Unless we set boundaries, unrelieved anxiety can fester into life-threatening health issues – not to mention problems with our spouses and families.
We’re all stressed out
I neglected the danger signs when my father passed away, my workload increased, and the demands of my job permeated my life. Tension and worry gave way to a major depression. Ultimately, I missed several weeks of work.
When you’re sweating to meet goals and deadlines, long hours are expected, and personal life is diminished. Your focus becomes success at any cost, and work becomes your life. If enough time passes, you begin to think that this is the New Normal.
Make life better
Gwen Moran, writing in Inc. Magazine, acknowledges the conundrum. “Into each life, some annoyances, obstacles, and misfortune will fall,” Moran says. “And while some self-help gurus will tell you to simply ditch what’s making you unhappy or holding you back, sometimes, it’s not that easy.”
In her story, “6 Tricks for Surviving Work and Personal Adversity,” Moran quotes Linda Hoopes, author of “Prosilience: Building Your Resilience for a Turbulent World.”
“Everybody has those constraints and situations that we don’t want to be in,” says Hoopes, a licensed clinical social worker and resilience expert. “Sometimes, you’re stuck with them for the time being. But there are things that you can do to make many situations better and cultivate greater resilience, even as you look for long-term solutions or resolutions.”
Small rewards can help
If your situation is long-lasting, it helps to pay special attention to your own comfort and relief.
That doesn’t mean an expensive weekend trip to a fancy spa. Ongoing self-care that helps relieve stress, promotes deep sleep, and offers a respite from your unrelenting pressures is optimal.
Commonly suggested remedies like long, hot baths with scented bubbles, facials, massages, yoga, exercise, and acupuncture really work. Taking an hour to read for pleasure, or sitting on your patio for a few minutes listening to birdsong, playing with your dog, or calling your best friend are small indulgences with big rewards.
Break down your responsibilities, list them, and give each a priority. This will not only help keep you organized – it also will force you to focus on the things that matter rather than the self-critical voice in your head.
Is change possible?
Change what you can about your situation, advises Hoopes. “Even within a bad situation, you can make small changes to improve it and turn it into motivation to make bigger changes,” she notes. “You can look for opportunities to learn new skills, even in a job you hate. If you’re managing caretaking responsibilities, you might be able to enlist help from others to get some time for yourself. Think creatively about your situation and how you might be able to make small changes to improve it.”
Track your progress
Moran says one important way to combat job fatigue is to reframe your situation. Instead of complaining about what you cannot change, try listing the ways you have benefitted the company, the professional honors you’ve earned, or the ways you have grown professionally. Seeing yourself more objectively helps when the boss bears down.