Does your job give you chronic stress? Chronic stress is different than regular stress because it causes your brain to consistently release adrenaline and cortisol hormones. In turn, your body reacts to the constant strain: you feel fatigued all the time, have frequent headaches, can’t concentrate, and you get sick a lot more than you used to before you started working here. Those are just a few of the symptoms of chronic stress.
While you’re working a job that causes chronic stress, the solution seems complex. The common advice is for you to use all sorts of tools and strategies — but now you’re discovering the simplest, least stressful solution: quit.
But you also wonder, “I quit my job because of stress, is it bad?”
Not at all! Reading further, you’ll find out exactly why quitting your job is the smart thing to do. Our culture is chained to the idea of persisting for consistency’s sake, but there’s a reason why Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
To be consistent in a stressful situation such as yours is to work harder, not smarter. And don’t be fooled by the word “quit” — this is about empowerment.
Keep going to find out why you should quit your job and leave chronic stress behind.
1. Your Toxic Job Is Making You Sick
Chronic stress and consistently adverse work conditions will affect your health. Think back over the course of the last 6 months or so. How has your health been?
You need to think about the long-term. Even if you haven’t been sick lately, people oftentimes make the mistake of running themselves down over an extended period of time. When you do this, your immune system flatlines and you get hit hard.
Poor health is your body’s way of telling you something isn’t working. There are some specific things to look for when it comes to stress-related health problems. According to CompTIA, the following symptoms are telltale signs your job stress is negatively affecting your health:
- You need to sleep far more than normal, or you suffer from insomnia.
- You’ve experienced significant weight loss or weight gain.
- You lack energy and motivation, and you don’t feel like socializing very often.
- You seem to always be coming down with a cold, and when you get a cold or any other illness, it takes longer than it should to recover.
- Your job encroaches on your life to the extent that you don’t have time or motivation to exercise.
No job is worth losing your health over, and if you haven’t experienced a major breakdown yet, this is the perfect chance to break away.
Wait until your health breaks down completely, and you won’t be able to search for another job, or at least it will be much harder.
Unsure if your job maybe slowly taking down other aspects of your life? Take Lifehack’s Life Assessment to find out. It’s a free assessment that can help analyze your life aspects and give you a custom report of your life’s overview. Take the free assessment here.
2. Multitasking Is a Recipe for Failure
Is there nothing insanely stressful about your job yet you are still insanely stressed? Chances are you’re juggling a full-time job and another (or more than just another) full-time obligation.
For example, if you’re a nontraditional student who went back to school because your job prospects were slim — yet you still have to work while you’re in school — you’re creating stress.
You need to quit something. About 61 percent of multitaskers who seek counseling have anxiety, and 49 percent are depressed.
Counseling helps, but it’s not a cure for multitasking. Professor Gloria Mark at the University of California, Irvine says that people who multitask are more susceptible to stress, neuroticism, and impulsivity.
According to Mark, it takes your brain about 23 minutes and 15 seconds to regain focus after you switch tasks. This drains your energy reserves, and if you continue, you can enter a state of chronic stress.
People who have two or three major priorities weighing on them all the time are caught in a multitasking trap. Determine your priorities and evaluate your job. If your job is not something you’re passionate about and it’s not at the top of your priority list, drop it.
3. Employers That Don’t Help Relieve Stress Aren’t Doing Their Job
The truth is employment shouldn’t be a one-sided relationship.
You pour your heart into your job, you take pride in your work, and you truly care about the outcome. An employer who doesn’t encourage you to take breaks and doesn’t provide opportunities for stress-relief is an employer who doesn’t deserve to have you around.
You offer something many fantastic employers would bend over backwards to have: a work ethic and a high level of commitment. Good employers know it’s their responsibility not to run people into the ground. They know they must pay attention to how much you work as well as how stressed you are.
At the core, you’re dealing with a culture of stress. A study of organizational culture showed that a hierarchical, bureaucratic culture, in which the organization showed little care for employee well-being, created a state of low morale.
An organization’s negative, stress-based culture leads to poor performance, high turnover, and a low level of engagement.
The bottom line is that when you’re dealing with a culture of stress, you’re completely justified in being uncommitted.
A company’s culture is its identity. Don’t commit to a culture — therefore an identity — that is tearing itself down instead of building itself up.
