As the years go by, technology continues to evolve, and as we rely more and more on smart devices and the online space, there becomes greater risks of cyberattacks. If you work as a cybersecurity professional, then you are fighting the good fight, but it isn’t always easy. The job is unpredictable, and it requires odd hours and constant vigilance. The gig can be so tough that there is now a movement called “the great resignation,” where employees are prioritizing their mental health and personal lives and finding jobs that aren’t quite as stressful.
However, you can enjoy success as a cybersecurity professional without burning out or feeling constant stress. You just need to set boundaries and practice self-care. Let’s talk about how you can strike a healthy balance and be happier at work.
Know That You Are Not Alone
If you are a cybersecurity professional and you are feeling stressed at work, then the first step is to realize that you are not alone. Technology is changing at a rapid pace, and attackers are always looking for new ways to stir the pot, so you have your hands full. The role requires great attention to detail, constant problem solving, and the ability to explain complex concepts in plain language so senior management understand the threats. It is a lot to do day after day.
On top of that, a breach or zero-day attack can happen at any moment, so you may constantly need to be on call and ready to act. When a new product is introduced, and there is a surprise attack, it can be jarring, and the repair work necessary to bring your company back from the brink can be downright exhausting.
That is why a reported 45% of cybersecurity pros are considering quitting the industry due to anxiety and stressful job expectations. There are many reasons, from the work hours, to the stress that C-suite executives exert to ensure that the company doesn’t experience a breach. Plus, knowledgeable cybersecurity professionals know that with artificial intelligence and new tech on the horizon, the job will become even more difficult. While you likely love your job, the anxiety can sometimes be too much, so you need to set boundaries.
Recognize Burnout, and Set Boundaries
The first step to setting a boundary is to understand when you are experiencing burnout, so it doesn’t get out of hand. If you are working long hours every day with little to no sleep, and you wake up feeling exhausted while dreading the idea of going to the office, then you likely need a change. If the company is expecting too much out of you, then you need to define and set healthy boundaries. We are not supposed to work 80 hours a week and be exhausted all of the time, so you need to make an adjustment immediately.
Talk to your supervisor and honestly discuss what you are feeling, and ask for help. Express your need for set hours, and stick to them. If you work from home, then you may need to set your own boundaries and set an alarm, so you ensure that you are leaving your desk at the same time every day. Once your employer understands that you will be away from your computer at a certain point, they should know not to call you. Likewise, if you know that you are not on call after that time, then leave your work phone on the desk and go enjoy some time with your family.
Once you have boundaries in place, see if the change helps you to feel better. If you are still constantly worrying about work, or you think that you may have a legitimate mental health issue, then you need to seek professional help. Sometimes, we may think that journaling or other self-care measures will make us feel better, but if you take too long to get the help that you need, then your condition could quickly get worse. If you are unable to find or afford the help that you need, then talk to your employer to see if there is anything they can offer.
Make The Most of Your Free Time
If your job truly requires you to be on call beyond your scheduled shift, then you need to make the most out of your free time, so you are in a better mental and physical place when you face the hectic work. When you are not on call, then spend that time with your family while doing things that you enjoy and put your mind at ease. That way, you will feel naturally relaxed and not so worried when work gets busy again.
Another idea is to spend time engaging in activities that are meant to promote relaxation, like yoga or meditation. The idea of these activities is to slow your breathing and clear your mind so you can put your problems to rest. Even regular exercise, like running, and lifting weights, can help you to feel better and provide a natural energy boost for the day.
You should also make it a habit to get good quality sleep whenever you can. Ideally, you are supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night so your body can heal, and you can wake up feeling mentally refreshed. If that routine isn’t possible, then fit in power naps and rest your eyes, when possible. When you lie down, avoid looking at your phone as the blue light it emits can inhibit your circadian rhythm and prohibit you from falling asleep.
As you can see, there are different tactics that you can try to maintain your boundaries and feel better overall. Consider these tips, and you can enjoy your cybersecurity career again.
About the Author:
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern United States. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.