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Coping with Career Stress in a Pandemic

Coping with Career Stress in a Pandemic

Stressed man looking downThe emotional fallout of the pandemic is pushing some folks to quit their jobs. Even if they’ve been able to work with the bare minimum of exposure to the virus, there is a general degree of stress and anxiety that they can’t ignore. Some people are fortunate enough not to have taken a major hit in their incomes, yet they are on edge. They struggle to adjust to a novel work environment (mostly home). With an increase in emotional work pressure caused by the coronavirus pandemic, career stress levels have hit the roof. Psychotherapists and career counselors are getting more calls for help than ever before.

What therapists say

A wide variety of strategies to combat career stress caused by the pandemic may work. Methods of coping include following a structured exercise regimen, or any kind of exercise routine. Walking and running have helped many, and keep you fit at the same time. Plus, it helps you get outdoors and since you can do it alone, you’re safe from any physical human interaction. Therapists say that meditation and prayer help with stress too.

Employees have found that getting involved in hobbies and learning new skills, either job-related or not, go a long way in relieving career stress. Simple yet satisfying chores, like cooking a meal for the kids, can help too. Staying connected with family and friends, and engaging in content that is positive on the internet are great at busting stress.

grieving woman looking at laptopRecognizing stress is important

Symptoms of stress related to your career need to be identified by you. Here are some of the signs you should pay attention to:

  • Feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, nervousness, or being “hyper”
  • Feelings of irritation and anger
  • Fatigue and being overwhelmed
  • A lack of motivation
  • Depression and feelings of sadness/doom
  • Having sleepless nights
  • Having trouble with concentration and focusing

How does stress relate to work?

Consider the following common factors centered around work that can put a strain on you, especially as the pandemic rages on:

  • Due to the pandemic, career stress may be caused by thinking of the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus at the workplace.
  • Managing a workload that is different from the one you are used.
  • Dealing with new ways of communication and difficulties of a technological nature.
  • Adjusting to a schedule that varies from your routine work schedule.
  • If you are working from home, you may find it difficult to concentrate while the rest of the family is holed up there too. Adapting to this may cause anxiety and interfere with your performance. You could also feel nervous if you are called to your workplace and you are worried about exposure and infecting loved ones at home.
  • A lack of access to work-related tools.

friends sitting at table and discussing therapyBuilding coping mechanisms

The key to handling stress that largely arises because we have difficulty adjusting to a new circumstance is to have robust coping methods. Added to the new ways of living is a virus that is so dangerous, it makes you keep looking over your shoulder. Fortunately, humans are resilient enough to make sense of the world and cope as best they can. The pandemic and stress can bring people together like never before.

Help to build resilience

Here are some strategies to put out the flames of stress:

  • Communicate your worries to coworkers. They will likely be happy and share their own anxieties with you. There’s safety in numbers and you will be relieved to know you’re not alone in the stress field. Remember to maintain social distancing and get on your mask to rise to the task!
  • Work with coworkers to find solutions to the causes of stress. You will be surprised at how many folks will help. Talk openly and freely and get everyone to set their expectations.
  • Ask your coworkers about any mental health programs that your workplace may have. Offices are doing this to maintain the health of their workers.
  • Recognize the stuff that you cannot control and the resources you have to do your best.
  • You can build your own level of control from the ground up by developing a consistent daily regimen. This should be similar to the one you had before the pandemic, if not identical. Something of a familiar routine retains your sense of control and stress will be lessened.
  • Have regular sleep and meal patterns. If you work from home, try to see that you stick to a routine as far as possible. Take breaks, stretch a bit and breathe deeply. Set a time to end your day while working from home. Recreation is a must, even if it is just a walk or a small workout at home. It could also be family time spent with the kids.
  • Be assured that you will be safe and are one among the many who is affected by this. By no means are you alone and everyone has to make the best of the situation at hand.

Every individual has a role to play in these times, and everyone is working through problems – the key is how you find the solutions and work with them.