Workplace stress can have a major impact on your life – but there are some simple things you can start putting into action, from working out to creating work boundaries.
Stress and anxiety may not be strange or new to you. In fact, by and large, everyone feels stressed and overwhelmed at some point in their lives. After all, it’s a normal biological reaction to a potentially dangerous situation, like the loss of a job or an impending diagnosis. Common causes of stress include financial concerns, moving, getting married, and generally any major life changes.
Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest contributors to stress and anxiety is work. According to The American Institute of Stress, 40% of workers reported that their jobs were very or extremely stressful, with 25% viewing their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.
So, yes, stress, and even anxiety, are a normal part of life for many people. But they become a problem when that stress and anxiety become so persistent and excessive that they begin to spiral out of control, negatively impacting your life both at work and at home.
Some signs that you might need help include sleepless nights, exhaustion, excessive worry, poor concentration, and irritability. If you start feeling like your stress and/or anxiety are starting to overwhelm you, then you may benefit from some professional assistance, either online or in person.
In the meantime, there are some independent coping mechanisms that you can start working on today, either by yourself, with family and friends, or with a professional counsellor, which we’ll outline below.
12 Causes of Workplace Stress
• Poor remunerations
• Excessive workloads
• Long hours
• Lack of opportunities for growth
• Lack of support
• Lack of control or autonomy
• Changes within the organisation
• Job insecurity
• Weak or ineffective management
• Poor working relationships
• Boring, meaningless, or unsatisfying work
• Lack of communication or feedback
The list goes on…
If unchecked, workplace anxiety can take a toll on your health and general productivity. A stressful environment may cause you to experience problems such as short temper, fatigue (usually the result of having difficulty sleeping), muscular tension, and even high blood pressure. If you recognise any of these symptoms in yourself, then it’s probably time for you to nip your workplace stress in the bud, and you can start by applying the following tried-and-tested methods for relieving stress at work.
5 Ways to Manage Your Stress and Anxiety at Work
Identify your stressors
The first step to fighting stress is learning to understand what it is that is stressing you out. This can be done by keeping a log of the situations that cause you stress. By tracking your day-to-day thoughts and experiences in a journal, you’ll be able to quickly and easily identify your stressors – and responses. This will eventually help you to discern a pattern, which, in turn, will help you learn to anticipate, manage, and even avoid your stressors.
That’s right. Instead of fighting stress with junk or alcohol, you should probably consider hitting the gym or getting your heart rate up. Whenever your tension rises, you should bust it out with some routine physical activity, as exercise produces endorphins – a ‘feel-good’ chemical that helps to foster relaxation. Jogging, skipping a rope, and quick yoga sessions can work wonders on your general wellbeing, and improve your quality of life, both mentally and physically.
Create Work Boundaries
Stress emanates from all spheres of life. In today’s technological world, it can be hard to disconnect. But, no matter how busy your work life is or how difficult or even impossible it may seem to do so, it’s crucial that you schedule downtime for each and every day. During this allocated time, be sure to rest, restore, and unplug.
Ensure that you communicate your boundaries to your team, so as to set yourself up for the best chance of success. By allocating time away from your email and other distractions, you’re not only allowing your brain to rest, but you’re also opening up the doors to being more creative, whilst being more decidedly present. Trust us when we say that sticking to this principle will work wonders on your stress levels.
Time to relax
Taking some time off to relax can be quite therapeutic. How about a few moments of deep breaths and meditation? The great thing about meditation is that it can be done from anywhere – even your place of work. On top of its stress-relieving properties, meditation also has the benefit of boosting focus, energy, and productivity. And did we mention that it doesn’t, contrary to popular belief, actually require much time? Studies show that 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation per day can reap significant benefits. So next time you’re taking a coffee break or enjoying your lunch, take some time out to breathe in deeply and feel that sense of calm, peace, and balance that you’ve been craving.
There’s no better way to beat stress than through open communication, whether that be with your family, friends, or counsellor. When people get stressed out by work, they tend to self-isolate, which is actually the opposite of what they should be doing. Next time you’re feeling the workplace stress creep in, consider consulting a trusted colleague, or even your boss. It can definitely be scary to open up, but by starting a dialogue, you open up the opportunity to create a stress-free work environment that’ll benefit not only you, but potentially many, many others. If none of these options seem available to you, consider getting professional assistance from a team of qualified doctors on how to manage stress and anxiety.