Indicators of high stress in our work and home life

Indicators of high stress in our work and home life

by Jennifer Brown
Stripes Japan

Editor’s note: At Stripes Japan, we love to share your stories and share this space with our community members. Here is an article written by Jennifer Brown, a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. If you have a story or photos to share, let us know at japan@stripes.com.

 

It can be easy to become focused on our work, career, and even hobbies. Being invested is certainly not a bad thing. In fact, it can motivate us and propel us forward with our goals. However, sometimes it is hard for us to objectively tell when we are overly stressed out. In a way, we can be so blinded by our own coping mechanisms and stress level, that we consider it normal. Here are a few ways to tell if you are overly stressed out: your work stress comes home with you, you obsess about the little things, and you have a hard time enjoying life outside of the office.

When we become invested in a project at work, time can seem as if it flies by. This is especially true if we enjoy what we are working on. Nevertheless, when we are overly devoted to our job, the demands of home and work can collide. That is, we can begin to carry all the stress from our day at work with us into our homes and to our families. For instance, if we are grueling over a project’s due date, we may continue to feel stressed out and anxious about it even when we are away from the office. This stress can then be carried into arguments with a spouse or preoccupation with the tasks needed to be done.

Another stress indicator is in the way we react to the little things. For example, if we normally are fine with a 30-minute wait for take-out, on days when we are more stressed, we may get irritated and blame the servers for taking so long. Excessive stress can lead to obsessive tendencies, being overly critical, and nitpicking even the smallest details to shreds. We may feel the need to have everything perfect in our lives and get upset if things are not how we want them.

Increased stress levels at work can also mean not taking a break from that stress at home or when we’re away from the desk. For instance, instead of being happy to enjoy a night out, we may ruminate about all the tasks we have yet to do. We may find ourselves not being able to focus on the present, and instead gravitate toward the future or the past. This may also present itself as lack of interest in the current moment. However your stress shows up, it can make enjoying the present moment difficult.

Despite the impact too much stress can have on us, there are things we can do to carry less of it. We can engage in self-care routines, such as getting a massage, do some deep breathing exercises, and practice mindfulness. Before we enter our home after work, we can also go to the store and buy ourselves our favorite dinner to get us in a positive and optimistic mindset. Similarly, we can also vent to our family and friends about our day if appropriate. However you do it, make sure you take care of yourself and stop stress in its tracks!

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Jennifer Brown is a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. Originally from Florida, she joined the Navy in 2018 and has been on the island for over a year. During her free time, Brown enjoys spending time with animals, running, rock climbing, and hiking. She is an alumnus of the University of Central Florida and holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Her professional interests include social work, animal welfare, and children.

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