Simple Ways To Deal With Stress At Work
Research has indicated that the percentage of Americans who are stressed at work is highand its only getting higher. According to a survey of more than 2,000 full-time U.S. employees, ages 18-79, more than half of employees find themselves stressed during at least 60 percent of the workweek.
Work stress has significant health consequences that range from relatively benign to potentially serious .
While stress at work is common, finding a low-stress job is hard . A more realistic approach is to adopt effective coping strategies to reduce stress at your current job. Here are some stress management techniques you can try if you are finding it hard to cope with work stress
Take Care Of Yourself
Setting aside time for self-care is a must if you regularly find yourself feeling overwhelmed by work. This means prioritizing sleep, setting aside time for fun, and making sure youre eating throughout the day.
Feel like you dont have the time? Keep in mind that youll likely be able to tackle work issues more effectively when your core needs are being met.
Employees Need Sufficient Physical Space To Do Their Jobs
Employees working in a comfortable space feel more in control of their situation, thus reducing work related stress. It is important that they have enough space to easily complete their assignments, especially in times of high stress.
Do This: Make it possible for each employee to have a space of their own that is adequate for them to do their work. Allow them to make the space their own so they feel comfortable there.
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How To Cope With Stress At Work
You don’t need to cope with stress at work alone. Here are some general ideas you can try to help you manage:
- Understand more about stress. Recognising the signs of stress and learning about the causes of stress is good place to start.
- Figure out what you find stressful and helpful. You could make a Wellness Action Plan to map out what causes you stress and what keeps you well. Once you know what’s best, talk to your employer. They may be able to make some changes to help you.
- Learn different coping techniques. Everyone deals with stress differently, so take time to find methods that work for you. Use them as soon as you start to feel pressure building. Check out the guides from the Stress Management Society for ideas.
- Try practising mindfulness. This practice is about focusing on the here and now. It might help you to find calmness and clarity to respond to stressful situations. See our pages on mindfulness to learn more.
- Look after your physical health. Eat well and try a gentle activity like going for a walk or doing a chair-based exercise. Our pages on physical activity and food and mood have more details on how this can help your mental health.
“I try to keep each task short and clear, take breaks when getting tired and be polite, honest and empathic with the people I work with.”
What Is Stress How To Reduce Stress At Work
Stress is defined as a state of being emotionally or mentally strained or tensed due to demanding or adverse circumstances.
People experience stress differently.
For some people, stress makes them sick.
Some other people become incapable of handling situations they were capable of handling before they got stressed.
Stress can either be long-termed or short-termed.
Sadly you cannot avoid stress however, it is possible to reduce stress.
Before we go any further in seeing how to reduce stress, lets see some of the symptoms of stress.
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Employees Want And Need Job Security
Employees face growing job insecurity. Downsizing, layoffs, and budget cuts are increasingly common. The result of this uncertainty is stress.
Do This: Give your employees opportunities to expand their skills in order to increase their value to the organization. But no matter what, communicate with your employees. Let them know about changes that may be taking place. Even if you dont know all the answers, be honest and upfront and work with them the best you can.
Programs Or Tools Should Be Made Available To Help Employees Manage Stress
Although the first line of defense against job-related stress should be modifying the work environment, educating employees on the symptoms, causes, and treatments for stress can also be of great benefit.
Do This: Offer a stress management program to help your employees learn the skills and tools they need to reduce stress. These techniques may include time management, deep breathing, muscle relaxation, assertiveness training, and changing negative self-talk.
Stress management training can be provided by EAP professionals or by outside experts and can be integrated into existing training meetings.
Physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce stress. You could encourage employees to increase their physical activity by starting a walking club, providing employee discounts to health clubs, or bringing in fitness professionals for guest classes.
Discussion groups where employees can share techniques with each other are helpful. For example, groups that focus on coping with domestic stress .
Remember, unless the root causes of stress in the organization are addressed, the effects of stress reduction techniques will be short lived.
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Bonus: Kick Your Bad Habits
Managing stress at work is partially about your mindset. Your outlook can have a huge impact on your ability to cope with everyday stressors. Keep them in check so they dont become major sources of negative stress. Here are a few tips to change your mindset by break the bad habits that are holding you back:
- Stay positive.
- One way to do this is to express gratitude. Its surprising how much different your outlook is when you make a point to recognize the people and things in your life that youre lucky to have.
Time Management Tips For Reducing Stress At Work
- Create a balanced schedule. Analyze your schedule, your responsibilities and your daily tasks. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Try to find a balance between work and family, social activities and lonely activities, daily responsibilities and downtime.
