Work pressure is a serious concern for your well-being. It can significantly impact your health and happiness.
So far, we’ve covered the many ways work pressure can affect you. How it plays a role in our lives, and how it’s tough to deal with it.
For previous parts of these series, start here. Right now, it’s time we come up with some solutions. So here’s what to do about work pressure. Here’s how to solve it. We’ve prepared 7 ways to eliminate work pressure. Here are the first 3.
#1 Detect the cause of your work pressure
The best way to go about solving work pressure is tracking it. Track work pressure by making notes. In sum, know your enemy.
Sounds exaggerated? Not quite. We’re far too out of touch with our feelings.
A “feelings diary” is the way to do it. Naturally, it’s a great idea to keep track of how you feel. Indeed, labeling your emotions is a clever way to improve them. But take this a notch further:
- Write down how you feel and what you think;
- Add information about the situation;
- Consider which people where involved and how;
- Present the context, physically, situationally;
- Notice your behavior;
- Be mindful of what it is that makes you act in certain ways;
- Write it all down.
This will be a lot like a dream diary. A dream diary is what you use to write down dreams when you wake up. Why? Because otherwise you might forget them. This is precisely what happens with work pressure. You might feel a certain way right now. Yet later you might fail to realize what exactly determined how you felt. What it was that made you act a certain way.
It’s not just forgetfulness that you’re fighting. Rather, it’s rewriting your memory. We often prefer to remember things differently. In fact, we burn through unpleasant memories.
We particularly prefer to remember ourselves in a better light. Did we stutter delivering that reply? Well, we’ll remember having said it perfectly. We’re quick to forget whatever doesn’t fit our safest reality. Hence, we’re quick to forget work pressure.
Writing things down gives you clarity. You’ll know how stressed you are and why. What’s more, you’ll be better at identifying work pressure causes. With this purpose in mind, your data gathering is incredibly useful. Later you will visit these matters and ponder on them.
#2 Give the right answer to work pressure
What’s your response to work pressure? From over eating to under sleeping, people seem to have all sorts of responses. It’s only natural to try and cope with work pressure. It’s unpleasant. We don’t know what’s happening.
All we feel is the tension. Hence, we resolve to fix tension with various soothing responses. We overeat because it is a positive stimulation. We under-sleep because we can’t relax. Every step of the way, we have the wrong response. Work pressure doesn’t go away with extra food. And it doesn’t clear away with less sleep.
The reasons why we do this are many:
- Firstly, the subtle nature of work pressure. We can’t tell what’s stressing us and how;
- Secondly, the issue with learned reactions. We have a history of “what works” when we feel bad. And we put it to use;
- Thirdly, we do not learn from the consequences. While we know that overeating is bad, we still do it. We need it… in the moment.
Previously, we determined the cause of our work pressure. Here’s a trick from cognitive behavioral therapy. Know what’s causing something negative? Simply respond to it in a healthy, positive way. Re-educate your behavior accordingly. Find healthy responses and convert them into healthy routines.
One clear way of lowering work pressure is exercise. Sports serve as an outlet. They take that tension and let it fall onto itself. You unwind. Part of this has to do with oxygen and improved blood flow. But part of it also has to do with the hormones your body releases.
This obviously doesn’t mean that you should go into a squat whenever feeling stressed. But it means that you could at least focus on your breath. Breathing exercises are something you can do anywhere, anytime.
#3 Truly disconnect from work pressure
The work-life balance has shifted in the past two decades. Emails on the phone. Part of work is remote. All sorts of things are different. The separation between work-time and life-time blurs with time and tech.
Hence, you’re never really off work. You finish work, and you go for a drink with a friend. A co-worker just texted you that you’re needed for 5 minutes on a conference call. You schedule that for later. Then you reach home to find 20 emails waiting for a reply. Everything you do, wherever you are, there’s always something following you. No breaks, no personal time, not really.
You’re either about to do something, or thinking about doing something. The opposite thing happens simultaneously. You’re making friends at work. Also, you spend your lunchtime talking to people, relaxing. Perhaps you’re procrastinating for 20 minutes looking for a new gym. Or a new pair of jeans. Let’s face it, life and work are a mosaic.
But when work is everywhere you are, work pressure is also there. And no boundaries means that you get to experience it at all times. No time to unwind. Just pressure. To counteract this, try setting up a few basic rules. A tech curfew, for starters.
You can set up an hour after which all lights go off. Past 21:00, nobody’s using any sort of device. That’s it. There’s no email, no phone, nothing. Want to wake up early? Set the analog alarm clock. Shut everything down. There’s no reason your emails can’t wait till morning. Better yet, join the 04:00 A.M club and boost your productivity.
Overall, managing work pressure is achievable with the right set of measures. Follow us in the next part of this series for more tips on how to manage work pressure.
This article is part of a series. Here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 on how to eliminate work pressure.