Esther Crawford, a former director at Twitter (now X), recently shared her experience about working in a stressful work environment. In a 2,400-word post on the social media platform, Esther opened up about working for the company immediately after Elon Musk’s controversial takeover. She went into great detail about working around the clock and managing workplace stress, and a photo of her sleeping on the office floor even went viral.
Esther explained that, after Musk’s purchase, Twitter became both mentally and physically demanding for employees. Healthy debate was replaced by a default response of, “No, that can’t be done,” or, “Another team owns that, so don’t touch it.” Just talking to customers, she wrote, would turn into a turf war and create deadlocks between factions.
Esther wrote that she admired Musk’s accomplishments with Tesla and SpaceX. But she also acknowledged his personality quirks and unpredictable mood shifts. And despite the risks, Esther openly expressed her opinions and pushed back, refusing to fear potential repercussions. She also used her emotional intelligence to communicate with Musk and demand a less-toxic workplace culture.
The takeaway from Esther’s experience is the importance of building resilience as a coping mechanism for workplace stress. This article looks at some warning signs of work stress and delves into the best stress management techniques.
What Are the Warning Signs of Workplace Stress?
Most people experiencing work stress don’t always know it or show visible signs. However, you might notice a few changes that could mean you have job stress. These include:
- Changes in behavior and mood: If you notice yourself becoming irritable, impatient, or frequently snapping at colleagues, it could be a sign of workplace stress. Stress can affect your emotional state, leading to mood swings and a shorter temper.
- Physical health issues: Stress can take a toll on your physical well-being. Look for symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, digestive problems, or difficulty sleeping. Feeling constantly fatigued, or experiencing unexplained aches and pains, may also indicate stress.
- A decline in work performance: High-stress levels can impact your ability to perform well at work. If you find it harder to concentrate, make decisions, or stay organized, it could be due to workplace stress. Missing deadlines, making more mistakes, or experiencing a general decline in productivity are signs to watch for.
- Emotional distress: Pay attention to your emotional state. Excessive stress can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, anxiety, or constant worrying. If you find yourself experiencing frequent bouts of sadness, tearfulness, or a loss of motivation, it may be related to stress at work.
Work Is Stressing Me Out, What Can I Do?
While there are many strategies you can use to relieve work-related stress, a great way to start is by practicing mindfulness—the practice of gently, continually focusing awareness of the present moment. Here are some excellent mindfulness practices you can use to reduce stress at work.
Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to take care of your physical and mental health. In fact, several studies have associated poor nutrition with anxiety and depression.
Nourishing foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains provide essential nutrients that can help keep your mind sharp and your mood balanced.
Mindful communication played a crucial role in Esther’s ability to challenge Elon Musk effectively while working for him. She didn’t shy away from offering constructive criticism or pushing back on ideas she disagreed with. This approach demonstrated her authenticity and commitment to honest communication.
Talk to your superiors about it if you feel overwhelmed by the long hours or heavy workloads. They could reduce your workload or give you more time to complete your assignments. After all, employees’ good mental health is in the organization’s best interests.
Enhance Your Physical Health Through Desk Yoga and Stretching
Incorporating desk yoga and other relaxation techniques into your daily routine can significantly boost your stress management efforts. Stretching increases flexibility and promotes emotional well-being.
Therefore, taking even a few minutes to stretch can help you release built-up tension, boost circulation, and prevent burnout, right at your desk.
You can also do this simple exercise at the end of the day to help you manage the stress you accumulated at work.
Another great way to manage stress is by having clear boundaries between your work and home life, especially if you’re working remotely.
Let family members know your work hours and create a dedicated workspace. When the workday ends, switch off mentally too. Prioritize personal time for relaxation and hobbies.
Managing stress becomes a breeze when you strike a balance. Remember, taking care of yourself benefits both your work and home life.
Talking to a Mental Health Provider About Stress Management
As we’ve established, people cope with stress differently. It’s important to talk to a professional to find the most suitable methods for you.
Organizations with employee assistance programs often have a licensed mental health provider to help employees manage workplace stress. You can also find a mental health provider outside work and let them help you create a stress reduction plan.
Remember, seeking help isn’t a weakness — it’s a strength that allows you to take control of your mental well-being!
Lessons We Can Learn From Esther Crawford’s Time at Twitter
Esther Crawford’s tweets give us a few practical lessons we can use to manage stress at work. While Twitter might have been a particularly stressful company to work for during the Musk transition, Esther maintained her physical and emotional health.
Let’s look at what we can take away from her story:
- Be aware of the signs of stress: Esther described feeling overwhelmed, demoralized, and burned out by her experience at Twitter. These are all signs of work-related stress. If you are feeling these things, it is important to take steps to address the stress before it gets worse.
- Talk to someone you trust: Esther mentions that she felt like she couldn’t talk to anyone at Twitter about her concerns, as she felt like she would be punished for speaking out. If you are feeling like you can’t talk to anyone at work about your stress, it is important to find someone outside of work to confide in.
- Have your limits: In her tweet, Esther explains that she decided to speak out against some of the ridiculous new changes that were being imposed on Twitter employees. If you’re not comfortable with a new change at work, raise your concerns with your superiors. Otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up for chronic stress.
- Mental health is important at the workplace: Based on what Esther wrote, Twitter has lost many valuable employees to job stress. If the company had addressed their concerns through an employee assistance program, it would have saved the resources it spent handling lawsuits and hiring new staff.
Start Managing Workplace Stress Effectively Today
The importance of managing workplace stress cannot be overstated. With alarming rates of workplace suicide and other stress-related incidents, it’s crucial to avoid stress triggers and maintain your mental well-being.
Mindfulness offers a powerful solution, helping individuals build resilience, cope with challenges, and foster healthier workplace environments.
Remember: Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you or someone you know struggles with workplace stress, don’t hesitate to reach out for support.
The My Health My Resources ICare Hotline in Fort Worth is staffed 24 hours a day throughout the year. Call or text 800-866-2465. You can access phone numbers for substance abuse, domestic violence, rape crisis, and more at this link. Let’s work together to create a safer, more mindful workplace for everyone.