Improving your work life - work related stress

Stress is the largest cause of work related illnesses, linked with additional workload and an increased level of responsibilities. Typical signs of stress can be anxiety, appetite and weight changes, withdrawal or aggression, loss of motivation, increased sensitivity and low self-esteem. This can be caused by numerous reasons, with some of the common causes being:

  • pressure of deadlines
  • unclear expectations and conflicting messages
  • lack of managerial support
  • feeling trapped in the wrong job
  • an unsupportive work culture
  • bullying
  • uncertainty about the future (threat of redundancy).

Even in times where you feel you have no control, you can take action to improve your life at work and even stop stress developing in the first place. Taking control from work related stress involves taking ownership. It is important to be assertive and say no to taking on extra demand. Be realistic with your time. These are healthy ways of putting in firm boundaries.

Reviewing your goals and priorities is a good place to start. Establish healthy boundaries with yourself in order to manage the pressure of reaching those goals and to maintain a work/home life balance. Where possible, attempt to leave work at work, so avoid the temptation of reading work emails when you’re at home.

When work begins to feel overwhelming, take a deep breath and when you can, try and walk away from your desk or situation for even a few minutes. Taking a walk and getting fresh air during your work hours help, so ensure you take a lunch break and do not sit and eat at your desk.

Maintaining a healthy work life balance can prevent burnout which is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. People experience burnouts when they are under extreme stress or extended stress.

People are under a lot of pressure in today’s society, no matter what job or position they are in. Jobs are focused on outcomes, in regards to both targets and performance so it can feel overwhelming. Burnout can occur if your efforts at work are not recognised or if you have difficulty getting or seeing results.

For some people, they may not be aware that they are experiencing burnout so it’s important that when you do realise, do not ignore it. Ignoring emotional and physical exhaustion will cause further damage.

Seek the support you need, whether that is with close friends and family or through counselling. Having a support system outside of work is healthy as they can remind and help you to keep those boundaries. Work related stress can affect other areas in life such as relationships, motivation and self esteem, so it’s important so seek help before a potential breakdown. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, E15
Written by Jacqueline Fernandez, online/telephone counselling
London, E15

Jacqueline Fernandez MA MBACP, based in Newham, East London. MA in Counselling, Graduate Certificate in Counselling Psychology, BSc Psychology.

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