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Do you ever wonder if your perception of a stressful day is the same for everyone?

(32 Posts)
JMAngel1 Wed 18-Nov-20 05:48:41

I'm starting to get more and more stressed during a normal working day - I'm peri-menopausal.
Yesterday I felt like crying twice during work which is not like me usually - a real panicky feeling of being overwhelmed.
It got me wondering whether my day really is stressful or whether I can no longer tolerate stress.
Could you give me some scenarios of stressful experiences at work so that I can use them as a barometer for what I perceive as stressful - or is it a pointless exercise given that everyone perceives stress differently?

OP’s posts: |
PandemicPalava Wed 18-Nov-20 05:56:38

I work from home and as I get older I can't handle the last minute pressure or orders or meetings. I used to thrive on it but now I am more organised and get things done in plenty of time. I also now handle criticism better though, and say no more easily so swings and roundabouts

ThisThreadCouldOutMe Wed 18-Nov-20 06:22:08

Im not sure that its helpful because everyone can cope with different stress levels, and it depends on your job to some extent.

I used to work in MH. My most stressful shifts were the night I found a patient dead. And the day I was working with all agency staff and one of my patients had been refusing meds, got drunk and then had a bit of an episode in the street. He was throwing his shoes at cars, running out into the road and threatening to kill me.

Then I went to work in elderly care. And stressful shifts were the ones where we were so short staffed that I had to care for 12-15 people on my own, couldn't take a break and had to somehow supervise someone in the dining room whilst taking meals on trays to anyone who wanted to stay in their room. Or the ones when someone had a fall and we had to sort that whilst still answering call bells before they went to "emergency"

VashtaNerada Wed 18-Nov-20 06:25:44

It’s so subjective. I also think that people with really stressful jobs (police officer, nurse etc) sometimes have to compartmentalise for their own sanity. I’m a teacher and I’d say a stressful day is when the children with challenging behaviour tip the balance of the class so that meaningful learning isn’t really taking place and I’ve lost my patience with it all. Also if I’m being observed teaching or teaching something technical and the equipment doesn’t work.

Fatted Wed 18-Nov-20 06:31:02

I used to work in a police control room. So that was stressful. But the job I have just left was a million times worse, even though it was 'just sitting in an office'. I can't explain it without going into too much detail, but it wasn't a good environment. I spent the entire two years I was there thinking something was wrong with me that I couldn't manage the stress of the job when I had done "more stressful jobs". I left a month ago and the change has been amazing! I am much calmer and more relaxed in my new job already.

I am convinced I am also peri menopausal. I definitely have bad PMS for two weeks prior since I stopped all hormonal contraception. I'm in the two week window ATM and not doing too bad, so think my reduced stress levels are helping.

What I'm trying to say in a long winded way is even if it is 'just' your hormones making you stressed, there is nothing wrong with making changes in your life to make you less stressed.

DarkMutterings Wed 18-Nov-20 06:46:04

My time during peri menopause was horrific - stressful days I'd previously have shrugged off could break me, I'd flip like Banner/Hulk when angry. Truly horrible period for me and those nearest to me. Acupuncture was a godsend, HRT if you can (I couldn't for medical reasons) and check your levels of vitamins etc.

StealthPolarBear Wed 18-Nov-20 06:55:16

Op I don't think this thread will be helpful. I suspect you might get a lot of people coming on to add their stress top trumps and make you feel worse. That said so far that hasn't been the case so maybe I am wrong.
I am trying to think of the situations in which I'm stressed - and I can't put my finger on which bits cause stress.

Hotwaterbottlelove Wed 18-Nov-20 07:46:35

Triggers are personal. I stride through some things and don't others. We are going through an incredibly complicated drawn out house purchase. One where we have had to get in the trenches and sort out messes created by the vendors terrible solicitor. We should be living in the house by now. Everyday is a new crap hill to overcome. It has no impact on my stress response. I have no idea why but it just doesn't. On the other hand, that stupid 'bling blong' noise in outlook that announces a new meeting in 15 minutes makes my stomach turn. As does when a colleague emails me saying, 'do you have time for a call?' with no further information. I also cried yesterday when the stress of the hoover and radio on at the same time was too much.

ThisThreadCouldOutMe Wed 18-Nov-20 07:50:45

I should have said that how stressful any of those shifts were, were affected by how supportive, or not, other colleagues and management were.
My first example was actually the least stressful because of the wonderful colleagues I had on shift that night.

