Life can be stressful. The workplace can be a major source of stress for many of us and as a result we are likely to develop our own particular coping methods. Learning to cope with stress is a life skill and an essential one at that. Sometimes, however, the ideas we have that we feel will take the stress away, though working in the short term, over the long term can become a source of stress in themselves.
These short term solutions are what we name as soothers. They soothe the pain in the short term but can become an issue in themselves.
Here are 3 common workplace soothers that actually cause issues themselves.
Lunch at your desk
It has long been known as a solution that ultimately causes pain to many, but we still do it.
If you don't take a genuine break from your work then your energy levels, your concentration levels and your productivity suffers.
If your productivity suffers then any advantage to working through your lunch hour has just been lost and you are back where you started.
Additionally, many of us have other chores we need to achieve in our lunch hour. Not getting those done causes stress in others areas of our lives.
Take a break, read a book, collect the dry cleaning, take a walk. Don't eat your lunch at your desk and pretend it is efficient.
Not many of us like confrontation. To add another stressful issue in to an already stressful workplace seems like pouring petrol on a fire to put it out. As a result many of us avoid confrontation like the plague.
When we avoid confrontation two key things happen. The first is that we feel a little tinge of shame for not sticking up for ourselves, our principles and our values. Shame hurts and makes us feel smaller and less significant.
The other thing that happens is we make it even more difficult for ourselves to deal with confrontation going forwards. In other words we have started a pattern.
If something required confrontation the chances are there was something wrong with it or the person involved. If you allow something wrong to go on in the workplace, it is likely to come back and bite you at another time.
If you are not careful you are heading for life as a doormat. Otherwise known as submissive behaviour, you will end up giving in to everything, never sticking up for yourself, and continually feeling like a victim. How stressful is that?
Learn to deal with confrontation and you will have healthier self esteem, less stress and a more efficient workplace.
Staying late and working longer hours
In the very short term putting in some extra hours and staying late at the office can work. Very quickly, though, this can seem like a bad idea. If the extra hours are to do with dealing with stress then it is easy to feel trapped very quickly. The reason for working longer hours is to get yourself through a stressful time right?
But the moment you consider reducing the hours back to normal you now have to achieve what you have been achieving, and what others expect you to achieve because you have been doing it anyway, in fewer hours and that is stressful.
There are only 24 hours in a day. Many of us need work to stimulate and challenge us, we all need an opportunity for 8 hours sleep and we all need decent down time to enable our stress responses to recharge for the next 8 hour shift.
Time away from work is essential and extending your working day can become a false economy and very, very stressful.
In summary, before you leap towards an action that you perceive will get you out of a stressful situation consider what the long term outcomes of stretching your own personal boundaries for others may be. It could save you a lot of trouble in the long run.