Is Your 9 to 5 Making You Sick?

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If you are unhappy at work but don’t feel ready or willing to quit, you are not alone. Those of us with jobs are grateful for them even if they make us miserable. A major downside is that the stress and unhappiness from work can begin to adversely affect other areas of your life. You may feel tired, irritable, or stressed out at home and find it difficult to enjoy time with your family and friends. Unchecked stress can even begin to affect your health.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that nagging headache, your frequent forgetfulness or your decreased productivity at work. But sometimes stress is to blame. Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior.”

If any of this is ringing true for you, you might be feeling stuck. Maybe you think there’s nothing you can do to improve the situation at work and you just can’t quit and find a new job right now. Maybe you’ve tried to make things better or to cope with the stress as best you can but still feel its effects.

Here are a few ideas to help you alleviate your job’s impact on other areas of your life:

  1. Take a few minutes at the end of your workday to decompress. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and do your best to change gears and leave your work (and your feelings about work) at the office.
  2. Make extra time for yourself. Schedule in some additional self-care in your week to help reduce your stress levels. Find a new hobby, take an interesting class, start a new exercise routine that feels fun, etc. This might feel selfish, but taking a little extra time for yourself can improve your interactions with family and friends by lifting your spirits, improving your mood, and helping you feel more engaged.
  3. Replace a negative coping mechanism with a relaxation technique. Try meditation, yoga, or tai chi instead of over-eating, drinking, or medication. You don’t have to take away all your vices all at once and create more anxiety for yourself, but once a week replace a bad habit with something relaxing and nourishing.
  4. Build a strong network of close friends and family that will support you and be there when you need them. It helps to know that you’re not alone. Reach out for help when you need it.

I’m hugging you hard. This too shall pass. xo

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