How can I cope with work related stress better?
I am in a high stress position for a tech company. I am being overworked and underpaid for my contributions and it is not only giving me anxiety, but also demoralizing.
What can I do to manage my stress?
Ugh! We spend so many hours at work, so if it's a tough environment it can really drag you down.
Is this your "dream job" gone sour or a "just pay the bills" deal that has gotten stale? It makes a big difference in terms of next steps.
For example, if this job is a step on the way to a bigger goal, it might be time to assess whether you need to be moving along to then next phase. Have you learned what you needed to learn to make this a helpful experience? Or do you sense there is more to learn, but you feel stuck in some way?
If this current job is part of a bigger plan, then you need to practice some good self care, set up ways to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing, and make sure you are including some "carrots" along the way. That might mean spending some time each week networking (preferably live but online works well too) with peers in similar situations (entrepreneur groups, skill building trainings, etc). Big dreams require small steps, but we all need support along the way.
If , however, this is "just a job", then you really have to reassess your situation. If you are burned out and not getting paid your worth then look around for other opportunities. You are employed, not owned.
You mentioned anxiety, and while I don't want to minimize the very real issues anxiety presents, is it possible that some of your anxiety can be seen as "revving your engine" and readying you to move on? Or is it that pervasive feeling of never being able to finish your work, feeling like you will be "in trouble", or dreading every single moment of your workday? The first is a potentially positive motivator, the second is just bad for you. See the difference?
In order to feel any satisfaction with your job, it needs to be financially rewarding (to a level that makes sense), be a good atmosphere to learn, be supportive and/or be a step on the way to a bigger plan you have. If your job isn't fulfilling any of those criteria, you need to move on.
And finally, if the only reason you have this job is to pay the bills, and you truly see no way around keeping your current position for now, remember why you are there - this is a job, not a family. You rent your brain and body to your employer, not your heart and soul. Those belong to you and you are responsible for feeding them. That means good self-care, making sure you have social engagement (face-to-face, not just online), move your body, feel the sun on your face daily, creating ways to refresh your body and mind and generally taking care of your whole being.
Discomfort exists for a reason - it primes us for change, gives us the necessary motivation to take reasonable risks, and pesters us until we do so. The first step is to figure out what change is realistic, and take action.
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