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When Work Becomes Too Overwhelming: How a Therapist Can Help

Work - a place where we spend so much of our time in a given week. Work-related stress is becoming increasingly common in today's fast-paced and highly competitive work environment. A variety of factors such as job insecurity, long work hours, heavy workload, poor work-life balance, and conflicts with colleagues can cause stress at work. While some stress is normal, this can change over time to chronic and excessive stress can have negative effects on our physical and mental health and our overall well-being.

It can be challenging to notice when stress changes from motivating pressure to overwhelming. A few indicators that can alert you to this shift in stress can be: feeling dissatisfied in your work that you once enjoyed, thinking about work negatively outside of the working hours, feeling you do not have a life from work, you begin to have negative thoughts about yourself, you find that you are becoming more distracted at work and not completing tasks on time, and you struggle to get out of bed when your alarm goes off.

Let’s take a look at some of the other effects that work-related stress can have when it is all feeling like it is getting to be too much and overwhelming.

1. Physical Symptoms - Work-related stress can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, backaches, muscle tension, fatigue, insomnia, and changes in appetite. When we experience stress, our body releases the hormone cortisol, which can cause inflammation, weaken our immune system, and increase our risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. We may even notice that are shoulders feel tight and that our legs feel fatigued.

2. Mental Health Issues - Work stress also has negative effects on our mental health. It can cause anxiety, depression, irritability, and mood swings. It can also lead to poor concentration, decreased productivity, and poor decision-making. Chronic stress can lead to burnout, which is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged and excessive stress.

3. Behavioral Changes - Work stress can lead to changes in behavior such as increased alcohol or drug use, poor performance at work, decreased productivity, and poor decision-making. It can also cause social withdrawal, conflicts with colleagues, and difficulty in maintaining personal relationships.

4. Health Problems - It might not be so surprising that with prolonged stress, health problems can arise. Chronic stress can lead to long-term health problems such as high blood pressure and even digestive issues. Stress can also weaken our immune system, making us more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.

5. Reduced Quality of Life - Work-related stress can reduce our overall quality of life by affecting our physical and mental health, our relationships, and our ability to enjoy life outside of work. It can cause us to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and disconnected from our personal lives, hobbies, and interests.

Work-related stress can have negative effects on our physical and mental health, our relationships, and our overall well-being. It's important to recognize the signs of stress and take steps to manage it, such as seeing a mental health therapist.

Here are several ways a therapist can help when it comes to work stress:

  • Objective perspective - A therapist will provide an objective perspective on your situation. They will help you see things more clearly, without the emotional attachment that may come from being directly involved in the situation. They also will help you identify patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to your stress and offer solutions to help you manage it.

  • Coping strategies A therapist can teach you coping strategies to help you manage stress. They can teach you relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and mindfulness, that can help you reduce stress and anxiety. They can also help you develop problem-solving skills and effective communication strategies to help you manage difficult situations at work.

  • Support - When talking to a therapist, you will find a space that is supportive and safe to discuss your feelings and concerns. They will provide validation and support for the challenges you are facing, and help you feel less alone in your struggles.

  • Accountability - A therapist will help hold you accountable for making changes and taking steps to manage your stress. They will help you set goals and track your progress, which can be helpful in maintaining motivation and making meaningful progress toward reducing your stress levels.

  • Confidentiality - Seeing a therapist ensures confidentiality, which means that you can share your feelings and experiences without fear of judgment or repercussions. This can be particularly helpful when dealing with sensitive work-related issues.

Seeing a therapist for work-related stress will help provide you with an objective perspective, coping strategies, support, accountability, and confidentiality, all of which can help you manage your stress and improve your overall well-being. Overall, a therapist will help you reach your goal of reducing this stress.

Blog Disclaimer - These posts are not meant to treat, diagnose, or serve as a replacement for therapy. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, please contact your local crisis center or dial 911. Here are more immediate resources as well.


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