If You Can Say ‘Yes’ to These 5 Things, Stress is Ruining Your Work Relationships

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April 15, 2024 at 2:30AM UTC
As the world is adapting to what is now the “new normal,” Fairygodboss wants to be there for you every step of the way. Keep reading for timely advice and join our Navigating the New Normal group for continued support.
We've all experienced a host of new stressors since March, but how we manage them is a much more individual process. If you're having a hard time managing and feel your new levels of stress may be playing out in your relationships, you're not alone. While everyone has bad days, unhealthy expressions of stress — especially over time — can negatively impact your professional relationships. 
Saying 'yes' to the following signals you may need to seek out new ways to manage your stress so it doesn't put your work relationships on ice. 

1. You've become emotionally unavailable — and people are reaching out less.

Stress causes some of us to shut down, especially emotionally. If you're feeling so overwhelmed you've cut off your emotional reactions to events at work, you're unable to empathize with your colleagues, or you're unable to respond thoughtfully when colleagues reach out, your stress may be negatively impacting your relationships. One surefire sign people around you have taken notice? They're reaching out less, especially if they used to confide in you a lot before your stress began. 

2. You've become anxious — and it causes you to vent or micromanage. 

If your stress has caused a high level of anxiety and you attempt to mitigate it by venting, over-explaining yourself or exerting your control over small your colleagues' work, you're anxiety has probably raised a red flag. If your colleagues or reports have said that you seem nervous about work or mention that you are taking up more time than usual in meetings, it's a sign they've noticed the change — and you may need to work to get it under control. 

3. You're rushing your work and making more mistakes — and other people are noticing. 

If you're so stressed about what you have to get done or what's going on in your personal life that your work is full of mistakes, that's no good for your professional relationships. One way to tell this symptom of stress has already made an impact? Other members of your team or your manager have noted that you seem rushed or have expressed concern about your work product. 

4. The smallest comments make you upset — and people are making fewer as a result. 

If you are taking comments about you and your work more personally than usual, you may be dealing with an unhealthy level of stress. If you are lashing out because you're taking things more personally, you may be dealing with a PR problem. If people at work have stopped giving you feedback or shy away from conversation with you after a fallout or two, your stress is impacting your reputation. 

5. You're having a hard time finding joy in your work and being yourself. 

If you're struggling to be happy in your job, especially if you were generally content before, your stress may have taken over. This is especially true if your anxiety makes it hard to focus, express yourself in meetings and pour the normal amount of energy into your day-to-day tasks. Being "off" — and especially being unusually unhappy — for a sustained amount of time is likely to impact how your colleagues see you. 
To get ahead of these impacts, consider reaching out to a mental health professional, confiding in a trusted colleague or friend, and setting routines that can help you manage your stress during the workday. 

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