Stress management is extremely important for both physical and mental health. One of the biggest sources of stress is usually work related.
Work stress can be cause by many different things:
Being underpaid. It is hard to manage stress when you do not know how you will afford your next bill.
You are overwhelmed or have unclear duties. Too big a workload can be very stressful; as can inconsistent job descriptions.
Feeling stuck. Maybe there is not much room to advance, or you have no say in your assigned projects. These can make you feel stuck and cause a lot of stress.
Conflict with coworkers. Having bad blood between yourself and your colleagues is a huge stress trigger. If you do not get along with the people you work with, it is next to impossible to keep working with them.
Struggling with perfectionism. Sometimes being a perfectionist only causes undue stress on your part.
All of these are very valid stress triggers.
How can you avoid these and other causes? Below are several helpful ways to practice stress management at work.
The first thing to know is how to recognize the ways your personality and past experiences affect your reactions to stress triggers. Take some time for self reflection, and take note of what situations trigger you the most and how you react to them. Make a journal for a few weeks to record this. Doing this will help you on your way to creating the right stress management plan for you.
Some basic stress management techniques to try at work are:
Take a deep breath.
This will give you a moment to cool off and collect yourself. Performing an action like this rather than knee jerk reacting to a situation is a much better response. Act instead of reacting.
Organize your station and remove distractions.
Having a messy work space can be a big contributor to stress. Organize the clutter and get rid of anything that can cause unnecessary distractions. This will make it much easier to be successful and productive.
Prioritize and stick to a schedule.
Being scattered and not knowing when to do what can be very stressful. Keep a detailed calendar and notes on what you need to do, and when it should be completed. Be sure that you are getting enough rest and food to function at your peak.
See the big picture.
When you focus on one specific thing for too long, it can make it seem much more complicated than it really is. Take a step back and look at it from an objective point of view. This makes it much easier to sort things to do into small steps and set realistic goals for yourself.
If there is anything that will make you more susceptible to stress, it is discomfort. Make sure you have a comfortable work environment. Ergonomic chairs and equipment are great additions to any job and will help you focus better whatever you do. It is important to listen to the signals your body sends you when it comes to stress management. If you are comfortable, you know that something else is causing that ache you are feeling.
Ask for help if you need it.
Needing help does not make you a failure. You can be confident in your abilities, as well as ask for help when you need to. Everyone needs help sometimes, and it is always better to ask for it than to really fail trying to do it all yourself. Sometimes all you need is a pair of fresh eyes to show you something you may be missing.
Demonstrate healthy responses.
Rather than going home and eating a bunch of comfort food, consider doing a quick jog around the block. Exercise is a great release of stress, and is good for your physical health. Another healthy form of stress management is to learn proper communication skills. This will help you express any issues with your fellow coworkers and management.
Stress can create several physical and mental issues ranging from inconvenient to life threatening.
Practicing stress management can help you avoid these risks:
- Stomach pain/nausea/heartburn
- Weight fluctuation
- Heart disease
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping/fatigue
- Metabolic syndrome
- Headaches/brain damage
- High blood pressure
- Lack of focus
- Hair loss
- Tooth grinding