Spudlet Wed 18-Nov-20 07:55:24

It depends on the working environment though. My most stressful jobs have all been objectively far less stressful than most of those mentioned in that there were no life or death situations, but the culture of blame, endless micro-management and lack of support made me feel sick all the time with stress that I might make some error and be pilloried for it.

If you are experiencing stress then the important thing isn’t really whether your job is ‘stressful’ to others - you’re finding it stressful so at the moment that’s what it is. So you need coping strategies to get you through. Mine was taking myself out for walks at lunchtime. These days I find exercise really helpful generally.

Lurchermom Wed 18-Nov-20 07:59:54

My DF recently informed me of his "stressful" morning the other day, which involved the postman coming, the washing machine finishing it's cycle and somebody texting him, all within 5 minutes.

So no, I don't think everybody has the same level for what classes as "stressful" grin

StrictlyAFemaleFemale Wed 18-Nov-20 08:07:35

Last week I had a client threaten suicide which is rare among my clients - Ive never experienced it before and I found that quite stressful! Talked to a colleague in a different department and she shrugged and didnt seem too bothered. She even said oh thats a normal day for us. Yet when I was a student in placement I went to 2 funerals, called the police twice because clients were attacking each other. I think exposure, expectations and social norms at work and relations with colleagues play a big part.

Pickypolly Wed 18-Nov-20 08:15:05

If it makes you feel any better op, I’m perimeno too and have had to take the last 8 weeks off work due to what I thought was anxiety and depression, turns out I am burnt out.
I do put it down to peri because my sick record up until now has been impeccable.

BUT in my defence, my work has been off the ceiling horrific, not just for me but for all of my colleagues. Utterly utterly horrendous.

But yeah, I don’t manage my stress as well as I previously would have.

CBT is the answer, taking time off not as a reward but as an expectation and a given. Treating yourself well, eating well, fluids, good sleep patterns, do stuff you enjoy, switch off.

You are not alone. flowers

Pickypolly Wed 18-Nov-20 08:18:09

Lol I remember my mil telling me that she hadn’t stopped all day, proceeded to tell me that she had been to the post office to get her money (10 minute walk) and taken her dog on a walk.(20 minutes).
I was shock
But for her, that was a busy day as a retired lady.

Karwomannghia Wed 18-Nov-20 08:18:40

It is definitely that people react to stressful situations to different degrees. The same scenario can be perceived and experienced very differently in terms of stress caused by different people and also by the same person at different times. I also think I react to stress more as I’m older and also at different times. I’m more aware of consequences, I have more responsibility and don’t sleep as well. I know my biggest cause of stress is doing something wrong or having someone moan at me as a manager.

AfterSchoolWorry Wed 18-Nov-20 08:21:20

It's likely the menopause.

I started getting palpitations and still do just doing the school run or going to work. Or even thinking about the school run/work.

Heart checked, fine.

I don't cry but definitely more anxious and stressed.

JMAngel1 Wed 18-Nov-20 09:18:20

Ok this is giving me some perspective and has helped me.
For me the stress is always the feeling of guilt that I should be somewhere else/doing a different task.
So for example yesterday I probably had enough desk work to fill around 5 hours but also had to work on a busy ward with 28 patients and supervise two other colleagues not yet qualified on two other wards - so effectively responsible for 84 patients. There is a level of hysteria around missing ambulance slots for discharge with lots of blame from discharge teams if everything isn’t in place when it should be - a lot of time is spent hunting down colleagues to do what they should have done which is exhausting. The whole time this is going on, I have a gnawing anxiety that I’m not doing my desk work, 3 biggish pieces of work that I had a deadline for today. A Teams meeting in the afternoon also where we get berated/micromanaged - the time spent at such meetings is counterproductive but some managers just love the sound of their own voice. Add to that approx 8 bleeps per hour from colleagues asking for advice on complex clinical scenarios, out of stocks of critical drugs, computer system crashing and I was at breaking point. I also had an absolute deadline to leave work by 6.30 to get back in time so DH could go to work - the whole day just felt like a ticking time bomb. A patient also escaped on the midst of all this chaos and almost got ran over and one of my not yet qualified colleagues was being blamed for this so I had to step in and defend them/sort out the problem.
I’m doing nothing today - need a complete reset.

OP’s posts: |
LittleOverwhelmed Wed 18-Nov-20 09:40:38

As someone wisely told me once,”stress is not a competition”: everyone feels it differently and the important thing is how you feel. How you feel is valid and needs addressing.

