Your Guide to Managing Work-Related Stress

Pyramid Online Counseling      Mental Health  
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Silhouette of stressed businesswoman in the office.

Work-related stress is becoming more and more commonplace in our workplace culture. Overtime, high expectations, and limited staffing compounds this issue until it feels like it’s too much to bear. Take control over your work-related stress by following these tips.

Use your vacation time

One of the best ways of dealing with work-related stress and anxiety is to step away from work entirely, even if only for a day. Whether you actually go on vacation or just plan a personal day full of all of your favorite things, allow yourself to take a break from your work. Don’t forget, you are entitled to take your vacation time, so you should not feel guilty about taking a couple of days off.

Don’t bring your work home with you

It has become increasingly more difficult to know how to deal with work-related stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly if you have been working from home. When your workplace is your home and your home is your workplace, it can feel as though you are always – or always should be – available for whatever your work needs at any time. This can contribute to constant stress and anxiety, because you will always be thinking about work.

To counter this feeling, refrain from bringing your work home with you, physically and mentally. If you work in a physical location, leave your laptop, paperwork and any other projects at work; they can wait until tomorrow. If you work remotely, make a designated “office” space in your home, even if it’s just a tiny corner in your living room or bedroom. Do all of your work at this space, and when you log off for the day, leave all of your work there. Working from your bed or the couch may be more comfortable, but you may begin to associate those spaces in your home with your work-related stress.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Build trust and relationships with your coworkers, as they can serve as a support network of folks who intimately understand your work-related stress. If you are feeling stressed because you’re not sure how to complete a certain task, ask one of your coworkers who might be more familiar. If you’re feeling burned out because of your workload, ask your manager if it would be possible to transfer some of the balance among the team.

Utilize your employee assistance program

An employee assistance program (EAP) is a service offered by employers for the benefit of your employees. EAPs can provide free and confidential mental health counseling, family services, addiction counseling, stress and time management, career counseling, financial counseling and more. Check with your employer to see if an EAP is available to you as part of your benefits package.

Set boundaries

Remember that you do not exist for the sole purpose of going to work; likewise, your job is not your entire identity. Strike a healthy work-life balance by keeping your work at work; don’t bring your personal life into the office, and don’t let work get in the way of enjoying your hobbies or time with friends and family.

A work-life balance can be achieved by:

  • Not being responsive while on vacation. During your personal time off, don’t feel pressured to answer work-related calls or emails. You have earned your vacation time and deserve to enjoy it.
  • Keeping your work emails separate from your personal email. Remove your work email from your personal device, and resist the urge to quickly check your email in the evenings or on the weekend.
  • Taking the full time you are allotted for breaks and lunchtime. Treat breaks as a mini vacation and refrain from doing any work. If another employee approaches you in the break room during your lunch hour, kindly let them know you are taking your lunch and will be available to help when you are finished.
  • Not talking about work when you are not at work. The more you talk about work, the more you will think about it, and the more it will become part of your daily life and identity.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a meditation practice that strives to help you feel more in tune with your thoughts and feelings while grounding yourself during stressful times. In an ideal world, work-related stress symptoms would vanish the moment you stepped out of the office. This, unfortunately, is not the case for most people. Work-related stress and anxiety can affect all aspects of your life. Racing thoughts and excessive worry can prevent you from getting a restful night of sleep; a spiked heart rate and hyperventilation can make you feel on-edge, even if you are not at work. Though these symptoms may stem from work-related stress they need to be treated holistically.

Plan out your projects

Make daily and weekly to-do lists with manageable, attainable goals. Work will feel less daunting when you know exactly what is ahead of you, and formulating timelines and plans for each project may help to alleviate work-related stress. Make sure to also discuss expectations with your manager, both as an employee and for each project, so that you are set up for success from the beginning.

Consider going to counseling

Pyramid Online Counseling offers teletherapy through a secure platform for those experiencing work-related stress and anxiety. Counseling can provide you with additional coping skills for present and future incidents of work-related stress. Get help today by reaching out at 833-525-3077.

