Coping With Stress at Work and School

Student couple smiling at themselves

For many people in America, work and school provide a source of daily stressors. Pressure to succeed, deadlines, unclear expectations, and awkward social interactions are a few of the things that make it difficult to find serenity in the classroom or behind a desk. Stress can cause roadblocks in recovery and increases the risk of relapsing or developing mental health disorders. Chronic stress is a critical issue in America and contributes to many health issues, including:

  • Mental health disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Cognitive problems
  • Interpersonal issues

Stress in the Workplace

In 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that “71% of adults reported at least one symptom of stress, such as a headache or feeling overwhelmed or anxious.” They also noted that “workplace wellness programs can identify those at risk and connect them to treatment.” Stress reduction measures in the workplace and at schools can eliminate the following:

  • Loss of productivity
  • Inability to engage with others
  • Decreased communication
  • Loss of physical capabilities
  • Lower feelings of self-worth
  • Fewer interactions with peers

Avoid Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Unhealthy coping mechanisms give relief in the short term, but they threaten your hard-won sobriety and continued recovery. Instead of falling into the trap of returning to comfortable old habits, you can develop new coping skills to help you resolve issues at work or school. It might feel tempting to slip back into comfortable old habits, but doing that increases the risk of relapse and might trigger flashbacks, cravings, or intrusive thoughts. 

Sometimes it can be hard to identify unhealthy coping mechanisms because they may not seem out of the ordinary for some people who have a history of mental health or substance use disorders. Below are examples of destabilizing behaviors to avoid when you feel overwhelmed: 

  • Obsessing over specific tasks
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Avoiding food or overeating
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Compulsively spending money
  • Purposefully disrupting your sleep pattern

Maintaining Emotional Stability Under Pressure

Pressure in the workplace or classroom can affect other areas of your life if you do not find ways to maintain emotional stability. Some helpful tools and services you can use include: 

  • Peer support
  • Individual therapy
  • Personal support system
  • Daily self-care
  • Human resources
  • Student counselor

The more support you have, the better you will feel. Use all the resources available to you to find the best ones for the specific circumstances facing you. 

The Importance of Self-Care

Your mental health will impact how your body feels and the speed of your recovery. Regular self-care is a reliable way to look after your mental well-being. Many forms of self-care exist, and they can include things like permitting yourself to say “no” to requests or making sure you eat three balanced meals a day. Whatever steps you take to look after your comfort and safety can be considered self-care. A few popular examples include: 

  • Taking time each day to sit alone in silence and practice meditation or relaxation techniques
  • Practicing self-forgiveness and self-acceptance when you make a mistake at work or school
  • Spending time each day doing an activity because it brings you joy
  • Creating positive reminders about your past achievements at work or school

Therapy and Medication to Manage Symptoms

Withdrawal can sometimes leave lingering symptoms like anxiety or depression that contribute to the everyday pressure at work or school. Get relief from these symptoms by talking with your therapist or doctor. Psychotherapy and prescription medication are common treatments for mood and anxiety disorders. Once you get those symptoms under control, you might find that your previous stress becomes more manageable. 

4 Ways to Reduce Stress at Work and School

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. What works for one person may not help someone else, but you can try the following four ways to reduce stress at your workplace or classes. 

#1. Make a schedule for your classes and other responsibilities so you know what to expect each day throughout the month. Organizing your tasks in an easy-to-follow format can cut down on deadline stress. 

#2. Talk to your close friends and family about the things that are causing you to feel overwhelmed. You may find that they have out-of-the-box solutions based on their own experiences. Even if they cannot provide you with suggestions, the act of expressing yourself in a safe space can decrease stress significantly. 

#3. Communicate the stress you are feeling with the relevant department of your school or workplace. Your supervisors and teachers may not be aware of the pressure they are putting you under, and speaking up can allow them to make positive changes.  

#4. Practicing mindfulness techniques can help you avoid intrusive thoughts and anxieties about possible future problems or past mistakes. Live in the moment and be patient with yourself. 

Everyone reacts differently to stressors like deadlines for school projects or shifts in workplace dynamics. However, those everyday stressors can trigger cravings and intrusive thoughts for individuals recovering from substance use disorder. Many people in recovery also have co-occurring conditions like mood disorders that make it challenging to process and regulate emotions, including anxiety or anger. The trusted staff at White House Recovery and Detox guarantees that everyone leaves our program with healthy coping tools for dealing with stressful real-world situations. You can take concrete steps to lower your overall stress levels, and doing that will make it easier to deal with stressors you encounter in your daily life. If you have a mental health disorder, psychotherapy and prescription medications can relieve anxiety or depression symptoms that might increase due to stress. Learn more about our facility and services at White House Recovery and Detox by calling us today at (800) 510-5393.