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Are you Making a Life or Making or Living?

Are you someone who works tirelessly because your profession requires you to put in more hours than you should be putting in? If the answer to that is yes, then you may be confusing work ethic with over-working. If you feel that your personal and social life is being taken over by excessive time and energy spent at work, headaches, getting overwhelmed easily, not being able to focus on other areas of your life, then you might be experiencing what is called stress. Let’s attempt to define stress:

  • Stress is essentially described as the mental and physical response and adaptation by our bodies to the real or perceived changes and challenges in our lives. 
  • When we experience or perceive challenges to our physical or emotional well-being that exceed our coping resources and abilities, the psychological condition that results is typically referred to as stress. This feeling is experienced when we feel that the situation is beyond our control or we may not be able to cope with it. 

Our minds and bodies respond to stress in different ways. Something that stresses you out, may not be as intense for another person. But this does not mean that your feelings aren’t valid. This just means that your coping abilities can only take up a certain level of load. 

Stress is always seen as something unpleasant, problematic, and has the potential to harm our body. On the contrary, stress is a necessary part of our lives. Experiencing a certain level of stress is important for us because that is what motivates us to perform daily activities and tasks. This is called “eustress”. It kind of works as a ‘push’ factor. But, as soon as this ‘push’ factor exceeds our bodies and mind’s abilities to cope, or starts affecting our physical or mental health- it is termed as “distress”. This may even become interference in our personal, occupational and social life

Sometimes, life can take us over by a tide. And we don’t realize it until it hits us with the waves, because we’re always working towards avoiding the tides. These little waves can cause too much harm in the long run. After a tiring day at work, all you would want is to lay in your bed and relax, doing what you love. But if at that moment, your boss asks you to do something very urgent on his end, you wouldn’t think twice and jump on the opportunity to promote your well-being or even the company’s well-being. We justify working hard, working over-hours, and giving up our personal lives just to get that one promotion or maintain our reputation. According to findings based on various studies, common causes of workplace stress include fear of being laid off, more overtime due to staff cutbacks, pressure to perform to meet rising expectations, and a decrease in job satisfaction.

As a professional, you are expected to go above and beyond your official responsibilities. Sometimes this can get overwhelming. This may result in not being able to maintain a work-life balance. Some people don’t even experience physical signs that their body is tired and ignore signs like-

  • feeling of fatigue,
  • restlessness,
  • headaches, 
  • digestion issues, 
  • disturbed sleeping or eating patterns

You may also experience psychological symptoms like memory issues, over or underwhelming emotions, temperamental issues, feelings of loneliness, blue moods, burnout, etc.

According to research, work stress can lead to physical illness, as well as psychological distress and mental illness.

Work can often get in the way of life. Yes, a good work ethic is crucial in life, but maintaining a balance and living your personal life is just as important. When our professions become a part of our identity, we tend to forget that we also have a personal life, people who love us unconditionally, and the most important person- ourselves. 

Unsure if you’re stressed to a level where you should be concerned? Trying out a psychological screening can help you assess the level of stress you may be experiencing. 

According to a study published by The Economic Times, 28% of work-from-home employees reported burnout with 48% feeling stressed due to task deadlines. 35% of employees working from home were worried about self/ family's mental health. The Mental Health of the unemployed was the worst. 47% of unemployed reported anxiety with 61% of them feeling stressed and 42% felt anger.

Are you feeling overwhelmed at work, too? If yes, then whom should you go to?

It is the responsibility of the organizational psychologist or HR to help an employee if they’re experiencing work-related stress. They can help you with coping strategies and even make you learn a better way to deal with work or make it relatively easier for you. A wholesome and holistic life is very important to stay happy. Stress hampers that. 

So, if you’re feeling stressed out, and want to learn some fun ways to help yourself, you can learn some self-help strategies to deal with these issues on your own. Self-help strategies are activities or tactics that you can apply in your life, to manage your mood-related issues or self-care, without the guidance of a professional. It is extremely important to learn stress-busting strategies to live a healthier and wellness-oriented life. 

Sometimes in life, we tend to forget the purpose of it all. Our professional lives and careers may have begun in the pursuit of an interest or just earning a living. But we forgot to enjoy the journey of achieving these goals and taking care of the little things. In life’s hustle-bustle, we forget the biggest thing- our health, that matters. 

The purpose of life is to enjoy life and fulfil our potential as humans. But we tend to get lost. Find yourself, grow yourself, and don’t forget to MAKE a living along with EARNING a living. 

A holistic and happy life is what we should aim for. Anything less than that is not acceptable. Several strategies can be learned to handle difficult days, screen yourself if you’re having any doubts in your mind about your health, and there’s always a professional or a buddy that you can speak with. Make use of that.