Leela Magavi, M.D., Psychiatrist and Regional Medical Director at Community Psychiatry + MindPath Care Centers discusses the importance of a goodnight’s sleep to help combat feeling overwhelmed at work.
Meeting tight deadlines, receiving many assignments to complete at once, or understanding very little about certain tasks are among common causes of feeling overwhelmed at work. Upon facing these situations, you might feel incredibly exhausted and stressed that it could start affecting your mental wellbeing. Current pandemic situation has also taken a toll on employees’ emotional state, with reports showing that remote working has caused a surge in mental health issues.
As the border between personal and professional lives becomes inseparable, the inability to unplug from work can drain your energy. For most of the time, it is normal to feel overwhelmed by work duties. The key is to identify the source of these overwhelmed feelings and find the best solution to reduce workplace stress. So, what to do when you feel overwhelmed at work, but still need to finish a relentless list of job responsibilities at the same time?
Create a comfortable workspace
If you cannot negotiate or control your workload, then focus on one thing you can control: the workspace. A conducive environment can easily affect one’s frame of mind. Be it working on site or from home, turn your workspace as a sanctuary where you can achieve utmost productivity at peace. It might be difficult to change the overall office arrangement, so you can start simple by creating a comfortable workspace and nearby surroundings. Ensure your desk is tidy and clutter free, because having papers and stationery scattered around can make you feel uneasy and overwhelmed.
If you are working from home, pay attention to the lighting and temperature of the room you are working in. Having a designated space to work is highly advisable so you can focus better. You can also consider having these items that can enhance your work from home routine.
Another factor that can trigger overwhelmed feelings at work is too much screen time. It is vital to stay productive and responsive during the office hour, but try allocating some time off screen to prevent eye sore and tiredness. A simple way to do this is practicing the 20:20:2 rule. After 20 minutes of screen time, you can take a 20-second break and look at anything at least 20 feet away.
Get a quality sleep every night
A healthy lifestyle is an integral part of relieving stress. Something as simple as having an adequate amount of sleep might be overlooked if you are too overwhelmed with work, especially when there is a deadline to catch. But the truth is, sleep deprivation will make it easier for you to feel tired at work. This means that, unless extremely necessary, avoid working late at night. More than just the amount of hours, the quality of sleep should also be a priority. Dr. Leela R. Magavi, M.D. Psychiatrist and Regional Medical Director for Community Psychiatry, advises that if possible, a workspace should not be in the same room as where you sleep, as this can negatively affect your sleeping quality. Having enough quality sleep every night can put you in an optimal rest, so when you wake up, you will feel more energized and fresh.
Let the HR know
An HR manager is responsible to ensure employees’ well-being. If you are having trouble balancing work and life, talk to your human resources manager about it. Inform them that you are having a hard time dealing with the volume and intensity of work. How your HR manager reacts and acts upon your worry will say a lot about your company. According to the Microsoft survey, 40 percent of the global workforce is considering a job search this year. If your company wishes to make you stay, they need to hear what you have to say. If they do not really, it might be time to start your own job search.
Seek professional help if things get worse
When stress induces distress or functional issues, it can have a negative influence on processing speed, working memory, and performance. If you have severe mood and anxiety issues, as well as feelings of sadness and disillusionment that consistently impair your functionality, then consider seeing a psychiatrist or therapist. Depending on your situation, you can use cognitive behavioral therapy to identify your anxiety pattern and address it by reframing your thoughts and indulging in healthy activities. Medication might also be necessary in some situations to manage mood and anxiety issues.
Microsoft‘s latest Work Trend Index Report suggested that the intensity of work and what is expected of employees during this time has increased significantly. However, this should not come at the cost of your mental wellbeing. There is nothing glorious about getting employees to feel overwhelmed on a daily basis for the sake of getting the job done. Once you feel that you are on the brink of stress, the immediate response is to start making adjustments from within. Do all you can to make your job more bearable and let your company know if you are not okay. If your company disregards this serious issue of your mental wellbeing, then maybe it is time to move on.
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