I used to work at 1800Flowers.com. I loved it because it was pure chaos (at the time I was also abusing alcohol, had un-diagnosed ADD and things there were so messy that I always had something for my idealism, perfectionism and unfocused mind to prey on).
BUT, I was becoming a workaholic on top of everything else. I was constantly working, never had fun (“work IS fun to me”) and never knew when I’d get a call from our support team (I was in IT and we get calls at all hours of the night).
At some point, I started identifying physical indicators of stress and anxiety.
For instance, I grind my teeth. So much so that I bit through one of those bite guards that I bought at CVS while I slept.
There’s also a lower level grinding that I learned to identify. I was sitting at my desk and would put my teeth close together. They would chatter if I was anxious. Wow. That’s kind of crazy.
There were definitely some contributing factors. Factors such as:
- Lack of sleep
- Checking news websites
- Falling prey to the “do more with less” mentality
- Not caring for my own emotional and physical well-being.
- Not having a support system.
In all of that, I learned:
- I need to actively manage my anxiety level and take care of myself.
- I need to say “no” more often (in a tactful way).
- I need to have an escape plan in the works.
- I need to be closer to my users. In software, you can be close to the users or 20 layers of bureaucracy away from them. I would be the latter.
- I need to stop being “all-in” to my own detriment.
- I need to consider a career where I’m not constantly stressed.
How does stress affect you in the workplace and what are the factors that make it worse? Let us know in the comments!