It is to be expected to experience stress at work. However, it is when stress at work is chronic that it can hamper your productivity and have a negative impact on your physical and emotional health. Unfortunately, you can’t control the stressful situations that you are faced with at work, but you can control how you respond to them.
What causes work stress?
While every job is different, and will have stressors peculiar to it, the most common workplace stressors include:
- A lack of social support.
- An excessive workload.
- A low salary.
- Not having adequate resources to perform your job optimally.
- Unclear performance expectations.
- Work that is neither engaging nor challenging.
- Conflicting demands.
- Having little to no control over job related decisions.
- Few opportunities to grow or advance within the workplace.
What can I do to Manage Work Stress?
There are a number of small changes that can be made that can drastically improve how you cope with stress at work, including, but not limited to the following six tips
- Look for warning signs of excessive work stress.
Signs of excessive work stress include fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, irritability, loss of interest in work, trouble with concentrating, and chronic headaches among others.
- Track your stressors.
Keep a journal over a month recording what situations triggered the most stress for you, and what your reaction was. Taking notes will help you to better understand what situations at work make you stressed and how you instinctively cope with them.
- Cultivate healthy responses to work stress.
Instead of trying to numb stress with toxins like junk food or alcohol, do your utmost to combat stress with healthier choices. Make time everyday to do something that makes you happy. Exercise and stretching can do wonders for relieving stress. And very importantly, make sure that you get enough good quality sleep every night. These few lifestyle choices can help tremendously when responding to work related stress.
- Consult your supervisor
If you feel like you can’t perform your best at work, have an open and honest conversation with your supervisor. Be prepared to provide solutions for the stressors you’ve identified, so that you can start to perform at your best at work.
- Establish clear boundaries at work
Due to today’s digital world it is easy for your work and home lives to become enmeshed. Create clear boundaries for yourself, such as not answering the phone while eating, or not checking your emails before and after a certain time. By doing this, you will allow yourself time to unwind and spend quality time with yourself, your friends or your family; thus reducing the potential for stress.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you are experiencing severe work stress, consult a psychologist who can support you through this time. A psychologist can give you the tools that you need to cope with stress in a healthy manner and teach you how to prevent becoming overwhelmed by stress at work in the future.