9 Ways You Can Overcome Stress At Work
Although we are all aware of stress caused by finances and relationships, you’d be amazed at how many people are really stressed and discouraged over issues related to their jobs. Career counseling agencies are finding that job anxiety is one of the major causes of stress in our society.
“80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help.” – Attitudes in the American Workplace VII report
Every indication is that stress at work, and in our lives in general, is increasing.
The truth is that much of this job-related stress is caused by mismatched jobs – people being in jobs that don’t match their natural talents and interests – some is caused by the rapid change in technology and how those changes affect responsibilities and duties in the workplace. (If you feel like you’re in a mismatched job, Career Direct can help you understand what job does fit your interests, personality, skills, and values.)
So how do we deal with this stress?
One of the primary reasons we suffer from job-related stress is that our lives are out of balance. Even with smart cars, smart appliances, smart phones, and digital helpers, like Siri and Alexa, we actually seem to have less free time than our grandparents did.
Why with all of these time-saving improvements do we still not have time to relax and reflect?
It’s because our priorities are out of balance.
Many families feel like their lives are not balanced. In an ideal world, we would take 8 hours every to work, 8-10 to sleep, exercise, and eat, and 6 to spend with friends and family or for relaxation. But few are ever able to achieve this balance.
Some are so indebted that they feel they must work overtime just to make ends meet. Others cannot say no, so they commit time that should be spent with family to others instead.
But once balance is brought back into an individual’s life, and work is put in its proper place, stress will be greatly reduced on the job, even though the circumstances relating to the job might not have changed.
Ideally, you’d be able to have a job you enjoy, that allows you to use your God-given talents, at a comfortable pace, and in a work environment you enjoy. But this is not always the case. It’s a fact that many people will be forced to perform duties for which they are not qualified or which they do not like, in an unpleasant work environment, because they need the money and can’t afford to quit or don’t have the time to look for another job.
To these people, job-related stress could be devastating to their health if their lives away from work are out of balance. Crown’s Career Direct Assessment would be of immense value. It’s a simple assessment that measures your personality, interests, beliefs, and behaviors through a biblical lens to help you understand how God has uniquely created you. It may be exactly what you need to make a career change.
But if changing the work situation is not a viable option, the following steps can be followed to help bring balance, which will result in reduced stress at work:
- Study God’s Word regularly. Jesus is both the Word and the Bread of Life. To be spiritually strong you need daily nourishment from His Word. Before you leave for work, begin your day with a time of study in God’s Word.
- Pray and meditate. As with the study of God’s Word, prayer at the beginning of each day is absolutely essential for daily nourishment and to maintain balance.
- Seek godly counsel. No man is an island. We all need help and encouragement. Do not hesitate to call on your brothers and sisters in Christ whenever you need help and encouragement.
- Leave work at work. When you go home at night, leave your work in the workplace. Do not bring home the frustrations of work and pile them on your family. When you leave the job, leave the work there.
- Serve others. The responsibilities of the body of believers include bearing one another’s burdens and sharing fellowship and love with fellow believers. Spend time with the family as well as time with your church family. Know how to say “no” when the church begins to infringe upon your time with your natural family, but don’t use time with your natural family as an excuse to forsake the body of Christ.
- Make a plan and stick to it. Determine that you will become debt free so you will not be required to work overtime.
- Avoid bitterness. It only takes the slightest amount of bitterness to ruin your attitude and undercut the balance in your life. Identify the root cause of bitterness and eliminate it. Don’t point fingers at others. Instead, go to God with any bitterness, anger, or unforgiving spirit.
- Give all to God. There are certain circumstances that you just can’t control – surrender them to God. Help somebody. Look around and see whom you can help or encourage. Many times our difficulties look smaller if we begin to help others.
- Rejoice in the Lord. Thank the Lord for your job, and for your ability to work. Thank Him for supplying your physical and material needs with income that your job provides. If we are thankful for what we have, He may very well give us what we want.
Although statistics show that job-related stress is one of the major causes of health problems, it is probably not going to go away in the near future.
Some people will be able to change jobs or change job duties and relieve some of the stress. Yet others will have to face the fact that their job situations may not ever change. Those caught in stressful situations, though, do not have to struggle through life dreading their work; they can change their perspective. Even though their work situations may never change, they can relieve their stress by bringing balance to their lives—balance that is founded on the study of God’s Word and on prayer.
Career Direct should be the next step for anyone struggling in their career, looking for a change, or wondering what the best fit for them is. And if you feel like you’re in the right job, but not quite satisfied with it, find encouragement in the Achiever’s Guide to Job Satisfaction. It has helpful, practical advice on how to make the most of everyday at your job.
Originally published in LifeWay’s HomeLife magazine, April 2013.