How a Stress Diary can benefit you in your career

We probably all have passed through stressful times that are directly related to our career at least once – no matter if it’s during the job hunt and having to deal with rejections, or already working at our dream job but facing almost impossible tasks that make us feel lost.

As stress is an inevitable part of our life, how can we avoid that it takes over too much of our energy? In this article, we’ll share with you an effective way to deal with stress and build a sustainable and long-lasting career.

What is a Stress Diary?

A Stress Diary is a document or notebook where you write down all the moments you’re feeling stressed

This allows you to track your stress levels over a period of time, understand the causes of those stress levels, and make a strategy on how to avoid it in the future.

Why is this important? To control our mental health, we need to first understand the root cause of stress in our professional life. In other words, we need to become a professional stress manager.

So what are the main benefits you will gain out of keeping a Stress Diary?

  • You will be able to fully understand what situations cause stress
  • You can track the symptoms when you experience stress
  • You can create strategies on how to deal in similar situations in the future
  • You can use this information to prevent stress in the future

How should you design your Stress Diary?

It depends on your personal preferences: Some people like having a very detailed documentation while some others prefer to only note down the most basic information. 

To start, we wanted to give you the must-have information to include in your personal Stress Diary so you can make the best use out of it. 

The timing

This refers to the time you felt stress. To be able to truly understand your findings also at a later point in time, make sure to add the specific day and hour it occurred.

The level of stress

Define the level of stress you felt on a scale. We recommend using a scale of 1-6, and make sure to clearly define what each of these levels means.

Your symptoms

As if you were a doctor, note down the specific symptoms you were feeling that made you realize you are feeling stressed.

The situation

Describe as detailed as possible the situation that caused stress. While doing that also try to reflect on what lead up to this situation (maybe something you wanted to say to your manager when he/she gave you a big task and you couldn’t say no).

Your current reaction

How did you act during the stressful situation? Did you start to talk fast or got visibly mad? This will be important to note as it will help you get a clear picture on your normal reactions towards stress

Future actions

Make sure to think about what you could do in the future to avoid such a situation. Define clear actions that could potentially help.

How should you use your Stress Diary?

Now that you designed your Stress Diary, it’s time to start using it. 

In the beginning it will be all about collecting data, so every time you realize you are feeling stressed, remember to open your Stress Diary and start writing. 

After some weeks of data collection, you can analyze all the data you have gathered and start to search for patterns. If you can’t seem to find patterns, a good tip is to discuss your diary with friends or professionals (e.g. doctors or coaches) that can help you get a different perspective. 

After this, you can start creating goals and habits that will allow you to avoid stressful situations or be able to deal with them in a less draining way.

Conclusion: A Stress Diary for your career 

A Stress Diary can be an effective way to deal with stress that inevitably happens when building our career. 

Thus, we hope this article helps you in being able to deal with future stress situations and building a long-lasting career.

If you know someone for whom this information can be helpful as well, feel free to share!

Laura Villafuerte

Laura Villafuerte

HR expert & Career Coach for international professionals in Germany.