4. There Are Great Jobs You’ll Love
A lot of times, when someone who is overly stressed doesn’t quit and find a new job, it’s because they feel stuck. They aren’t exercising free will, they aren’t choosing to recognize the agency and autonomy that allows them to go where they please when they please.
Philosopher Mitch Horowitz talks about this in his new book, The Miracle Club: How Thoughts Become Reality. Although there are some circumstances you can’t control, within your current set of circumstances you can select a life you prefer.
To put this in the employment context, you are able to envision the type of job you want and the type of company you’d like to work for. You’re not working somewhere else because you haven’t selected to do so.
Select a different job and take the steps to get there. You have the ability to concentrate all your efforts in a new direction.
Yes, there are practical considerations — including the fact that you need to pay the bills. There are also practical solutions. Here are some of them:
- List your resources. Do you have a car that’s in decent condition? Are you able-bodied? Do you have an internet connection at home or at least one you can access every day?
- Search for part-time gigs you can work when you’re able, such as driving for a ride-share company or any of the other gig economy work you have the resources to do.
- List your bills and calculate how much income you’ll need to pay them while you’re looking for a different full-time job.
- Work your part-time gig enough to pay the bills.
- Spend the rest of your time looking for the full-time position you really want.
A lot of people try to look for a different full-time job while still working their current job, but that won’t give you as much time as the part-time gig strategy.
When you’re looking for something new, don’t just select anything that comes along. You’re selecting a different path from among the nearly infinite paths you could select. To select the right path, find the answer to the most important question.
Here’s the important question to ask yourself:
What do I love to do?
Once you answer that question, all other actions must center on getting to a place where you can do nothing but what you love to do.
5. You Are the Driving Force Behind Your Own Success
Right now, you’re working for an employer who is placing responsibility on you and you’re not in control. The responsibilities and tasks in front of you are selected by other people.
Why do you have all these responsibilities and tasks to begin with? Because you have the skill set necessary to do them, as well as a great many other things.
In terms of types of things you could do, your work represents a relatively small percentage. The corporate division of labor is such that most people only take care of one or two types of things, with a bunch of related subtasks. The rest of your intellectual and physical ability goes untouched.
This isn’t to say you don’t have a lot to do — you’re probably overloaded with tasks, you’re bogged down in minutia. But you know you’re capable of other things.
In general, you’re capable of a higher level of thinking. The reason why you haven’t started your own business or struck out on a freelance career is you haven’t selected that type of route yet.
Now is the time to own the full capacity of your abilities. The stress at your current job isn’t worth it when you can do the thing you love so much better.
Once you seize onto what you love to do and find a way to make it your life, stress becomes positive. It’s no longer chronic, harmful stress because you view it differently.
Psychologist Kelly McGonigal discusses how, in a massive study, people who viewed stress as a positive thing didn’t have harmful physical reactions to it and actually lived longer than those who viewed it negatively .
Once you’re doing what you love, the pressure of getting things done is akin o the increase of heart rate from exercising. Since you are focused on the thing you love — much like a runner is focused on the act of running until completion — you cope with stress by continuing with your momentum.
You look at problems as possibilities. That’s how you succeed.
Stress Is Your Spark
It’s true that a toxic job full of chronic stress can make you sick, and a lifestyle that involves multitasking and lack of focus will contribute to a lack of well-being.
At the same time, it’s true that you wouldn’t have come to this realization and an important move in your life if it weren’t for stress.
A level of stress you can’t handle is your catalyst to do something new. You’re going to select the path you want and use your capabilities to actualize your full potential.
In the end, the stress was a good thing. It made you aware of your threshold and now you know it’s time to move on.
More Tips Related to Work Stress
- How to Eliminate Work Stress When You’re Stressed to the Max
- Why Am I Exhausted? The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever
- How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late
- Want to Feel More Energized Throughout the Day? Start With This
- How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up
Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com
|Medical News Today: What Are the Health Effects of Chronic Stress
|CompTIA: 10 Signs Your Job Is Making You Sick
|Grantham University: 10 Self-Care Tips to Reduce Stress and Increase Positivity
|Quartz: Neuroscientists say multitasking literally drains the energy reserves of your brain
|Scientific and Academic Publishing: The Effects of Organisational Culture and Stress on Organisational Employee Commitment
|TED: How to make stress your friend