How I tried to manage stress at work and failed miserably
Do you ever feel like you are losing your mind at work? I do. All. The. Time. So here we have it. How to manage stress at work!
Recruitment, or any client-facing job, for that matter, is stressful. We all know that. We don’t get a 9-5, we are on the phone all the time and we should maintain a smiling face in front of our clients and candidates even when we feel the world around us is breaking into pieces. Our industry has one of the highest turnover rates, and more than half of it is due to inability to cope with stress.
I’ve been recruiting in IT for the last 3 years and I wouldn’t lie, I did spent around 3 months out of it in tears. But you don’t stay long in this industry if you don’t learn how to maintain your stress levels.
Below is a fine selection of my tips on how I tried to manage stress at work and failed miserably.
1. Avoid caffeine (or don’t)
Year two in recruitment, my daily coffee intake was 3-4 cups daily. I was losing sleep; the work was piling up and it became hard to concentrate without my 7am cappuccino. Thus, I decided to cut down caffeine completely in an attempt to reduce my insomnia and stress (spoiler – BAD idea). I lasted without coffee for 2 weeks and around day 7. I wanted to kill – myself, people around me and good vibes. Extreme caffeine shutdown not only didn’t do me good, it actually increased my stress levels dramatically.
So, Tip #1 – don’t go from 10 coffees a day to 0 in an instant. I figured that gradually decreasing my coffee consumption helped much more than going completely coffee-free. I have around 4 cups a week now with no coffee on the weekends and it helps me stay focused, yet non-anxious.
2. Ditch that morning run and have a burger!
I work in a very health-conscious office. Everyone is exercising, eating healthy and we have health workshops every quarter (thanks Jill!). It is very hard to be a couch potato in this sort of environment. But sometimes – you have to! Don’t feel guilty when you ditch that morning run and have a much-needed extra hour of sleep.
Sometimes work is exhausting, and giving yourself a break from exercising is okay. Do not get into a break that lasts a year though! 😉
3. Talk to someone! But make it constructive
We all have those days when everything is falling out of place. And it’s normal to talk to your colleagues about it. But would a 30-minute rant help you in any way? I doubt it. If you are feeling stressed and fail to focus, talk to your leaders. I am lucky to have leaders that are okay with me telling them that I do not feel 100% on some days. But instead of listening to complaints, they help me to make a plan and tackle the issues I have. Sometimes a fresh look from someone in the team is important. Also, if you feel like life gets a bit too overwhelming talk to a specialist. Mental health is still an issue that is not addressed much in the workplace, but you don’t have to feel bad about talking to a therapist. In fact, you should be proud of yourself for identifying your issues and working on them!
4. Have some space
At Precision Sourcing everyone is entitled to “Third Space”. This is a weekly time we go away to a café/park/somewhere we feel comfortable and think about our goals and actions. Sometimes being in a loud office is not good for your concentration and planning, so get out, have a hot chocolate and think about your goals. Map out your strategy and think about what you want to achieve professionally. Then get back to tip #3 and speak to your leaders about your plan to get some useful advice.
5. Take care of your health
Don’t forget that a healthy body makes a healthy spirit. Make sure you have enough sleep, stay hydrated and have plenty of nutrients! In winter times I opt-in some health supplements like fish oil that help me to stay energetic and support my physical strength in cold days. Trying a new sport might be a good idea as well – I’ve recently discovered the world of Thai boxing and I think it’s a great way to relieve stress! Speak to your colleagues and friends – maybe they always wanted to try that new class at the gym? You can pair up and have a cheeky lunch gym session with your mate.
The point is, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and stressed sometimes. However, it is crucial to understand when you have those times you make sure you don’t just sit there and stress even more. I hope all my readers have a productive winter and have as little stress as possible!