It’s a Friday, and for a lot of people, heading into the weekend means two whole days away from work, spending time with family and friends; maybe pursuing fitness goals, going on a city break or perhaps just having two days on the sofa, exhausted!
Whichever way you choose to spend your weekend, or days off in general, how do you feel the night before returning to work?
On a high from the amazing time you have just had?
Looking forward to catching up with work colleagues?
Already planning what you are doing when you next have time off?
Or…. are you feeling low, a sense of dread building up inside at the thought of having to return to the office and repeat the daily routine.
Perhaps you have a review with your boss coming up that you are uncertain about; maybe your current job bores you.
There could be all sorts of reasons for feeling dread at the thought of returning to work, but it’s being able to recognise when it is becoming a greater a issue and what you can do to minimise your building anxiety.
The majority of us at some stage will get that sinking feeling when we return to work after a holiday or even after the weekend; the thought of another five days dragging by, doing something we don’t really enjoy just so we can pay the bills, support our family, or save for the next trip away, is enough to make anyone feel down!
However, if you are feeling like this on a weekly basis or a few times a week it’s probably time to reassess your situation.
For most of us work is a necessary evil, we need it in order to pay for the things that we need or would like. We tend to spend eight hours a day, five days a week in the office as an absolute minimum. If it’s making us feel anxious or depressed, or keeping us awake at night, something has to change.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) we will spend a third of our adult life at work – do you really want to be unhappy for over 33% of your life?
I recognise that quitting your job with no other means of income isn’t really an option available for most of us. Even changing jobs can seem pretty daunting, especially if you have been in your current role for a number of years. What if your new job is worse than your old one? Then your are truly stuck, right? Wrong!
If you remain in your current role there are still numerous ways you can mitigate the dread you are feeling:-
If it is a never ending to do list in the office, the obvious answer is to prioritise, but I would suggest giving yourself a couple of ‘quick, easy wins’ first, so that you have a sense of achievement before tackling the tougher items that may be worrying you. That way you approach them from a position of confidence and positivity which will make the task feel easier.
In order to prevent worry in the evening or middle of the night, write a to do list for the following day before you leave the office. It’s written down, so you can release it from your mind.
There is a lot to be said for writing down three positives at the end of each day too. They don’t necessarily have to be related to work, but ensuring you recognise good things in your life, no matter how small or trivial they may seem to you, can have a huge positive impact in the long run.
Anxiety or stress may be caused by anticipating the negative reaction of a colleague or your manager and it is human nature to make it seem worse in our mind than it actually is. If it is a work topic that may involve confrontation, ensure that you are as prepared as possible for the meeting, that you have the facts to hand, and that you remain calm and logical.
Unfortunately it is very easy for us to let our emotions get involved, especially if it is a subject we are passionate about. By remaining calm we can approach the meeting in a more detached manner and not take the discussion personally. Of course, if you are on the receiving end of a personal attack it’s important to report this to your manager or HR.
There are no ‘magic bullets’ to rectify issues causing anxiety or stress in the work place, but the recommendations above do provide tried and tested ways that you can support yourself when things feel bleak.
It is so important to take a few minutes each day to focus on yourself, whether that is using breathing techniques or just stepping outside to enjoy some fresh air. By doing this we are calming our system which in turn can help to provide greater clarity on the subject causing stress.
There is a lot to be said for that old adage of “Things always look better in the morning”.