Is It Really Your Career Stressing You Out?

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Is it really your career stressing you out? We blame lots of our stress on our careers but we may have the wrong culprit.

When we start our careers, we are so full of excitement! The grass looks greener, the sky looks bluer and the birds never sounded so heavenly. We learn new skills and start to climb the corporate ladder with confidence and enthusiasm.

And for many of us, as we learn to maneuver through the corporate maze we receive frequent pay raises, more responsibility, and the ride of our corporate lives.

Then, after doing that for many years, we reach a point where the excitement leaves us and all our momentum seems to grind to a halt.

This doesn’t happen to everyone, but it happens to many women. You find that you’re not learning anything new, and you have reached a plateau with your current career level.

Sometimes you try to move to another company to recapture your upward mobility-mojo, but your career growth stalls at the new company as well.

Is Your Career Stressing You Out?

When this happens, it may seem like it’s your career stressing you out more than usual. But, is that really the case or are you viewing your career differently because the initial excitement has passed?

In other words, maybe the stress always existed but you didn’t notice it as much when you were in the rapid growth stage of your career. Remember the green grass, blue sky, and chirping birds? They may have been masking the stress you’re dealing with now.

Maybe the stress you feel now always existed but you didn't notice it as much when you were in the rapid growth stage of your career. Click to Tweet

How To Tell If The Stress is About Your Career

Career Addict recently outlined 15 signs that your career is stressing you. Some of these signs could be present if you are experiencing general stress or work-related stress.

Here are 3 quick hints to identify the source of your stress:

  1. Career-related stress tends to get worse as Monday approaches. Are you anxious on Sunday because Monday is right around the corner?
  2. Do you find yourself unable to fall asleep because you keep replaying work scenarios in your mind, over and over?
  3. Do you respond to stress differently at work than in the rest of your life?

If you answered yes to these 3 questions, it sounds like it is your career stressing you out.

What To Do If It Is Your Career

Learn new ways to deal with the stress. Stress doesn’t have to be ‘the boss of you’.  Regardless of the source of stress at your workplace, there are some effective steps that you can take to reduce stress and feel more calm, confident, and in control when you are at work.

Learning healthy ways to release your stress and even how to prevent a stressful reaction in the first place are critical to your health, success, and peace of mind.

here are some strategies to combat work stress


Practice effective communication. If co-workers are causing you stress, ask yourself, "Why?" There's a good chance that the two of you aren't really communicating. Listen to their needs and see where the disconnect is. If both of you feel heard, you will likely find common ground and the source of conflict can be removed along with the stress associated with it. For example, if you can understand your manager's expectations, you can take action to meet them, or you can communicate your own more realistic expectations.


Think positively. When things go wrong, it's so easy to slip back into negative thinking. And negative thinking is contagious. Negative thinking usually comes about when we feel powerless. Focus on something that you can change and power yourself up with positive thinking. If you focus on the things that are going right, it'll bring you more patience, less stress, and increased overall job satisfaction.


Make self care a priority. If you're really dedicated to your job, you may begin to lose yourself in it. You may feel as if your job has become your whole life. In these instances, it's best to take a step back and focus on taking care of yourself.

  • Take regular breaks and enjoy something that's not work-related when you're not working.
  • Take care of your body by exercising, eating whole foods, and getting enough sleep.

While self care sounds simple, how often do we rush around on 4 hours of sleep, a coffee, and a banana all day long?


Take off your superhero cape. Don't be afraid to let your colleagues know that you aren't a superhero. You can't do everything and no one should expect you to. Avoid letting others pressure you into over-committing.

  • Be honest with yourself and others when you can't take on another project or task.
  • Set realistic expectations and deadlines.

By being honest with yourself and others, you reduce stress and set yourself up for success rather than setting yourself up for failure.


Clear the clutter. A cluttered work space is stressful as you waste time looking for things and worrying that you won't be able to find what you need when you need it. Organization can be a key factor for job stress relief. Carve out some sacred space that is always clear so you can place your most important files in the same spot. Once you can rely on that, you can stop worrying about it.

consider making a career change

Even if you master your career stress, you could be at a career crossroads, and need to shift what you're doing to regain your enthusiasm. Looking for a new way to apply your skills in your current organization can be a seamless way to make this change and reduce your stress. A new position provides an opportunity to you to learn new things with familiar surroundings.

The goal here is not to change just for the sake of changing, but to move toward something you are really interested in.

If you switch to a new position that is virtually the same, just in a different seat, it won't take long for the excitement to go away again. And that would feel twice as bad as you did before. And you may have to stick it out in the new job so you won't be seen as unfocused or confused.

work stress won't disappear

Even when you enjoy your job, work stress is still likely to be a regular occurrence. Practicing these strategies will help you manage tension, reduce stress, and feel more capable at work.

Reducing stress at work will take a little practice, but the results are well worth the effort. Follow these work stress strategies daily and soon you'll find less and less situations to feel stressful about.

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