Work is inherently stressful, yet it is a vital part of life that keeps us busy and allows us to live in relative comfort. It can have a negative effect on our minds and bodies, especially when the stress gets out of hand and leads to sleep disorders and mental health issues. People often feel most stressed at work, or as a direct result of work, so it is vital to have a relaxing space to come home to every night.
Office pressures, traffic, client demands and monthly bills can easily result in unmanaged stress. If these issues are not dealt with, they can lead to real mental and physical health problems. You need to find a way to leave stress at the office and find a way to relax and decompress after hours. This will help you to lead a happier and healthier life.
There are many studies that prove the correlation between stress and poor mental health. One such study found that just four years of chronic stress can lead to a seven percent decline in mental health. Stress and anxiety are major contributors to depression, insomnia, anger and illness. The more pressure we face on a daily basis, the more likely we will be affected by these negative health consequences.
Causes of stress at work
Stress may come from a variety of sources, but most work-related stress is caused by three simple factors. These include an unsteady work-life balance, career uncertainty and a lack of stress-relieving outlets after hours. These three causes of stress place additional pressure on people and can lead to a decline in mental health if left unchanged for extended periods of time.
An unsteady work-life balance is not necessarily linked to the number of hours worked versus time off, although this is certainly a contributing factor. Most people spend more time working than relaxing in the evenings, yet they don’t suffer from the negative health implications of stress. The problem lies in using up all of your energy and mental capacity on work, then having nothing left over after hours. If you spend your time at home thinking about work, then the balance is off.
The next problem is uncertainty in your career. These existential problems can cause unnecessary stress during your time off, but they are often unavoidable. Questions such as “Where is my career going?” and “Would I be happier in a different job?” can invade your thoughts when you are trying to relax or to sleep. These stress-inducing questions can keep you awake at night and are one of the major causes of insomnia.
The last cause of work-related stress is the lack of stress-relieving outlets after hours. Despite what you may think, sitting at home and watching TV does not actually help to reduce stress. Genuine stress-relieving outlets help people feel like they have more purpose outside of work. These can include yoga or a gym membership, the local bar or even a catch-up dinner with friends. Some people find that the office can be a creative, social and intellectual outlet, but many others rely on outside activities to meet these needs.
The importance of establishing a relaxing environment
Once you have identified the major causes of your work-related stress, you should try to establish a relaxing environment after hours. Whether this means creating a quiet room in your house, or a quick stop at the gym on your way home. Even a mid-week dinner with family and friends can help you to decompress and forget about work for the night. These relaxing spaces are important for mental health and relieving tension.
These activities and spaces allow you to clear your thoughts and focus on yourself for a few hours. Simple activities can also help, such as 30 minutes of yoga or meditation every morning before work or in the evenings. Exercise is undeniably important as it promotes health, well-being and can be an outlet for stress and anxiety. It also encourages better sleeping patterns and minimises the chances of insomnia. These relaxing spaces will make your work life more manageable and enable you to manage your stress and worries more effectively.
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