Managing Work-Related Stress: Understanding the Difference Between Working Hard and Overworking


In today’s world, work is a necessary part of life, but it can also cause stress and anxiety. Work-related stresses can have a significant impact on your mental health and your ability to perform well on the job. In this article, we will discuss some common work-related stresses and provide tips on how to manage them effectively.

Feeling Underpaid

One of the most common work-related stresses is feeling underpaid. It can be challenging to feel motivated and satisfied when you don’t think you are being compensated fairly. The best way to address this stress is to know your worth and have a clear understanding of what you want. If you feel undervalued, consider asking for a raise or exploring other employment options that may offer better pay.

Lack of Opportunities

Another common work-related stress is the feeling of being stuck in a dead-end job with no opportunities for growth or advancement. It’s essential to be clear with your manager about what you are looking for in terms of career development. If there are no opportunities available, it may be time to move on to a new company that can offer the growth and development you seek.

Boring Work

Boredom is a common work-related stress that can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and disengagement. To overcome this stress, it’s essential to become curious and look outside your box. Increase your circle of influence and find ways to increase your value to your organization. Find projects that interest you or look for opportunities to take on new challenges.

Lack of Support

Lack of support from colleagues and management can be a significant source of stress. If you feel unsupported, be realistic, and validate yourself. Take time to validate others and increase your visibility within the organization. If you still feel unsupported, it may be time to explore new job opportunities.

Overwhelming Workloads

An overwhelming workload can cause feelings of stress and burnout. It’s essential to ask for help and avoid taking on more than you can handle. Be clear with your manager about your workload and ask for additional support or resources if necessary.

Being Under-Qualified

Feeling under-qualified for a job can lead to imposter syndrome and stress. To overcome this, keep trying new things and push your limits. Know what you want and work towards the areas in which you want to grow.

Facing Unrealistic Demands

When faced with unrealistic demands, it’s essential to review tasks with your boss and set expectations. If there are any unreasonable demands, speak up and explain why it’s not feasible. By being clear about your capabilities and expectations, you can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.


Uncertainty can cause feelings of anxiety and stress, especially when it comes to job security or company changes. It’s essential to imagine possibilities and live in hope. Find ways to embrace change and stay optimistic about the future.

Not Feeling Valued

Feeling undervalued at work can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and burnout. You must first recognize your own value and then display it by asking for what you want and setting boundaries. By setting clear expectations and taking steps to validate your contributions, you can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Each of us finds different things stressful. The key is understanding yourself, what causes you to worry, and what works best to curb your stress.

Here are four practices to help you relieve stress:

  1. Breathe: Many of us don’t know how to breathe correctly. By taking a moment to become aware of our breathing, we can lower our heart rate and destress. Check out this article for other breathing exercises to help lower anxiety and feel better prepared.
  2. Think Positive Thoughts: Take that stressful nervous energy and don’t try to get rid of it. Refocus it. Nervous energy and positivity are different sides of the same coin. By refocusing that energy, you can change how elevated heart rate and shortness of breath affect your performance. Start with a mantra full of positive words and repeat it over and over until you believe it.
  3. Keep Learning: If there is something your job requires of you that you are unsure about or is hard for you to do, practice it. Turn your weakness into a strength. Not well-versed in using Excel spreadsheets? Find a course and learn it. Speaking in front of others releases all the butterflies in your stomach. Start with a small group and work up from there.
  4. Take a Short Break: Walking away from what causes our stress can help us gain perspective and refocus on positivity. A break can be a walk around the block, a tea break, or simply stepping away from our phones and devices.

Remember, we all have stress and worry. Using these four tips can often bring relief to our minds. If these are not enough for you and your stress affects your personal life, finding a trusted source to chat with can often help us gain perspective and destress. That may be a co-worker, a spouse, a parent, or even a professional therapist.

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