How To Deal With A Stressful Work Environment

Which is why the 3rd picture is SUCH a big deal! I bought this Bueno chocolate bar at work and it took me 3 DAYS to finish it. 3 DAYS! Usually it would be gone in 5 minutes! Work has been VERY stressful and I found that I “needed” something comforting… but never did I expect it would take 3 days to finish!

From Instagram

This is a portion of my IG post from the other day talking about food freedom. Someone commented and asked me how I get through the stressful work days and I thought I’d elaborate more in a blog post.

First, a little about my job to understand my stress.

I’ve been there for 3 months now. When I got in there, there was no organization or system in place. I tore apart everything and found months and months of work not processed – and I’m still finding things! I’ve found (at least) 3 invoices from last fiscal year that weren’t paid – totalling about $5000 that had to be paid on the wrong fiscal year’s budget. We have 5 regional offices across the country plus 4 departments in Ottawa. I am directly responsible for supporting the 4 Ottawa departments plus 2 of the regional offices are short staffed so I also support them and occasionally get involved with the other 3, as required.

I do have a subordinate but he had a heart attack a couple weeks ago so the limited work he was doing (as he had been working from home due to covid) he’s no longer doing and I’m very rusty doing his job – he’s human resources and I’m finance. We’re starting the paperwork to transition him for a medical release but until then, we can’t bring anyone in to replace him… and there’s not a lot of people available to replace him. Plus April will be the absolutely earliest I’ll get a replacement.

I am literally a one woman show!

Though I’m not directly involved in the work the investigators do, I support them and process their travel claims and provide information as required. Even though I’m not directly involved, what they do is in the peripheral. I have overheard conversations about sexual assault, pedophiles, suicide, accidents, and autopsies. I’ve seen photos of burned bodies, fall victims, and accidents.

However, despite all the stress, it’s my favorite office so far, so it’s important for me to deal with the stress.

The first thing about having a stressful job is having supportive boss. I am blessed to have a boss who is supportive and empathetic, she sees how hard I’m working and tries to mitigate my stress. She implemented a schedule in the orderly room so I’m not available all the time and regularly encourages me to log out of my email so I’m not distracted by incoming emails.

2) Another thing to do – that I’m notorious for failing – is to take your lunch away from your desk. I’m SO bad with this. I regularly eat at my desk and work through my lunches. Good thing, on nice days, my boss drags me outside to go for a walk – and I do the same for her – even if it’s only for 10 minutes.

3) Step away from your desk on a regular basis – especially if you’re getting frustrated with something. Step away, take a deep breath, and tackle it again.

4) Make a list of things you want to accomplish that day – but be selective! Don’t list everything on your plate. Only have 3-5 things on that list as you actually want to accomplish everything on that list. All the other stuff? Put it away because if you’re staring at all the other work, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

5) When you leave work for the day, leave work at work.

6) And probably the most important… ask for help! It’s hard! Trust me, I know! When I started at this job, the person who wanted my job was the person I turned to for help. Every time I went to her for help, I couldn’t help but think that she was thinking “If I had gotten that job, I would know how to do all this”. You know what? What she is thinking is NONE of my business nor my responsibility. She is a wealth of knowledge and has been extremely helpful and if she was resentful or bitter because I got the job and she didn’t, that’s a reflection on her, not me.