On the Job Stress: 5 Steps to help you reclaim your time and get your zen back.

OJT

When I first entered the job market as an eager college graduate, with my cape on ready to save the world as a bright-eyed helping professional, no one told me about job stress or burnout. I quickly learned after coming across many of my peers, who on the first appearance seemed jaded and lacking self-motivation, that stress is real. It would not be to years later that I fully understood that they were stressed out, which lead to burnout, and in some instances depression and anxiety, and not to mention health problems. Not only did I fully understand, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. And yes, you may think there was plenty of warning signs, but because I thought that people just were not “happy” with there jobs, and most often they would leave the organization. For me, it was the frustration of working long days, feeling of lack of support, and overwhelming paperwork. Not to mention the fact that I had not had a vacation, unless you count the week out of work with an upper respiratory infection, in over a year.

The day that I broke down crying from having to go to work, I knew something needed to change. Working in the mental health field, I knew the signs and symptoms of depression, and I knew I needed to see someone. I started seeing a therapist through my Employee Assistance Program, and shocker I was diagnosed with situational depression. I was told that the depression would go away, but I would need to change my “situation.” At the time my “situation” was my sole income, and I had just bought a house, so quitting was not an option. So I came up with my coping mechanisms, which I still use today, which has helped me stay in the helping profession for over ten years.

DATA

According to the CDC.gov

” One-fourth to one-third of U.S. workers report high levels of stress at work. Americans spend 8% more time on the job than they did 20 years ago (47 hours per week on average), and 13% also work a second job. Two-fifths (40%) of workers say that their jobs are very stressful, and more than one-fourth (26%) say they are “often burned out or stressed” by their work. “

These number are not only alarming, but enlightening. They help you get an understanding of what is going on in organizations.

Stress relief

5 Strategies

  • Seek Professional: Having a sounding board was one of the best things that I could do. Yes, you can talk to friends and family. But, it is also good to talk to a trained professional, who can recognize the signs and symptoms of depression.
Get a hobby
  • Get a hobby: Finding time to do things you enjoy is imperative. Whether it is Karaoke with friends, knitting, or even blogging, it is important that you have something that does not involve work. Exercising is a great hobby which reduces stress and anxiety.
meditate
  • Meditate: Meditation has become an intricate part of my life for the last few years. I have a dedicated space, which I call my “safe space” whenever I feel the need I can go sit in my room and process.
Travel
  • Take a vacation: As I previously stated, when I first started experiencing stress, I had not taken a vacation in over a year. At this point in my life, just the idea of not taking a vacation stresses me out. I made a goal for my self to take a vacation from work every 90 days. Vacations can be expensive, but you do not necessarily have to leave the country. Take a mental health day and stay home in your pajamas, take a long weekend and catch up with friends and family. But, whatever you do TAKE A BREAK. As an educator and manager, I tell my students and staff that breaks are your best friend especially if you plan on working as a helping professional.
No
  • Learn to say NO: The good old word “no,” we take it for granted. When you hear a two-year-old say it, we laugh and say how cute. But, as adults, we have come accustomed to think the word “no” is evil. It is not a bad word, but rather one of self-preservation. It is empowering and motivating, all while allowing you to set clear boundaries. At the beginning of my professional career I had a problem saying “no,” but I realized quickly that sitting on multiple boards, facilitating multiple trainings, all while working a full-time job and teaching part-time was wearing me thin. I learned that saying “no” did not mean I was incapable, what it meant is that I understand the value of my “yes” and the work that I will be producing.

Have you ever experienced burnout, what did you do to address the symptoms? Let us know in the comments below!

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10 Office Must Haves to be Productive

blog post Office Must haves

Working from home has many temptations, such as wanting to sleep, or watch T.V. when you really should be working. I was so excited to have a designated office space when we bought our home. I was so tired of working on the couch in front of the T.V. or in the bed. Not only is it distracting, but it is just bad all around ergonomically. I cam up with this list of must haves to be productive, as these were the 10 essentials I wanted for my home office.

*Warning Affiliate Links*

  1. Desk

Having a great desk is a must. As an entrepreneur I spend a lot of time in my home office. Making sure I had a great desk was a Must. I actually built my desk and shelves for my office, because my husband and I wanted a space that we could both share comfortably. But you find a similar one here.

Picture of my desk and shelf system I built for my home office.

2. A comfortable Chair

It was such a joy to be able to work in my office in a comfortable chair. No more slouching on the couch or laying in the bed, trying not to fall asleep when working. I Found two really comfortable chairs for my husband and myself. I looked for chairs that had support for your back and were adjustable. Check out the one above, which is similar to what we bought.

3. Great Computer

Having a good computer is essential I needed something sleek that could fit in my carry-on, but also durable, with good speed, and memory. My husband bought me a Surface Pro 4 when I graduated with my PhD. Hands down the best laptop/tablet that I have had so far. It is so durable and has so many features. Find a good laptop that meets all of your needs and you will be very productive.

4. Lighting

I adore natural lighting when I am working in the day time. I get really inspired to do my best work when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. In the evening I like to keep the lights bright but natural. Check the bulbs and lamps I found here and here.

5. Surge protector

One thing that I have experienced in the past was a power outage. Thank God none of my appliances had a shortage, but it could have been bad. I immediately bought a surge protector. Essential to protecting your tech items and giving you peace of mind. Find the ones I bought here.

6. Multipurpose Printer

I always find myself needing to fax something, so it was important that I had a printer that could scan and fax. No need to run to Kinko’s to get that important document off, when you can do it at home. Check out this 4 in 1 printer.

7. Paper Shredder

Shredder

First of all, I get a lot of junk mail, so being able to keep the clutter down is important. Also, I have sensitive documents that I work on, and if I do not need to keep them I need to safely dispose of them. Make sure you get a cross shredder like this one here, to make sure your documents can’t be put back together.

8. File Cabinet

As I said, keeping the clutter down is a must to a productive office. I have two file cabinets, which have locks on them that I keep important documents. I multipurpose my file cabinets for decorative pieces, so that they flow with my office space.

9. Calendar

I may be just a tad old school, but I love having a calendar I can touch. I also have a wall dry erase calendar that I keep on the wall in the office. I still use my phone calendar, but more as a back-up. You can find similar calendars here and here

10. Plants

There is nothing like having a touch of nature in your environment. Not only is it a good decoration piece, but it gets the oxygen and creative juices flowing for me. Something about the smell of my plants.

Bonus: Feng Shui

There is no sense having all these functional things in your office with no order. Find a balance of items that work with your creative process. The more comfortable you are in a space, the more likely you are to be productive. Consider candles or a Zen Garden to give your space some balance.

Did these must have help you plan your office? Let me know in the comments below!!