Over the past week, as I’ve connected with my co-workers and other colleagues. I’ve noticed a pattern that shouldn’t really be surprising, but it still caught me off guard, everyone was really stressed out. I heard everything from unmet expectations to flawed perceptions to questions around capabilities.
We are obviously all living in a very high-stress period of time right now, and without healthy ways of alleviating this stress it often comes out in confrontational, unproductive outbursts. So, to prevent that from happening what tools can we deploy to keep ourselves grounded, productive, and mentally healthy?
Let’s dive in!
I’m Kind of Really Stressed Out Right Now!
“Work has been really stressful lately!”
Sounds familiar? ☝🏾☝🏾☝🏾
The most dangerous thing about stress is awareness.
That frustration, irritability, fatigue that stays with you consistently is a clear indication that you’re in the midst of a stressful period.
Here’s how I tackle stressful periods at work -
✅ Identify the Source(s) - Unclear expectations, Inaccurate or misaligned perceptions, Decrease in productivity
✅ Determine Next Steps - Clarify expectations, Address inconsistent perceptions, Identify PRIORITIES
✅ Focus and Execute - The idea is to clarify your expectations and remove barriers so that you can focus and execute
Importantly, before attempting any of the recommendations above, take a deep breath and take some time to understand how you’re feeling.
Stress could be an indicator that there are more serious things wrong. So, take the time to understand if your needs are being met, if not prioritize your own well-being.
You Said What About Me?!?
Don’t take it personally, even when it’s definitely personal…
There are certain things that are difficult to not take personally at work -
❌ Questioning your capability
❌ Questioning your intentions
*Takes a deep breath*
More often than not, challenges or subtle digs at your intentions and capabilities are often a reflection of the frustration of others, not a reflection of your behavior.
So, what’s the appropriate way to react when we feel personally offended?
✅ Clarify Directly - Ask, “is my capability in question?” Or, “is there a concern about my intentions?”
✅ Request Examples - Separate actions from your character. Ask for concrete examples of the feedback you are receiving.
✅ Align on Expectations - Get concrete next steps and ensure that expectations are clear
You have to be prepared for feedback on your performance or behavior, regardless of what it is. Getting an insight into how you are perceived will allow you to determine either how to change that perception or accept it.
So, remember, even when you encounter difficult circumstances that feel deeply personal, try to focus on the actions you can address and separate said actions from your character.
Focus on Your Priorities!
Now more than ever our jobs, our livelihood, can feel like it is disproportionately the most important thing in our lives. With the inconsistency of the world in general, it can feel like the ‘thing’ that offers purpose and fulfillment.
However, that can be a dangerous outlook. Personally, I find the work that I do to be very fulfilling, but I’m careful to not let it define who I am or how I perceive my worth.
It is incredibly important to find sources of fulfillment that do not measure your worth against your performance and ability to accomplish results. Fortunately, we do have access to wholesome, healthy sources of fulfillment -
✅ Family, yes, Pets count too, oh and Friends!
✅ Hobbies, that you enjoy and that inspire you
✅ Personal Dreams and Goals, that you set and dictate
Defining yourself outside of your performance at work also has a funny way of improving said performance. You can then focus on the tasks at hand without internalizing negative or even unfair feedback. You can then better push past more stressful periods until they have passed.
At the end of the day, your well-being is always your top priority. So, take care and have a safe, mentally healthy week!