Stress is something we all deal with on a regular basis. The pressure to meet deadlines, to get out of the office in time to (for example) get to your daughter’s recital, and other daily issues affect us all.
The human mind can bend like a champ. You can bend all day and feel like you’ll never break. But there is a breaking point for everyone. And you will break if you:
- Don’t manage the stress well, or
- Have more than you can handle.
What I want to talk about today is occupational stress. It’s a dangerous game that can control your life and even send you into the wrong kind of early retirement. So keep reading to find out what you can do to manage better, and learn when to know it’s time to hand in a resignation letter and find something else.
You Hate Your Life
If you hate your life because of your job, it’s time to move on. It doesn’t matter how much you’re getting paid.
Life is short. And the sad fact is that it’s getting shorter every day.
In the morning, do you ever run into people who are smiling and ready to tackle the day head on? These are folks who love their jobs. If you have noticed them, it’s likely because they are a very small minority.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be one of them.
How do I Know if I Hate My Job?
Good question! Most people have no idea how much they truly despise their job until they’ve quit. Ask yourself the following:
- Do I have trouble sleeping because I’m dreading waking up in the morning?
- Do I wish horrible things would happen to my boss?
- Do I dislike everyone I work with?
- Am I the last one in the door at work and the first one out?
- Do I spend more time staring out a window than actually working?
- Do I spend all of my time with friends and family venting about work?
If you answered yes to at least two of the above questions, it’s time to hit the bricks.
While certain health issues are going to increase with age, occupational stress can aggravate these concerns. Stress makes you tired and weakens your immune system. It has been linked to everything from increases in stroke and heart disease to headaches and insomnia. Stress can destroy your sexual desire and even cause you to go bald prematurely. In short, stress, when poorly managed or in abundance, can and will ruin you.
Fixing the Problem
Quitting your job immediately may not be possible, of course. While you’re on the look, try some lifestyle changes. Attending to your diet and physical condition is the obvious place to start.
Eating lots of of fruits and vegetables is great. Drop the processed food, cut the sugar, and reduce caffeine consumption. This one change will have an immediate positive effect. You’ll physically feel better and your mood will improve.
Throw in some exercise. You don’t need to work out two hours a day. Start slow. Go to the gym twice a week and take it easy. Increase the intensity and frequency as you feel comfortable doing so. This will help you to feel better and sleep better at night.
Improved diet and exercise not only reduce stress, they lower the chances of developing type II diabetes, arthritis, some cancers, and more.
Meditation is the common denominator among some of the most successful people in the world. They wake up early, exercise and meditate, eat a healthy breakfast, and then they’re in the office before anyone else.
Yoga is something many people swear by. Consider working a gentle yoga routine into your workout schedule. Take a few classes to learn the basics.
Other therapies to destress include acupuncture and massage.
I’ve tried everything on the above list. They have all worked to some degree, but no two people are the same. So what worked for me might not work for you. Personally, acupuncture is one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced in this life. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend giving it a shot.
The Bottom Line
I dealt with a ton of stress. I had a job I hated. It was destroying my body. I was on my feet 60 hours a week and the money was awful. I never saw my family or my godsons.
I was miserable.
Something had to give. So I took a chance at doing something I love and pursued it relentlessly. The money wasn’t great at first. But I didn’t give up and I had plenty of crappy work history to keep me motivated.
Now, I’m making more money than I was and working a fraction of the hours and doing so from the comfort of my own home. It’s not for everyone but I’m definitely proof that you can leave a stressful, dead-end job. You don’t have to settle for anything less than what you want.
Work-related stress is not worth it. Hating your life and your career are optional.