How to survive when you're being put under too much pressure

  March 26, 2017

There's nothing wrong with a little bit of pressure in life; in fact for most of us we wouldn't get anything done if there weren't some degree of pressure, whether that's the pressure to get that assignment done on time or the pressure to get a job in order to pay the rent. So on the whole pressure isn't in itself a bad thing. However there is most definitely such a thing as 'too much' pressure, and when you're a graduate it's easy to become overwhelmed by what's expected of you. And this pressure could be coming from a number of places; it could be work, family or even friends, and often you won't notice how it's impacting you until it's too late, so the first step is: look for the warning signs.

Naturally these will be different for everyone but some typical indicators will include feeling highly stressed most of the time, feeling very emotional (perhaps for no clear reason), not feeling confident in your ability to do what's asked of you, and generally feeling like you want to run away from it all. Sometimes this excessive pressure is just a short term thing, for example when you've got a super important project at work that needs to be completed by a certain time. In these cases you might know that once the project is complete, the pressure will start to ease, so you can just about deal with it until then. But how do you cope when there is no end in sight? When every day it feels like the world is being placed on your shoulders to carry?

The most important thing is to talk to someone about it; if it's a work issue then speak to your manager about how you feel, if it's family thing you might not want to talk directly to your family (because we all know how that can go) so speak to a friend about it. The next step is to try and find ways to reduce this pressure and this normally means saying no to something. Often the reason we start to feel this excess pressure is that we continue to take on things that we are not really equipped to handle. You might have said 'yeah sure' to that work assignment you didn't really have the time/knowledge/equipment to complete, or maybe you agreed to commitments with friends and family that you don't really want to be involved in. Whatever it is, the truth is that normally the reason we get into these situations is because we take on more than we can handle, so learning to say no and cutting back on what you offer is key.

In a work context this can be difficult; as a graduate you probably feel some pressure already to prove yourself to your employer, and might be tempted to say yes to everything that comes along. But normally this happens because you find yourself in a role you don't quite think you deserve, and this is where Happy Work is here to step in. We'll help identify a role that really fits who you are as a person, so hopefully you don't feel that unspoken pressure to push yourself to excess in order to prove you've got what it takes.