Workplace stress

Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is common and can really affect a person’s life.  This is not surprising given the average adult spends about 25% of their week at work. With that much time spent working, it’s inevitable that stressful situations will arise. In order to ensure work stress does not take over all aspects of our lives, a good first step is to reflect and identify what is bothering you and how stress impacts you. 

Workplace stress can be silent, so it’s not always easy to identify when you are feeling or experiencing stress. Some signs of stress include: low energy, headaches, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, digestive issues, sweating, low self-esteem, frequent illness and lack of sex drive. 

Start by identifying or reflecting on stressful situations at work. Are you finding yourself agitated when you get home from a long commute or being stuck in traffic? Maybe someone in your office said something to you or about you or your work that isn’t sitting right. Perhaps your boss has piled on extra work recently and you’re feeling overwhelmed. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How did this make me feel? What emotions/feelings are coming up for me?
  • How did I react in the moment? How did I feel after the moment had passed?
  • What are some possible ways that I can resolve this situation? 
Beyond reflection, there are also several proven techniques that might be able to help you stay in a better frame of mind to in turn be able to cope with workplace stress when it comes up. Here are some suggestions:
  • Work life balance – How much time are you spending working compared to non-work activities? This includes time spent checking email when “off” at home? Are you investing time in activities that recharge you? For example, socializing with friends, getting exercise, visiting with family, etc. 
  • Upskill your time management competencies – If you find it difficult to manage your time and priorities at work, you might need to take a crash course in time management. There are lots of free or low cost courses available on YouTube or through Udemy or Coursera. Invest in your career and a lower stress life!
  • Taking time off from work – Are you cashing in your vacation days and taking advantage or flex time or other personal time offered by your employer? If you find it hard to take time off, consider what your limiting beliefs are around this? Do you believe the workplace will suffer if you are away?  How do you really know this to be true? 
  • Avoid office politics and gossip – It can be tempting to chat with your colleagues at lunch and rehash the he said/she said of the day, but ask yourself if this is actually serving you in any positive way or just creating more stress and anxiety?
  • Let go of perfectionism – Are you spending too much time trying to overthink and perfect a report or presentation? Oftentimes we confuse competence with perfectionism and while perfectionism can appear to be a motivating trait, all it really does is lead to stress and in the long run: burnout. 

If you continue to find it difficult to identify or manage your work related stress, it might be time to reach out to a counsellor for guidance or treatment. 

How to find a Stress or Career Counsellor in BC

At Waypoint Counselling Network, we know finding the right therapist is the most important step in seeking help. We will help match you to the right couples counsellor in Victoria, Vancouver, Burnaby, Kelowna or online anywhere in BC.  All of our counsellors offer online counselling via phone or video and some offer in-person sessions and all of them have expertise in working on stress and negative thinking. If you wish to connect with a career counsellor, check out the following list or contact us to learn more.

At Waypoint, we will connect you with the right help at the right time.