What to Do If Your Job is Stressing You Out

Senior man working late
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Job stress is one of the top sources of stress according to findings from the American Psychological Association's 2010 Stress in America survey. American Psychological Association, January 2011). Not only can it make you unhappy with your job and cause your performance to suffer, it can impact your physical and mental health. It is important to learn how to manage job stress before it leads to long-term problems from which you will find it difficult to recover.

Let's look at some of the top causes of job stress and the problems associated with it. Then find out how to manage it .

Causes of Job Stress

If you can figure out the cause of your job stress, then you can try to find a cure for it. Here are some possible causes:

  • Overwork: When you are engaged in a big project at your job, you may have to spend long hours at the office or take work home with you. If it happens infrequently, that probably isn't a problem. However, if you regularly have to work late or continue to work from home after hours, you may begin to feel stressed out.
  • Impending Layoffs: Fears that you are going to lose your job at any moment can cause job stress. According to the Stress in America Survey, job instability was the eighth greatest cause of job stress among respondents.
  • Being in the Wrong Career: If your career isn't a good match for your personality type, aptitudes, work-related values and interests, you are unlikely to be satisfied with it. That is why it is so important to take these things into consideration when you are choosing a career.
  • Working in a Job That is Wrong for You: It is stressful to work for an employer that doesn't fully utilize your skills and talents. It is also trying when you don't have the skills to do your job well. You should try to make sure a job is a good fit for you before you accept an offer.
  • Conflict With Your Boss or Co-workers: Good workplace relationships are important. They can get you through some of the most difficult days on the job. Likewise, bad ones can make you miserable even when your job is good in most other ways.

    Problems Associated With Job Stress

    Job stress can lead to chronic health problems like cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders and psychological disorders, according to The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Stress ... At Work. If you catch symptoms early, you have a better chance of fixing problems before they lead to more serious consequences. NIOSH points out that some of the early warning signs to look for are job dissatisfaction, sleep disturbances, headache, trouble concentrating, a short temper, an upset stomach, and poor morale  You should also be aware of a change in personal relationships, increased use of drugs or alcohol and teeth grinding.

    Managing Your Job Stress

    There are things you can do to help lessen your job stress once you are aware that it is becoming  a problem. These fixes are specific to each of the causes discussed earlier in this article. It is important to identify what is making you feel stressed out before trying these solutions.

    • Take a Break: If overwork is your problem, take a vacation, leave work on time as often as possible, and avoid taking work home with you every day. If those aren't options, make sure to take a lunch break and try to use that time to take a walk or do something else that is relaxing.
    • Prepare for a Layoff:  It can be very unsettling when a layoff is looming. You will, of course, be worried about what you are going to do when it finally happens. Having a plan in place can help ease your mind.
    • Quit Your JobThis may seem like an extreme action to take, but if your job is making you miserable, and especially if it is making you sick, quitting could be your best option.
    • Change Your Career: If you find that you made the wrong career choice, or your career is no longer fulfilling, it may be time for a change. Make your choices carefully.
    • Improve Your Workplace Relationships: If you are having conflicts with your boss or co-workers, try to work them out. Although it may be difficult to resolve personality differences, you can try to figure out a way to get along better.
    • Get Professional Help: Finally, If your stress is having a profound effect on your mental or physical well-being, don't be afraid to get professional help.

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