7 Steps You Can Take on Your Own to Break an Opioid Addiction

Pyramid Online Counseling      Addiction & Substance Use  
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When you’re struggling with an opioid addiction it can feel like you’ve lost control in your life. The cravings, the money, the broken ties with family and friends may seem to have gone too far to fix.

If you’re in the midst of opioid addiction, there’s hope. Professional treatment can offer the healing and support you need, but if you want to get started at this moment, here are 7 concrete steps you can take today to take back control of your life.

1. Throw away drug paraphernalia

A doable first step in addressing opioid addiction is to discard any drug paraphernalia you may have. Better yet, smash it, flush it down the toilet or throw it away somewhere you can’t go back for it. Get rid of it permanently, and the sooner, the better.

2. Delete contacts in your phone

One of the quickest ways to cut off your supply is to cut out your supplier. Deleting your supplier’s contact in your phone (and anyone who could connect you to drugs) is a simple and easy step that can have a big impact on ending your addiction. Make sure to disconnect on social media, too.

3. Tell someone about it

Telling a loved one about your opioid addiction is one concrete step you can take to boost your recovery. If you have someone on your team who can inspire you towards sobriety, the journey will be easier and less lonely. You’ll benefit from better accountability and a reinforced relationship with a sober friend. 

Hopefully, your friend or family member will also assist you in getting set up with treatment. Just make sure you don’t put pressure on your buddy to “fix” your addiction, only you and a team of professionals can do that.

4. Educate yourself on withdrawal symptoms

If you’ve been using opioids regularly and you abruptly stop, your body is going to have a reaction. A system that has become adjusted to the presence of opioids will go through a period of detox without them.

As your body rids itself of toxins, there are numerous symptoms you may experience. When you know about the sensations of detox ahead of time, you’ll be ready to handle them. 

It’s highly recommended to undergo this process in a licensed detoxification facility, so medical and mental health experts can help you manage the negative symptoms without turning back to opioids. You can start the mental prep on your own though, and you can do it now.

5. Start a recovery journal

When you start a substance use recovery journal the message will stick in your head that your recovery starts today. Your journey won’t take a linear path, and that’s ok. A substance use journal is a place to chronicle all the ups and downs from the moment you decide to commit.

If you’re not sure how to start a journal, check out these 31 addiction recovery journal prompts. All you need is a pencil and paper to make the next step towards sobriety.

6. Imagine your life free from opioids

One of the best ways to address an opioid addiction right now is to picture yourself sober. When you break free from an opioid addiction you’ll experience more mental clarity, have more energy, feel better physically and have more opportunities to live the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Imagining that life now can offer you motivation to start the journey and to continue when you embrace roadblocks. Whether you spend a few quiet minutes visualizing your happier self or journal about it, imagining your future is a step you can take right now to get a leg up on addiction.

7. Write down goals

Imagining a freer future naturally leads to setting goals for yourself. What do you want to accomplish when you’re no longer chained down by drugs? Write career goals, family goals and mental health goals.

When you engage in treatment a therapist or addiction counselor will help you to build goals into your treatment plan, but start brainstorming now for an extra dose of inspiration and a positive outlook.

Call for help

Making the call to start treatment doesn’t have to wait. When you’re ready to commit to ending an addiction, look into local treatment options. Once you decide where to start your journey, an addiction specialist can help you determine the appropriate level of care, organize transportation and schedule services.

Getting help for comorbid disorders is also crucial to your success in sobriety. Anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders often accompany addictions, and managing them with therapy and medication can make recovery more attainable.

Your future starts now

Kicking an opioid addiction is no easy task, but there are things you can do today to start your journey off on the right foot. Cut ties with contacts, find a sober community and get yourself ready for treatment. You deserve a life free from opioids, and you can start today.

Pyramid Online Counseling can offer you the support you need to get sober and stay sober. Flexible scheduling and licensed professionals can help you with the next set of concrete steps towards a life independent from opioids. Call to get set up with treatment at 833-525-3077.

