As I was recuperating from allergic rhinitis, I asked myself: “What is this telling me?” I then realized that I was in the verge of breaking down, feeling burnt out and overwhelmed with work. Dealing with difficult personalities, ever increasing demands, tight deadlines left me feeling worried and drained. Hence, I needed to acknowledge that I was indeed tired, and in need to take a PAUSE and claim my rest.
To those who are struggling at work, let me share my personal coping strategies which you can also employ to reduce stress in your workplace.
- Identify a trusted person whom you can vent out. Someone who is a good listener; not to “fix” your problem or concern but help you let your negative emotions off your chest. This may be a family member, a close friend or an office mate. God will surely send someone to be your sounding board.
- Pause, Pray and Let go of Chaos. Prayer has been my favorite coping strategy. During times of unrest, fear, anger or sadness, prayer has been my strongest weapon. It calms me down after asking God to bless me with INNER PEACE. After all, our best self – best work emerges when we are at peace. When we perform our work out of anger, sense of urgency or fear, we will not accomplish them any sooner or better. Furthermore, God is gracious and faithful to everyone – to all of us. I have experienced HIS/HER loving care and sustaining grace for the past 51 years of my life. With this, I am sure God will be with me for the rest of my life. All I have to do is to nourish my friendship with Jesus through prayer.
- Listen to your body. When you are not yourself, something is not right. Our ailments have a lot to tell us. So, stop if you are tired. Go to the toilet if you need to. Eat when you are hungry. Get a drink when you are thirsty. Plan your breaks. At times, due to my sense of urgency, I tend to ignore my physiological needs – sitting for hours just to get my task done. This is causing me some back pains and Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Therefore, I need to RELAX. Take one task at a time, one day at a time.
- Learn to FORGIVE yourself and others who are causing you some heart aches at work. This is easier said than done but it is possible. It is so difficult to deal with various personalities in the work place. I myself have been belittled and harassed in one way or another. Yet, I decided to forgive these people for my own peace and sanity. I have learned to forgive myself first and learn from my own mistakes and failures.
- Create a balanced life. Never neglect any aspect of it. Lest you will be overworked. Schedule some form of relaxation with your family and friends. This will help you maintain your physical and emotional well-being.
- Learn to say no – establish healthy boundaries. Take only what you can chew. Do not over-commit yourself.
I hope and pray that my personal way of coping with stress will be of help to you. Stay tuned for more reflections and practical tips. Do anything to take good care of yourself for you matter.
Miss Baby Rose is also a Volunteer Pastoral Counselor at St. Clement’s Pastoral Care and Counseling Ministry of St. Clement’s Church, Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, Lapaz, Iloilo City.