds and cause us additional pressure.
In this article, CABA, the wellbeing charity, shares some advice on managing these career-related stress triggers.
We’ve all been in situations where we’ve felt as though there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, and tight deadlines can be a source of stress for many people. But there are practical things you can do to help you stay calm and focused.
- Prioritise: Write a list of the things you need to do and put them in order of importance. Start by working on the most urgent and important task first. If you’re unsure, ask your manager to help identify what your priorities should be
- Be assertive: Don’t be afraid to say no or push back on new requests until you have more time
- Don’t put things off: To help avoid procrastination, try setting deadlines for the tasks on your to-do list. If you’re avoiding a particular job because it’s too intimidating, divide it into smaller chunks
- Know your best time: We all have a part of the day when we’re naturally energised and focussed. For some it’s first thing, for others it may be later in the day. Be aware of this and allocate tasks accordingly
- Take a break: When you’re up against strict deadlines it’s tempting to try to work through the day. But taking time out can actually boost your focus and productivity. Go for a quick walk to boost blood circulation to your brain, or try snacking on some dark chocolate to help reduce levels of stress hormones in your body
Starting a new job
Whether you’re starting out in your very first job or moving to a new role with a new organisation, the first few days can be nerve-wracking. Here are a few tips to help you settle in.
- Don’t be afraid to ask: It’s better to ask lots of questions than to try and muddle through. It’s also a great way of getting to know your new work colleagues
- Be sociable: Try to start conversations with your co-workers during a break, go to lunch with them and volunteer to make the tea occasionally. Getting to know your colleagues will help you settle in quickly
- Don’t rush to impress: It’s easy to start comparing yourself to your co-workers and expect too much of yourself from the start. Try to remember that settling into a new job can take a while because you have so many new things to learn. Take it one day at a time
You may be worried that you’re not spending enough time on your studies, or feel that you’ll never be able to remember everything you need. Exams can be very stressful, particularly if your job depends on you passing.
- Get organised: Don’t leave your revision until the last minute. Planning ahead and spreading out your revision will mean that you’ll have time to revisit anything you need to
- Sleep tight: Establishing a good sleep pattern in the run up to your exams will mean that you’re refreshed and better able to retain the information you need
- Remember to relax: Practicing breathing exercises or trying a quick 10-minute meditation can help calm your nerves and keep you focussed
- Tune in: Listening to classical music when you’re working or studying has been shown to improve focus and attention and also helps to elevate your mood
Redundancy can happen for many reasons. The introduction of new technology or systems, the need to cut costs or a business closing down are all factors that might mean you face redundancy. Financial uncertainty and a loss of confidence, routine and status can make this a very stressful event.
- Stick to your routine: Get up as normal, set yourself business hours in which to conduct your job search and give yourself structured breaks throughout the day
- Stay healthy: Exercising regularly and eating healthily will help keep you energised and motivated. It can also help prevent depression
- Keep networking: Keep in contact with friends, colleagues and other people in your field through phone calls, emails and texts
- Consider all your options: Could this be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to start your own business?
Final words of wisdom
We will never eradicate stress, it’s inevitable and can come out of the blue at any moment. But having these helpful tips to hand will ensure that if and when it does begin to build, we can work to relieve these feelings.