Coping With Trouble at Work

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Dec 17, 2020

Dec 17, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

When you consider how much of your life you spend at work, sooner or later, you’re going to experience difficulties and/or adversities. Unlike your personal life, you don’t get to choose the personalities you interact with at work. Even if you usually have a smooth day, it would be a good idea to know how to deal with problems when they pop up.

Improve Your Mental Health

Dealing with stress is unavoidable in life. However, if you are able to get treatment for your mental health, you will be more prepared to deal with unexpected problems as they pop up. 

Do you ever notice that when you don’t get enough sleep, the smallest things annoy and overwhelm you? That's no surprise. Not getting enough rest leaves you irritated and easily annoyed. In fact, not getting proper rest can lead to depression and anxiety. You owe it to yourself to start and stick to a bedtime routine. 

People are creatures of habit. In order to make sure you are getting enough rest, establish and stick to a bedtime. You should be getting at least 6-8 hours of restful sleep per night. Make sure your bedroom is cool and dark as those are ideal sleeping conditions. Avoid caffeine, big meals, and screen time later in the day. Instead, do something you find relaxing, like reading, meditating, or listening to soft music. Let your body know it's winding down for the day and getting ready to rest. 

Need a few suggestions of things to read before bed? Staff members at Penguin Random House recommend Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a novel set in Mexico during the 1920s and following a young woman's adventures after encountering the Mayan god of death, and A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons, a memoir by musician Ben Folds. If you're new to meditating, try one of the popular mindfulness apps, such as Ten Percent Happier or Calm. And if you're having a difficult time finding music to listen to before sleep, try Kind of Blue by Miles Davis or Ambient 1: Music for Airports by Brian Eno.

Find Balance

While you may think you are doing the right thing by throwing yourself into your work, all work and no play is not good for you. Having a healthy balance between both your social and professional lives will improve your mental health. Time away from the job interacting with friends and family gives you the support system you need to keep things from piling up on you. Being a workaholic is counterproductive and leads to depression and anxiety. 

Adversity

When something happens at work that causes you upset, notice your body's physiological response. When you can feel your face getting hot, your pulse starts racing, or you can’t think straight, step away. Reacting when you’re overwhelmed will do more harm than good. Take some time to calm down and think about the situation. You need time to rationally process what’s going on and the best way to proceed. Reacting without thinking it over first can cause irreparable damage. Words can’t be taken back, even if they are said in the heat of a temper flare or out of frustration. 

Reading fiction or listening to a bedtime story before falling asleep can help take your mind off of any adversity you may be experiencing. And yes, they even have bedtime stories for adults. The Calm meditation app, for example, features "Sleep Stories" read by Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry, Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Eva Green, Cillian Murphy, Lucy Liu, Nick Offerman, and LeVar Burton, just in case you prefer your stories to be read by celebrities.

Perspective

When faced with problems, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and even angry. Before you go off the deep end, thinking the worst, put things into perspective. Understand what’s happening or why someone is upset about something you did. Whatever problem you’re facing, you can’t just look at the single event; you have to step back and see how it all fits together in the big picture. Chances are, whatever you have to deal with, it isn’t quite as detrimental as it feels.

One of the best ways to get better at seeing the big picture is through frequent meditation practice. That's right: meditation isn't just a tool to help you relax. People who practice mindfulness regularly often report being able to have a better grasp on their emotions.

Positive Spin

Even the worst-case scenario can have an up-side. It's up to you to find it. If you look hard enough, you can find something in a less than ideal situation that really isn’t that bad. Oftentimes, you are faced with less than ideal situations you can’t change. Recognizing both what you can change and what you need to put a positive spin on is key to avoiding unnecessary stress.

You will always have to deal with problems and adversity. The way to stay ahead of unnecessary tolls on your well-being is to give yourself time to process and take a vested interest in your mental health.