How to Reduce Stress at Work
Reducing Stress at Work is important for everyone.
Stress in the workplace is common. Whether you love or hate your job, you’re going to experience stressful situations during your day or week.
Stress is not always a bad thing. Some stress is actually good for you. It can help you stay alert, energetic, and more focused. It can also be a great motivator to take on new challenges. However, excess stress can interfere with your job performance and adversely affect other areas of your life if it’s not managed.
What Are the Signs of Stress in the Workplace?
Signs of stress can start gradually and go unnoticed until they reach the point where it starts to impact your physical and mental health. It’s important to recognize the signs that you’re overwhelmed by workplace conditions early so that you can manage your feelings before the negative effects interfere with your professional and personal life.
People who suffer from excess stress often feel anxious and depressed. They commonly experience insomnia, physical illnesses, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, and headaches. Workers who have too much stress often withdraw socially, find it more difficult to concentrate and feel apathetic.
To manage high stress levels, people may adopt unhealthy behaviours that could be related to food or some kind of substance abuse. Excess stress is also a primary contributor to many serious medical conditions and mental health issues.
What Causes Work Stress?
Today, it’s hard not to feel stressed in the workplace. An unstable global market is creating job uncertainty in almost every industry. Technology and automation also add to the insecurities as many people are now being replaced by robots and machinery.
In an attempt to increase profits, companies are inadvertently creating unhealthy work environments by expecting fewer staff members to do more work at a higher performance rate. So, workers today are expected to take on more duties with fewer resources and to still excel in their tasks.
Laptops, mobile phones, and constant notifications make it a lot more difficult to disconnect from work. People are spending more time working and less time relaxing. Handheld devices are creating dangerously high levels of stress in the workforce.
Other prominent stress-inducing factors include lack of control over your work environment, working overtime, and wage increases or freezes that do not keep up with the ever-increasing cost of living. Unruly coworkers or management also create excess stress in places of employment. In fact, workplace bullying has become such a prominent issue, that it’s estimated upwards of 50% of the workforce has experienced some form of bullying at their job.
Coping with stress in the workplace is vital for good physical and emotional health. Too much stress is a primary cause of many mental and physical health conditions.
Some steps you can implement to manage your workplace stress levels include:
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
A healthy diet and regular exercise routine are proven to reduce stress levels. Eating natural foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains will fuel your body with much-needed nutrients. If you’re finding it difficult to cope with your workplace stress, avoid processed foods, caffeine, refined sugars, preservatives, and trans fats.
Regular exercise increases your output of endorphins or “happy” promoting hormones. To add more movement to your day, join a fitness class, go for walks during your workday, take the stairs, and schedule workout dates with a friend or colleague.
Set Realistic Expectations
It’s far too easy to place high expectations on ourselves, especially when the work environment demands more for less. But setting your own expectations too high will contribute to feeling stressed in the workplace. You can reduce your stress by setting realistic goals and expectations on what you can and cannot do.
Disconnect from Work
Today’s technology makes it too easy to be in contact with colleagues, management, and clientele anytime, even during non-working hours. Taking breaks during the day is essential to lowering your stress levels. Once your workday is done, disconnect from the emails, laptops, texts, and websites.
Talk About Stress
Talk about your feelings or workplace issues with close friends, family members, and trusted colleagues. Talking to others is a good way to reduce your stress level while gaining support from others.
If the situation cannot be resolved by talking to coworkers, talk to your manager. It is possible that management can make changes in the workplace to help overworked staff feel good. They can also implement strategies to create a more respectful and inclusive environment.
Request a Transfer or Relocation
If the workplace issues cannot be resolved, as sometimes they cannot, ask your manager if you can move to another work area. If that is not feasible, you might have to consider requesting a transfer to another department. Change is a good way to rid yourself of the negative influences of your current work environment.
If you cannot be transferred within the company, you might want to consider changing jobs entirely. If you have exhausted all your options to reduce your stress at your current workplace, look into other companies in your field or an area you’re passionate about. A fresh work environment can revive the love you have for your working life.
Taking care of yourself is essential to maintaining a happier, healthier, stress-free life. Treat yourself to a day at the spa, an evening out with friends, or a vacation. Self-care plays a vital role in maintaining good physical and emotional health.
Take Time Off
If the stress in your workplace becomes unbearable, consider taking time off. Take a vacation, request a leave, or, in some instances, you might have to consider going on stress leave. Your body is telling you that you need a break. Listen to it. With time off, you can recharge your mind and body. From a less stressed point of view, you can focus on the best steps forward.
Stress in the workplace is a common issue that can have adverse effects on your mental, physical, and emotional health. Taking a proactive approach is a vital step toward controlling stress before it controls you.