Incorporating Stress-Relieving Activities Into Your Daily Life

Pyramid Online Counseling      Mental Health  
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If you’re currently taking medication to help you manage stress and anxiety, we’re not here to tell you to flush all those pills down the drain. Your doctor prescribed said medication for a reason, and suddenly removing them from your regimen could cause more harm than good. 

However, we are here to tell you that in addition to your medication, there are dozens of medicine-free routines, practices and habits you can put into practice to help you manage your stress and anxiety. Perhaps, over time, the practice of these habits will help lessen the need for medication and give you greater control over your stress naturally.

1. Diffuse essential oils

Aromatherapy has been used for many years as an effective means of boosting the immune system, purifying the air and reducing stress. Plus, stress-reducing essential oils make your house smell really nice and tend to be less toxic than candles. Some particularly good scents to diffuse (or apply topically) include lavender, ylang-ylang, Roman chamomile and clary sage. 

2. Stop drinking so much caffeine

We won’t deny you your morning coffee, but we will encourage paying attention to just how much caffeine you consume throughout the day. Caffeine is a stimulant, it does more to your body than keeping you awake. It can increase your stress and anxiety and cause an unpleasant feeling of jitters or shakiness. Instead of additional caffeine, opt for lots of water and watch your stress naturally reduce and your energy naturally increase.

3. Talk to your clinician about adaptogens

Adaptogens are natural supplements that support your adrenal glands from which stress hormones are released. Adaptogens such as ashwagandha, jiaogulan and tulsi utilize their natural properties to minimize stress-inducing chemicals and counteract the effects felt by stress, leaving you more relaxed and calm, naturally. Before incorporating an adaptogen into your routine, be sure to clear it with your doctor as some have been known to mix poorly with certain medications.

4. Exercise

The endorphins released via exercise not only promote an overall sense of wellbeing but naturally reduce the levels of stress-inducing chemicals in your brain. Have you ever gone on a run to burn off steam? Felt better after a yoga or spin session? Experienced more mental clarity after a nice long walk? It’s the way the brain responds to exercise and the resulting lessening of stress that makes exercise such an effective and simple stress reducer.

5. Journal

Sometimes our stress seems like a mountainous obstacle, but only because it’s kept all up in our heads. Taking the time to write about the things in life causing you stress can offer you fresh perspectives, help you figure out how best to deal with the stressful situation and allow you to realize it’s not as overwhelming as you initially believed. Plus, journaling gives you the chance to slow down and process what is going on, providing you with a moment of rest and attention given solely to you.

6. Talk to a friend

Friends can be incredible supports, mentally and emotionally, during stressful times. When you feel overwhelmed with anxiety or stress, tap into your friends or a close family member, and allow them to offer you guidance, provide a healthy distraction and remind you about the important things in life.

7. Consider an emotional support animal

Maybe you already have a fluffy best friend, or maybe you’ve never considered one. It can’t be denied that animals have a unique way of calming anxiety, reducing fears and offering a sense of peace. Dogs especially get you out of the house and into the fresh air for daily walks. Cats know when you need an extra cuddle or two, even reptiles can bring you joy in ways you didn’t expect. 

8. Say no

Sometimes our stress roots from being overcommitted and stretched thin as butter across toast. Overcommitting, be it to work, social events, family, friends, classes, whatever it is, can have detrimental impacts on our mental and physical health. With so much emphasis put on busyness and racing from here to there and so little respect for leisure and rest, culture tends to glorify the burnt-out, overworked and overcommitted human. We weren’t designed for that lifestyle, which is why learning to say and stick to your “no” is one of the best things you can do to reduce your stress. 

9. Reach out for help

Counseling can do wonders for stress management. Talking with a licensed counselor can provide alternative coping mechanisms to stress, help you brainstorm effective methods of dealing with stress that doesn’t involve additional medication, plus the trained knowledge of a counselor will provide perspectives and tools you might not have considered before. When it comes to seeking the best for your mental health, there’s no need to go at it alone and no shame in asking for help when you need it. If it allows you to deal with your stress in a natural and healthy way, seek it out. 

For additional tips on managing stress and anxiety without medication, or to get in contact with a mental health counselor today, contact Pyramid Online Counseling at 833-525-3077.