Is this really what life is all about?
I have created a separate page for executive stress because I believe that middle management and executive stress is somewhat different to other types of stress.
How long can you go on?
Whilst our work can in many ways define us as a person and provide us with a sense of challenge, growth and meaning – work can for many be a place of long hours, tight deadlines, pressure to meet targets, pressure to increase productivity and profits, internal conflicts between departments, external battles with suppliers, demanding customers, staff issues, endless meetings, feeling out of our depth, being pulled in many directions at the same time, increasingly high demands and expectations being put on you.
As a result maybe you dread the sound of your phone or the ping of your email and feel obliged to respond immediately, almost no matter what time of day or night. Maybe the stress is starting to affect your ability to carry out your work and you worry that this will soon have dire consequences, but you feel that you have to keep on going but with growing amounts of anxiety about how long you can carry on like this.
How familiar are these thoughts and symptoms?
Your mind constantly thinking about work; whether you are at work or at home you just cannot switch off anymore. Work life is encroaching more and more on your private life, your sleep is poor and the lack of good quality sleep, combined with the constant pressure might be affecting your relationship with your partner and your family.
You know that you are distant, irritable and detached. Your partner and family are worried about you but you don’t want to stress them as there is nothing they can do anyway. You don’t really feel you can, or want, to talk to your boss about how you are feeling – after all would anything really change if you did?
Perhaps you are withdrawing more and more from hobbies and social situations. You might be drinking more than is good for you, smoking too much, eating too much junk food, your sex life may be suffering, your health may be suffering with headaches, anxiety attacks, palpitations, irritable bowel and regular colds.
You just cannot envisage 2, 5, 10 more years of this: Something has to give before you do. You have thought about a change of career direction – but what would you do anyway? Surely you would never earn the money you are getting now? Perhaps you could go to a competitor – but would the grass really be any greener? How would you survive with less money? What would family and friends think of you if you moved on?
Let’s be honest, stress at work is not going to go away. All of these feelings and emotions that you have been experiencing for so long are trying to tell you something – and they will continue telling you until you stop, and listen.
It is at this time that we need time to pause, take stock and consider how to regain some control, because right now you are not in control.
Maybe the solution is to learn ways to manage the stress, and that means getting things into perspective and you and I working on practical solutions, strengthening your boundaries, building greater resilience, manage and delegate more effectively, re-establishing balance, finding distance and putting the spotlight on what the real problems are, learning how to relax both physically and mentally, finding motivation again, improve your performance in certain areas.
Or maybe it is a time for planning, thinking about a sideways step, or maybe even the possibility of a new journey in a different direction. Who knows what the solutions are – you don’t – I don’t – but together, we can work as a team to help you to get more emotionally stable and to put your life back on track.
I am a full-time psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and counsellor who has been providing hypnotherapy, hypnosis, psychotherapy,CBT and counselling in Horsham and Crawley for over a decade