By Michael M DeSafey
Managing work related stress, while balancing work and life, is a very slippery slope. Problems pop up all the time! It is one of the realities of working in a professional industry. With the high standards expected from workers in fields such as architecture, design, and environmental protection, stress can easily restrict employees from doing their best. Rules and regulations, especially when it comes to environmental projects, can sometimes make people on edge. It gives them a sort of fear of failure, making their work ethic unstable. Maybe a client is throwing away hard work because they are not satisfied, or maybe they’re unrealistically changing everything. In the engineering and construction business frustration levels can skyrocket. And as much as you’d like it to end there, it doesn’t. It’s hard to maintain a good, healthy lifestyle when your job is stressful. That stress keeps getting heavier and heavier on your shoulders till you feel ready to break! Your job, whether it’s the planning or building, is important to the industry as a whole. Don’t be the link in the chain that breaks! Here are a few tips to step out from under that heavy burden of work related stress and take back your life.
Tip #1: Breathe
You’ve probably heard it before, the famous phrase, “Calm down” often comes with an assistant, “Take a deep breath.” Maybe you don’t believe in that anymore. The whole “calming” backwards countdown is a little childish for your taste. Don’t shoot deep breathing down just yet! Deep breathing helps promote a sense of calm, delivering needed oxygen to the brain, and really helping you focus. Plans fall through, deadlines are shortened, equipment breaks down… the list goes on and on. Often when we are stressed it’s hard to keep our focus, missing problems that may be right under our noses. It’s easy to become overwhelmed in a high-end industry. Breathing is key to maintaining a stress free outlook on those unavoidable problems. Try inhaling for five count and exhaling for five count. You can do more or less if you feel this is insufficient or too much. Take a step back if needed and then reintroduce yourself to the problem.
Tip #2: Communication
Frustration equals lack of communication. This can lead to all kinds of problems in the industry. Any successful company can tell you, correct communication keeps things running smoothly. When something is really stressing us out, the most insignificant things could make us blow up. We’ve all had our moments. The problem is when we blow up at other people. Everyone gets hurt when that happens and nothing gets accomplished. You notice someone has made a mistake; maybe they are not following safety protocol, or have misread instructions. Letting them know calmly and asking them to correct their mistake it is the easiest and most effective way to fix the problem. Perhaps you need a different angle on your project, or help deciding the best route to completing it. Don’t let your pride get in the way of your job. It’s necessary to communicate your problems and to seek help in working them out.
Tip #3: Personal Time
If you’re working long hours, or even stressful short ones, be sure to make some time for personal activities. Having a balance between life and work is important to be successful. You shouldn’t let work over-complicate your life and vis versa. Often, if there isn’t a problem at work there is a problem at home. Learn to relax into your life again. Pick up a hobby or get some exercise to relieve stress. Activities you enjoy can help you to appreciate yourself and all that you can do! Turn off the tv (Unless you’ve got an important game scheduled, which is understandable) and go outside! Take in nature and relax! Do whatever you find relaxing. And make sure you are eating right and getting enough sleep.
These tips will undoubtedly improve your mood and your work ethic. If you mess up ask for forgiveness, forgive yourself, fix the problem, and move on. It’s up to you to take that step closer to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling balance between your job and your life.