From a personal point of view (and I expect for at least some others): stress is cumulative.... If you are in a position that stresses you and it is not addressed, it gets worse and worse and worse. I also think that current WFH makes the effects if stress worse: not being able to talk to people in person, possibly others not knowing about or ignoring stress in others, bringing over-work, stress and other negative emotions into the home (your “safe place). No real respite or escape....

I had a very stressful time since the first lockdown. It coincided with being promoted two levels (although without increased pay!!! Pay rises and promotions were frozen) onto a very novel, challenging, under resourced, behind, safety critical project. My various managers went off with or were close to going off with stress. I had no upwards support or even anyone to discuss things with properly. I worked and worked and worked, but without support felt a lot of anxiety (leading 20 odd engineers in a 8 figure project...). This combined with Covid / children... I eventually decided to resign, but my employer negotiated a sabbatical (so 12 months leave). I will see what happens over the next few months. To be honest I am bruised, battered, my self esteem is now low and ick.

We are all scared to say “I can’t cope, I am overwhelmed, I need help”, but there are so many of us out there. Much of it is invisible in the current WFH situation.

In retrospect I should have spoken out more, but my immediate reporting line was not there (two levels out with stress).

For what it’s worth, I was close to tears several times a day and I was also getting chest pains. I am a 46 year old woman. I am one of the least “emotional” people I know (I am very empathic and sympathetic, but I felt cry myself). This is so incredibly like me. I don’t think it is peri-menopause: I just think it is a combination of huge step up, lack of support, lack of human reassurance, isolation, being unable to separate work and life (due to WFH).

So definitely feel validated and ask for help. Escalate as needs be. flowers

LittleOverwhelmed Wed 18-Nov-20 09:45:03

I also think that there is something in “technology overload”. Before I took my sabbatical, I would have constant video conferences, 100 emails a day, Skypes and Teams messages.... And supposed to do bits of work on top. Things were hitting me from all angles. As well as being tied to a screen 10+ hours a day....

OP, I am not surprised that you are overloaded (considering your job) flowersflowersflowers

Pickypolly Wed 18-Nov-20 09:55:25

JMAngel nurse here too...when I said that stress at work had gone off the understand why as much as any other nurse.

My work sounds very very similar to yours, from the overwhelming responsibility, to the stupid teams meetings to the fucking micromanagement!!

Burnout is my dx by the CBT therapist that my manager sent me to after one day I just couldn’t go on. The noise in my head, the guilt, the heavy feelings in my chest became crushing.

So here I am. Burnt out. It’s taken over 20 years to arrive though.
I’ve a new job, I’ve taken the time off ...albeit very reluctantly because I’ve too much to do, but it’s worked. Feel better, calmer, more like myself again.
The thing that makes me feel better is that I can recognise it in my colleagues, it’s too much for them too, these by the way are strong, stoic, forceful human beings who can cope with whatever shite is thrown their way. But even they are struggling.
It’s not a competition, it’s recognition and acceptance that work is horrendously tough at the moment. It’s going to affect you isn’t it.

JMAngel1 Wed 18-Nov-20 10:08:58

That does sound tough Littleoverwhelmed. Glad you got yourself out of the situation. I feel like I’m at breaking point now. Luckily I only work part time these days - if I had to do it full time, I think I’d end up on a cardiac bed!

OP’s posts: |
JMAngel1 Wed 18-Nov-20 10:11:17

Pickpolly - glad you’ve turned it around.

OP’s posts: |
GiraffeNecked Wed 18-Nov-20 10:16:21

I had a year where everything came together and I couldn't cope. TBH the perimenopause made it much harder for me. HRT really helped.

DreadingSeason2020sFinale Wed 18-Nov-20 11:42:11

I've cried and screamed in frustration twice today.

I'm due to travel to my fathers funeral 200 miles away by train. My car window broke whilst dropping a key to MIL's.
No one has a garage to keep the car safe til we get back in 3 days. I called a farmer friend who has, half an hour before our train, me store it in a farm building. She gave me a ride home.

My train tickets are digital and on the phone.

My phone had fallen out of my pocket and was now left in my car (according to DH's find friends app.)

My friends number is on my phone.

With 10 minutes to spare we managed to get hold of her through FB messenger and she brought me the phone.

Covid or no I could have kissed her.

DreadingSeason2020sFinale Wed 18-Nov-20 11:44:13

At New Years Eve I will not be going to bed early after a cup of tea. I will be standing at my door watching that motherfucker of a year fuck right off.

Oh and my mum's cousin died of Covid this morning.

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