After you’ve completed addiction treatment, there will likely come a time when you have to return to work. While this is, in many ways, a good thing, there can be challenges and obstacles to overcome in this space. For example, managing stress in the workplace can be challenging at times, especially when it concerns complex relationships with employers or co-workers.
Understanding Work-Related Stress
To manage stress well, you must first understand it. Stress may manifest as feelings of fear and worry, frustration, low concentration, or energy changes. For example, you may be under stress when you experience racing thoughts and hyperactive behaviors. Over time, stressors and symptoms could worsen chronic health problems.
At work, you may experience stress because of pressure to complete specific tasks by their deadlines. Alternatively, your stress levels may increase when you do not have much control over the outcome of a situation at work. Other common causes of workplace stress may include long working hours, demanding employers, or difficult personalities among co-workers.
One of the most particularly difficult about work-related stress is that it tends to compromise your performance or productivity. This, in turn, creates a vicious cycle of more stress. If you are undergoing chronic work-related stress, you may struggle to draw a line between work and your life outside of work. As a result, even your mind may still dwell on work-related issues even when you are not working. This imbalance can lead to adverse health outcomes.
The Importance of Workplace Stress Management for Recovering Individuals
If you have achieved steady progress and sobriety in recovery, you may wish to return to work. However, as you gear up to re-enter the workforce, make sure you are prepared to cope with work-related stress. Think back and identify potential stressors and how you can avoid or manage them better. For example, set boundaries around how many hours you work per day or week and balance those with your private life.
Stress management should be a top priority in your relapse prevention plan. Before leaving the treatment center, work with mental health specialists to identify potential stressors and develop coping strategies. Keep yourself accountable to the non-negotiables to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
The Non-Negotiables of Work-Life Balance
First, unpaid work, overwork, or extended working hours are not conducive to your recovery. If necessary, speak with your employer or supervisor about your new boundaries. You may be able to redefine your work duties. Whether or not you share details about your treatment and recovery is your choice. While your rights to privacy about recovery are legally protected, you should not avoid having these conversations to socially and mentally protect yourself.
Secondly, take a firm stance on discriminatory or abusive behaviors in the workplace. These are often situations that cause strife and stress. Verbalize your concerns and take action to protect your mental health.
Last but not least, make your physical health a non-negotiable. Finally, make sure you have a good working environment with reasonable breaks. You might even help your employer understand how to invest in building a good work infrastructure and norms for allowing relaxation breaks during a work day and enough people staffed to give everyone the days off they deserve.
Best practices of stress management offered by employers include providing time for social events and fun times in weekly work schedules, allowing a safe space for employees to voice concerns, raising awareness about mental health, and accountability. All of these factors contribute to lessened stress in the long run.
Practical Self-Care Advice for Stress Relief While Working
Effective self-care methods always begin with establishing healthy boundaries when it comes to work-life balance. Start by setting boundaries with your supervisor and co-workers. You may be surprised by how many of them respect your choice and follow in your footsteps.
To de-stress or return to a pre-stress level of functioning at work, you must intentionally build time into your schedule to disconnect from work. This is a healing process. Once you switch off from work for some time, you will regain strength and sharpness of mind. Enjoy other aspects of human nature and relaxation in life.
Even when you are working, taking breaks is essential to self-care and stress management. For example, try taking a walk in nature during your lunch break. Another way to do this is to use those few minutes for a mindfulness practice or take deep breaths to relax when you wash your hands in the restrooms.
Minimizing multitasking at work can significantly and positively affect your mental health. Likewise, decrease other internal and external distractions so you can focus on the task at hand. Practicing concentration is good for your productivity as well as your mental health.
Are you worried about returning to work after rehab? Prepare for stress management and prioritize it as a critical part of your relapse prevention plan. Neglecting self-care at your workplace is not conducive to long-term recovery. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff know the value of stress management for working professionals. Stress management is key to your recovery journey. We will walk alongside you or your loved one to offer support and guidance. Here, you can also connect with many other working professionals in recovery. Embracing a holistic and integrated approach means stress management is an integral part of our process. Call us at 866-934-5276 today.