It’s a simple reality that we all need to work. Some of us are so busy just barely making a living and we need to ask ourselves ‘Is my job-killing me?’
Some jobs are hazardous and could literally be killing you.
My son worked for the oil drilling company and he found himself always in great danger being around so many toxic chemicals that he finally decided to move on.
The rewards just weren’t worth the risks.
Other jobs may be taking their toll in a slower, subtler way and slowly killing us without realizing we are even in danger.
We may be constantly stressed, exhausted, having that sick feeling in the pit of our stomach as we make that commute to work each day, perhaps the stress is keeping us up at night.
It’s hard not to let those feelings affect other areas of our lives and it usually harms our relationships with spouses, children, extended family and even our friendships.
So how do we deal with this?
What can we do to ease the stress or even eliminate it if possible?
We continue working day after day failing to take this question seriously.
Yet, I am fairly certain we have all heard stories or may even know someone who worked so hard they dropped dead.
And it does not need to be a heavy, physical job for that to happen.
About 20 years ago, I had a neighbour who that happened to. He was a local store owner and went to start his day as usual and just like that he had a heart attack and died, leaving a wife and child behind.
Death at the workplace is more common than you realize.
They say that ‘Monday’ is the most stressful day of the week and that most Heart Attacks occur on Mondays.
Makes sense why so many people hate Mondays.
Is Your Job Killing You
We all know stress causes our cortisol levels to rise. Cortisol stimulates our fight or flight responses which can affect our ability to sleep, suppress our digestion, affect our mental and reproductive health. Constant exposure to higher levels of cortisol can have the following effects:
- Digestive problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration problems
- Heart problems
It is clearly in our best interests to lower our cortisol levels so what can we do when our jobs are so stressful, with bosses demanding more in less time and for less money?
Identify the Stressors
The first step is to clearly identify the problem areas. Make a list of all the things that are causing you stress.
- You hate going to work. Perhaps you enjoyed your job when you started and overcame the ‘new job anxiety’ but now there seems to be constant stress. Perhaps now there is more responsibility placed on you and there are tighter deadlines. This new stress just keeps getting piled on and causes other issues to arise.
- Insomnia can be a big problem since you can’t seem to stop thinking about a solution to that problem at work or that disagreement with a co-worker. Lack of sleep can make us less effective at dealing with normal daily stresses, making things seem insurmountable.
- Depression can easily set in when you no longer want to get out of bed in the morning and head to work because you know that hell is waiting for you. Depression is more than just not having the passion you used to have. You start neglecting other areas of your life.
- Weight gain due to a lack of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle and constant stress is another problem that can occur. This puts further stress on our heart and tends to worsen the depression.
- Exhaustion occurs as things are piling up and the negative effects keep snowballing. If you find you require a nap once you get home before carrying on with your home life this could begin to cause trouble with your spouse or children.
- Relationships begin to suffer. We have all heard that we should not bring our work home but when that work stresses us out completely we find ourselves unable to leave it at the office. Those negative feelings seem to follow us everywhere and begin to negatively affect our relationships with family and friends.
- Anger is the result of too much stress for too long. We’ve all seen situations where people just snap and begin to release all that pent-up anger and frustration. They begin destroying or hurting everything or everyone around them that represents the object of their anger. If you find yourself angry every day it is time to leave that job and find something else. Regardless of how long you have been at that job if you are constantly angry it is time to go.
Sometimes we can find ways to reduce stress and we can better cope and enjoy our job again.
The first thing is to ensure your relationships outside of work are in a good place. These are the people who are your support system and you want to maintain a strong healthy relationship here.
it is almost certain that if your home life relationships are unhealthy it will affect every area of your life including work.
Are you taking care of yourself? Getting regular exercise, a healthy diet, enough sleep. These things all affect your overall health. If you are not taking care of yourself and your cortisol levels are consistently high you are raising your chances of a heart attack or stroke.
Regularly practicing yoga or even getting a massage can significantly lower stress as well.
If you are struggling at work try delegating some workload if possible. You don’t have to do everything. Tackle the most important tasks first and you will get to the others in time. If you are unable to reduce the work stress it may be time to consider a career change.
Sometimes the only solution is a career change. Not everyone is suited for every career. That is okay.
When I was younger I thought I wanted to be a hairstylist. I did enjoy it until my hands started bothering me from constantly being in harsh chemicals. I then worked in food services for a time before deciding upon a career in health care. Now I am enjoying being a full-time blogger and work on my terms.
Yes, it can be scary to find another career, but it is certainly better than staying in a high-stress job that you hate and are risking your very life from extreme stress.
Take some time to think about what type of job you may like to try. Then find out the qualifications necessary for that job and get to work preparing yourself for a career change.
Even if you need to go back to school for a time it is amazing how much better it makes you feel to be actively working on a solution.
Establish a Support Network
Make sure you take the time to nurture your relationships with those closest to you. Your family and friends will be a strong support system as you make the necessary changes in your career and ultimately your life.
Working out with a friend is a great stress reducer.
It is also helpful to have someone to talk to when you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of such a big change in your life.
Time with friends and family does help make you healthier.
While it is good to be challenged in our careers we should not be so stressed we are left wondering is my job-killing me?
The first thing we should do is identify the stressors and determine if we can find a solution that will help reduce stress.
Ensure we are taking good care of ourselves by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, getting regular exercise, getting enough sleep and spending quality time with friends and family to maintain healthy relationships and a strong support system.
See if we can find ways to reduce stress by delegating some tasks or only focusing on the most important tasks.
If there doesn’t seem to be another solution then it may be time for a career change.
Talk it over with your support people and determine what new career you may like to try.
Changing careers can be scary, but it can also be very exciting as you work towards creating a better, stress-free life for yourself as our son and I have done.
If you enjoy writing you can take up blogging for income, here is an excellent training on how to become a blogger for free. This is where I learned how to blog which changed my life forever.
Do you find your job highly stressful? What solutions worked for you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. I look forward to more amazing ideas. Take care of yourself, no one else won’t.