Every job is different, but they all seem to have one thing in common: it can get very stressful. You probably know this feeling when everything is fine, and you have everything under control. But with sudden appointments or situations over which you have no control, everything changes, and you can become extremely overwhelmed.
After work, you can’t wait to go home to hit your pillow. But as soon as you go to bed, all you do is turning and tossing. That’s when you’re experiencing insomnia caused by stress at work. Here are the most effective ways how lower stress levels at work and get your sleep back on track.
How stressful is your job?
Jobs are stressful, but some situations are more stressful than others. For example, military service could come close to the top. Not only do some of these people have insomnia, but they also sometimes suffer from PTSD. And to feel better, they may need a change of environment. Fortunately, there are experts in organizing the move for service members who can help them.
However, if you’re not a service member, remember that it doesn’t make your stress less important. Although there may be more stressful jobs out there, your perception of your job is what counts and what you can use as a solution.
Always remember that you are more important than your job. Especially when the day gets hectic. No matter how hard you try, you don’t have to show that you are competent while compromising your health.
What are the best strategies to prevent insomnia caused by stress at work?
The best way is prevention by choosing effective strategies to reduce stress in the workplace in the first place. These are provenly the most effective ways to prevent stress at work. And that’s not how it has to be, no matter how stressful your job is.
Even if you are a naturally disorganized person, planning in advance to stay organized can significantly reduce stress at work. Being organized means that you don’t have to rush too much in the morning not to be late. It also means avoiding the adverse effects of disorder and making work more efficient.
Get clarity of your requirements
One factor that contributes to stress in your job is unclear requirements. If you don’t know what’s expected of you, or if the conditions change with little notice, you may have much more stress than necessary. If you fall into the trap of never knowing if what you are doing is enough, it may be helpful to have a talk with your boss or supervisor and review expectations and strategies to meet them. This can reduce stress for both of you!
Stay away from conflict
Because interpersonal conflicts take a toll on your physical and emotional health and because conflicts between employees are so difficult to escape, it is a good idea to avoid workplace conflicts as much as possible. That is, don’t gossip and don’t share too many of your personal opinions about religion and politics. Try to avoid people at work who do not work well with others. If the conflict finds you anyway, learn how to deal with it properly.
Multitasking was once praised as a fantastic way to maximize your time and do more in one day. Then people began to realize that if they had a phone in their ear and did Excel sheets at the same time, their speed and accuracy would suffer. There is a certain kind of exhausted feeling that comes from sharing one’s focus, which doesn’t work well for most people. Instead of multitasking, try a new strategy known as chunking.
Keeping perfectionism in check
Being a top performer can help you feel good and stand out at work. On the other side, your perfectionism can drive you and the people around you a little crazy. Especially in busy, fast-paced jobs, it’s often impossible to do everything perfectly. Striving to simply give your best and then congratulate yourself on your performance is a better strategy. Your results will actually be better, and you will have much less stress at work.
Take a walk at lunch
Many people feel the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. One way to combat this and manage stress at work at the same time is to get some exercise during lunch break and perhaps take short training breaks all day long. This can help you blow off steam, improve your mood, and get into better shape.
Leave your work behind
When you come home, you should be able to leave your work behind, especially if you want to fall asleep. If you go through things from work in your head, it won’t help you to do your job better. But sleep will. One of the side effects of sleep deprivation is that it will make it even more challenging to deal with stress.
Even if the word implies that your mind is full when you practice mindfulness, it is exactly the opposite. You silence all the useless noise in your head and concentrate on what is happening right now. And it doesn’t even have to be something calming like the sound of the wind. It can be the sound of a copy machine or your computer. So you can practice it at work.
Focus on what you’re doing right now, so you can be productive. When you reach for a stapler, you should notice it: “I raise my hand and take a stapler.” It really can be that simple.
However, it will take some practice. If you notice that your mind is going somewhere else, try to gently shift your focus back to what you’re doing right now.
What can you do if you suddenly experience stress at work?
But what to do when suddenly a stressful event happens like your boss aking you to complete a ten slide presentation for his next meeting starting in 30 minutes? Most people become tense when something like this happens. So what to do?
The best way to deal with it is to note the effects of stress consciously. Are you tense in your shoulders? Is your breath shorter? Notice your physical and mental sensations and accept what’s going on in your body and mind. You will see that by doing so, the unhelpful thoughts will eventually dissolve.
Otherwise, you bring the tension home to your bed. Therefore, practice mindfulness during your working day, when commuting, hen being at home and of course, before going to sleep. Remember that you do not have to spend any additional time to practice mindfulness. You can do simple mindfulness exercises anywhere, anytime and it may only take a few moments.
Get started with Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Progressive muscle relaxation is an excellent natural method that has numerous advantages. American physician Edmund Jacobson first introduced the technique in the 1930s. PMR reduces anxiety and stress in the muscles and in your head and has helped many people to cure insomnia.
It may take some time until you get familiar with the technique of PMR. In short, PMR is a “body scan” from head to toe. You go through each muscle group in your body and press the muscle for 15 seconds. Then slowly let it go for about 30 seconds.
Best way to get started is by listening to a voice recording such as the free MP3 audio file offered by McMaster University. This allows you to fully relax and concentrate on the technique.
Develop healthy habits
There can be several causes of insomnia that are caused by stress at work, depending on the person. So if one solution doesn’t work, try combining it with another. What will definitely help you is to develop healthier habits:
- Exercise helps to relax body and mind. However, you should not do it before going to bed as it makes you feel awake.
- Looking at mobile phones and computer screens keep us awake, so avoid doing it later in the day.
- Find a healthier way to be responsible and remember your tasks, such as writing down what you need to do.
- Find out what prevents you from going to bed at the same time every night. You may find that it is just a habit.
Try natural remedies
These are natural remedies that are easily accessible and can be surprisingly helpful.
- Baldriantee is excellent before bedtime as it can relieve anxiety, relax, and improve sleep.
- Lemon balm tea can also calm the nervous system and give you a good and healthy sleep.
- Chamomile tea can gently soothe and calm you.
- You should refrain from drinking coffee after 6 pm. Even if you happen to drink more than one or two coffees a day, you should change this habit.
Last but not least: Get help
As you can see, there is a lot you can do yourself to reduce work stress and to get better sleep. However, if you are still struggling with sleeplessness despite your efforts to treat your sleep problems yourself, don’t hesitate to consult with a qualified sleep specialist.
Remember, insomnia can become chronic, and with that, many other health issues may turn up. Therefore, ask for help instead of just saying ‘I’m fine’ when you’re suffering from ongoing poor sleep.