It’s common to hear that we shouldn’t bring our work stress home, but what about when stresses from your personal life affect work performance? You might be dealing with health issues, family or relationship concerns, or a number of other things that cause you stress, and it’s difficult to separate those things from your work life. The holidays can be a particularly overwhelming time of year. So, how can you manage your stress so it doesn’t affect your job?
Recognize the signs of stress.
You can’t find ways of coping with stress unless you first recognize how it’s affecting you. If you’re feeling especially frazzled, you might find yourself acting more irritable around your coworkers. You may notice that your communication isn’t up to its normal standards, things are falling through the cracks, and your listening skills are suffering. Your ability to make sound judgments and good decisions is also affected. Sometimes people who are stressed have more trouble sleeping, which can further worsen these problems.
Embrace the challenge.
Once you accept that your stress is affecting your performance, try to view it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Viewing stress as a threat can make you feel even more defeated. Instead, remind yourself that stress is a reaction to situations that you can control. Brainstorm what long-term benefits of your stress might be. For instance, if you’re exhausted from managing all the holiday shopping, think about how pleased your friends and family will be when they open your thoughtful gifts.
Manage your stress.
Sometimes, reframing your perspective doesn’t always work. In these cases, find ways you can reduce stress. During the holidays, it can be helpful to make lists and stick to a schedule. Learn to say no to projects and engagements that are just too much. Others recognize that holidays have a lot of demands and will understand. If your stress comes from holiday spending, create a budget; if it comes from gaining weight, keep healthier food options around; if it comes from family tension, have a plan for dealing with difficult relatives. If you’re still having trouble, ask for help. Friends, coworkers, supervisors, and family members are usually all willing to pitch in.
Regardless of what sort of stress you’re experiencing, keep in mind that it will pass. If you’re worried about your job performance, be sure to talk to your supervisor and explain the situation. Likely, he or she will understand, and maybe even offer tips or suggestions that will help. For more workplace advice, check out the Penmac blog each week.