If you have been noticing a pattern of sporadic headaches, insomnia or irritability, with no apparent cause, your work-life may be to blame. According to a study by the American Psychological Association (APA), job stress ranked higher than the economy, family responsibilities and health concerns.
Turns out not being able to balance your work and personal life is more than just being bad at time-management. Experiencing work stress can often physically manifest as headaches, high blood pressure, mood swings and the works. Now, with the heightened job-insecurity induced by the pandemic, job-stress is at an all-time high.
So, we spoke to clinical psychologist Dr Pankhuri Chandra, an expert at Eat Luv N Pray to know how to handle the endless working hours and impossible deadlines. Here are her suggestions for employees and employers:
Have a cut off time
This is not the era of the 9-5 jobs. However, you must largely try to have designated working hours and try to meet your deadlines within that time frame. "Especially in WFH scenarios, since going to the office is out of the picture, we can be expected to be on call all the time. This hampers all attempts at a work-life balance. Organisational policies should be strict about this, " says Dr Chandra.
Downtime is important
While Dr Chandra suggests that workplaces must organise avenues for employees to come together and unwind, you can do so at a personal level too. Start off by not talking shop in your post-work hours or making sure to find time for hobbies and activities that help you unwind.
Do not turn your weekends into days for getting extra work done. While some weekends may be busier than others and may need to be used to meet deadlines, learn to prioritise work commitments so that you can utilise these days to rest. "Weekends need to strictly be for personal time and there shouldn’t be any work-related expectations," says Dr Chandra.
Not only does a regular workout routine have you looking fabulous, but it also has some major stress-busting powers. Physical activity triggers your body to produce feel-good endorphins, thereby reducing stress. "All working professionals must have a workout routine. Mental health is directly related to physical health," adds Dr Chandra.
Apart from a sigh of relief, reward yourself for personal achievements at work. From indulging in your favourite slice of pizza for meeting a deadline to an hour of uninterrupted gaming to celebrate a successful meeting, these rewards are important to boost your morale. "Regular reinforcements are necessary to facilitate employee morale. There need to be other incentives apart from salary that keep employees motivated," she says.