managing career stress

Managing Career Stress, Overwhelm and Burn-Out

Managing Career Stress, Overwhelm and Burn-Out

Stress, anxiety and burn-out are very common experiences in the workplace. There can be so many different reasons as to why you feel stressed, overwhelmed, burnt-out or anxious.

Here are just a couple of examples

  • You may feel as though you’re juggling 10 balls at a time and feel unable to review and prioritise.
  • You’re constantly trying to fulfil the high expectations expected by others or those expectations you place upon yourself
  • Perhaps you are working over-time or covering for others or your team if there are cutbacks, or they are on a break, under-performing or on sick leave.
  • You may even be experiencing imposter syndrome, perhaps you’re  fearful of rejection and setbacks, being made redundant or fear the prospect of losing your position or job and so you place unrealistic or impossible expectations on yourself to over-achieve.
  • You’re working extra-hard, and you may be responding on autopilot but without the job satisfaction.
  • You rarely take breaks or time-out for yourself
  • You don’t have a healthy work life balance which works for you!
  • Your life, wellbeing, relationships and career are impacting the other and vice versa.
  • You experience procrastination, perfectionism, overwhelm, the need to for people-pleasing, lack of effective time management etc.

If you experience any of the above or more, you’ll know how it can impact the quality of your life, wellbeing, career, job satisfaction and performance, relationships and your confidence. So, managing career stress, overwhelm and burn-out could be the saving grace skill which will help propel your career forwards.

Here 10 suggestions to help you to start managing career stress, overwhelm and burn-out

1.Take Regular Smaller Breaks

Do you take breaks? Don’t feel guilty for taking breaks, they help you to step away, zoom out and relax from work, review what’s happening and help you return to things with a clearer mindset and perspective. You wouldn’t run a car on an empty tank of fuel and expect it to get from A to B, so why would you do the same to yourself?

 2.Create a healthy work life balance which works for you!

Oh yes, here comes the work life balance tip! However, you need to create a work life balance which is tailored specifically to your needs, your values, your priorities and your schedule rather than picking up some work life balance tips from a general self-help book. A healthy work life balance is not perfect, it is prone to adaption and change just as you and your priorities will change. However, it is important to be dedicated to at least trying to balance out your work and life goals. After all, your career will impact your life and your life will impact your career.

3. How is stress impacting you?

Managing career stress, overwhelm and burn-out relies on asking yourself powerful questions which will be the catalyst for change. For example, you might ask how is stress and anxiety affecting you? What needs to change? What are you missing out on whilst you’re feeling stressed or anxious? Will the stress and anxiety change anything?

 4. Be aware of your triggers and fears

Do you know what your stress or anxiety triggers are? What are you stressed about? Once you’re aware of what triggers the stress or anxiety, then you’ll have more options to choose how you respond to it. It’s also a great idea to ask yourself how true are your fears? They may feel true to you but in reality, they may not be.

5. Being busy versus being productive

Being busy does not always mean that you’re being productive especially if you’re focusing your energy and attention on the things which are not important, or you’re trying to accomplish everything in one go. If you’re stressed because of your workload, review what your priorities and sub-priorities are in accordance with your short-term and long-term goals. Then start reviewing and planning your day and week accordingly.

6. Forget about what you can’t control

So often it’s easy and natural to stress about the things you can’t control and so your energy and time is spent focusing on this, which can be time wasted and increase stress and anxiety levels. Instead, why not focus on the things you can control rather than those which you can’t control. A good tip is to write everything down into a journal that is on your mind and then leave it for another day. Then turn your thoughts to the tasks which are a priority.

7. Delegate

If you work in a team or you’re a leader, it’s not a sin or a weakness to delegate work or tasks if you can. In fact, effective delegation according to other people’s strengths can show trust, authenticity, can build and develop relationships and can encourage others to take the initiative to grow, develop and to feel empowered which can boost motivation and morale. It also helps to unload the stress from you. If you find it difficult to delegate, then ask yourself why and what’s behind this? It might be a good idea to review this with a professional or executive coach.

If you’re not in a team or you have to perform on your merit alone, then it’s important to think how you can mentally delegate by prioritising and sub-prioritising your daily weekly and monthly goals.

8. Value your needs

Of course, you need to meet your work needs, deadlines and goals, but also remember that if you’re just living and working on a monotonous autopilot then it might be time to ask yourself are you still fulfilled? Do you enjoy your career? Or is it time for a fresh start and you need to change your career? When you truly align your values within your life, career, relationships and wellbeing, you are more likely to feel healthier, happier and ready to thrive rather than just survive!

9. Reach Out and Ask for Support

If you’re really finding the stress too much, and you feel able to reach out for support to a trusted colleague, supervisor or mentor. If it’s difficult to ask for support at work, then an Executive Coach can help you to effectively review and manage your stress and anxiety. Sometimes naming and sharing it out loud can help tremendously. Remember- it shows strength and a determination to develop to reach out and ask for support!

10. Establish your boundaries 

Try to compartmentalise and focus on your work when you’re in work, and as soon as you leave the office or finish for the day, close the door and focus on your personal life and relationships. It can be good if you need to work from home, or you continue to work at home after your day at the office to have different zones within your home where you can work and then switch off. Mentally closing a door, turning off a laptop or redirecting your phone to voicemail can help with creating boundaries.

Next Steps

If you’re experiencing career stress, burn-out, overwhelm and you would like to feel lighter, more in control and improve your clarity, confidence and direction then why not connect with me to find out how I can support you to manage career stress, overwhelm and burn-out.