Stress in the workplace is something we have all experienced, especially now that we have been working remotely or going into our workplace with so any precautions. Not all stress is necessarily a bad thing. Stress can drive you to meet a goal or take on a new challenge. But excessive stress can negatively impact your overall health and productivity in the workplace, especially in times of COVID-19.
According to the World Health Organization the most common causes of workplace stress include:
- Pressure to work at optimum levels—all the time without recognition!
- Not earning enough
- More overtime due to staff cutbacks
- Fear of being laid off
- Being micromanaged
- Pressure to perform to meet increasing expectations but with no increase in job satisfaction
Sometimes we don’t recognize when stress is hindering us. So ask yourself this… is my job interfering with my work performance, health, or personal life? It is also helpful to pay attention to warning signs including feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed, having problems sleeping, fatigue, consistent headaches and stomach discomfort.
No matter what you do for a living, or how stressful your job is, there are plenty of strategies you can use to reduce your overall stress levels and regain a sense of control at work. Using these strategies consistently can help you stay happier and healthier!
First, focus on yourself:
- Shift how you think about stress. By changing the meaning or the control you give to your stress symptoms, you’ll change the way your body reacts. By choosing a different mindset, you can switch from paralysis to action.
- Track your triggers. Write down the situations that cause the most stress and how you responded including your feelings, your thoughts, who or what was involved, etc. This can help you identify patterns as well as your reactions so you can take control back.
- Reduce your stress by helping others but also set boundaries. Studies indicate that one of the best ways to reduce stress is to focus on others. To use this strategy in the workplace, seek out opportunities to mentor. But also be mindful of setting boundaries for yourself. That can include not checking email after a certain hour, setting aside specific blocks of time to check social media, and being able to say no, etc.
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Other important strategies that you can apply immediately:
- Start conversations on a positive note. When you begin a conversation with something positive, you improve the chances the other person will respond with something positive, too.
- Turn off news or social media alerts. In a world so saturated with news on various platforms it can become stressful keeping up with it all. This is an easy, but effective, way to reduce stress and more importantly take control of what you expose yourself to.
- Focus on your “Immediate step.” To reduce the stress caused by feeling stuck at work, find the smallest meaningful action you can take immediately to solve a problem.
- Take time to recharge your batteries. That could involve taking a 10 minute walk alone, or meeting a colleague for a quick coffee or tea. Or maybe taking an exercise class during your lunch hour to release the stress.
- Seek support. It is so easy to just deal with stress on our own. But having support to lean on can make all the difference. Do not be ashamed or afraid to seek help.