When we talk about mental health and self-care, I think it’s sometimes helpful to think of our bodies as machines. Like any complex machine with a lot of moving parts, we break down over time if we don’t take care of them and provide some routine maintenance. Our bodies and minds need a lot of love to run properly—and when something like a draining job puts extra pressure on us, it can throw the rest of our lives out of balance.
In today’s blog, we’re going to examine five ways you can deal with a draining job.
It’s difficult for most of us to leave work at work so we can enjoy our time at home. For many of us, our identity and our sense of self-worth is tangled up with our job performance—so when things are stressful in the office, we carry that stress home with us. There’s nothing wrong with taking work seriously, but if we aren’t careful a bad working environment can create a toxic atmosphere at home as well.
Consider some of the following questions:
- Are you constantly checking your work email while you should be off?
- Do you sacrifice time with your friends, family, or even yourself to get work done?
- Does your employer expect all this from you, or are you putting this on yourself?
You can’t be effective at work if you aren’t taking care of yourself at home. Like any machine forced to operate 24/7, if you don’t find a way to hit the brakes, your physical & emotional health may start to break down. It’s up to you to set boundaries and limit how much of your personal time you’re giving to your job.
Communicate Your Concerns
Instead of suffering by yourself, consider opening up to others about how you’re feeling. Collect your thoughts, identify the parts of your job that are wearing you out, and then communicate with your supervisor to see if you can find a solution. Being open and honest about your limitations and your capacity might feel scary, but most employers prize transparency and communication.
Similarly, make sure your partner or family at home understands what you’re going through.
Keep a Work Journal
It may help you to keep a journal you can use to organize your thoughts regarding work. You don’t need to write in it all the time. Whenever you feel like your job is starting to wear you down, pick up a pen and start writing. Our inner worry warrior wants to be heard, and sometimes all we need to do is give it a voice and some room to worry.
Make sure you’re balancing your personal and professional responsibilities with self-care. Whether that’s carving out regular time for hobbies, scheduling a weekend getaway, or calling up an old friend to get dinner, by reminding yourself there’s life outside of work, you can keep yourself fresh.
If you find your job stress is keeping you up late at night, consider cutting back on caffeine and trying to set aside time for a little light exercise before bedtime. You aren’t at your best without a full night’s rest.
Consider a Change
If all else fails, it may be time to consider a change. This doesn’t have to be an overnight change, but looking around at what else is out there may give you some clarity around how you’d like your current job to be different. We often feel trapped when that’s not the case. Reminding yourself you have options may be all you need to feel better.
Navigating the emotional stress of a demanding job is complex. If you’re struggling to maintain work-life balance and looking for support, please reach out to schedule a consultation. I work collaboratively with clients to grow together, explore new options and challenge old ways of looking at problems.