- Avoid overburdening yourself. Too often, we underestimate how long it will take. If you have too much on your plate, distinguish between “shoulds” and “musts.” Place tasks that are not really necessary at the bottom of the list or delete them altogether.
- If you’re a commuter, try to leave earlier in the morning. A mere 10-15 minutes can be the difference between frantically rushing to your desk and having time to ease into the day. Don’t increase your stress levels by running late.
- Plan regular breaks. Take short breaks throughout the day to go for a walk or to sit back and clear your head. Also, try to get away from your desk or work for lunch.
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Hone Your Listening Skills
When it comes to effective conflict resolution, how effectively we listen is at least as important as how effectively we express ourselves. Its vital to understand the other persons perspective, rather than just our own if we are to come to a resolution. In fact, just helping the other person feel heard and understood can sometimes go a long way toward the resolution of a conflict. Good listening also helps for you to be able to bridge the gap between the two of you, understand where the disconnect lies, etc.
Take The Team Out On Company Offsites
If you really want to give your employees a break, take them somewhere fun to get their minds off workplace stress and bond with each other. The possibilities are endless: you could go to a vineyard, grab a drink together at the local pub, check out a baseball game, or have a picnic in the park.
The activity you choose isnt important. Whats more important is the spirit of getting out to do something fun together, to take away from the day-to-day stress at work. Not only will it help reduce workplace stress, it will also help your employees build personal connections and work better together as a team.
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Stay Off Of Social Media As Much As Possible During Work
Constant connection and the interruption of technology can increase your stress levels.
Social media, for example, can make you aware of stressful events happening to other people or in other places. They might not have any bearing on your life, but you allow yourself to feel stressed about them anyway. Itâs called the cost of caring.
As an interruption, social media and text messages can also add to stress. University of California Irvine found that employees who received a lot of emails were more stressed. They stayed in a âhigh alertâ mode all the time. Being constantly connected and going back and forth in response on social media or via text messages does the same thing. Additionally, it distracts you and slows you down and you end up feeling stress as you rush to catch up with the work you didnât do because you were busy on your phone.
Stay off social media and mobile devices as much as possible when on the job. The last thing you need is drama via social media or text messaging while youâre trying to get your work done.
Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace
Emotional intelligence in the workplace has four main components:
- Self-awareness: The ability to recognize your emotions and their effects while using gut instinct as a guide to your decisions.
- Self-management: the ability to control your emotions and behavior and to adapt to changing circumstances.
- Social awareness: The ability to feel, understand and respond to the emotions of others and to feel socially comfortable.
- Relationship management: The ability to inspire, influence and connect with others and manage conflicts.
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Breathe In Breathe Out
Wondering how to de-stress at work?
Stress from tight deadlines and high stakes can cause us to lose focus.
If we let stress get the best of us, it can reduce our unicorn ideas to donkey fodder.
You can calm your mind and reduce anxiety in a matter of minutes with a handful of proven techniques to reduce stress.
Here, 15 ways to de-stress at work instantly.
Relaxation And Distraction Techniques
When you are in a stressful state, the first goal should be to relax. You can train your body to do so in stressful situations.
When you are stressed, you have shallow breathing, stretched and tensed muscles, and a high blood flow rate. To cope with this condition, keep your mind and body relaxed, so you can act and think in a more congruent manner.
Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, positive imagery, and yoga are the easiest techniques to practice. These techniques are helpful and proven effective in dealing with physical and psychological stress symptoms.
As you know, you can’t be stressed and relaxed simultaneously, and these techniques work on this principle. You can understand and practice taking help from various websites like Very Well Mind and WebMD.
Moreover, distraction techniques like leaving the stressful situation temporarily, doing an ice breaking activity, or indulging in some joyful activity will also reduce your stress.
Take time out of your daily routine to practice these techniques. You can also practice some methods, like deep breathing, while in a stressful situation. Always keep a to-do list app like Todoist to remind yourself of essential tasks. Trying to remember everything manually can cause stress too.
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Offer Training On How To Reduce Workplace Stress For Employees
Training is an important step in reducing workplace stress for employees. Employees should be trained on how they can avoid unnecessary stress. For taking care of themselves, and minimizing the causes of workplace stress in their routine. Training is typically delivered in teams, but it is also possible to provide one-on-one training. So, staff can get help specifically with what they need. The goal is to equip the staff with the knowledge needed to feel confident and prepared to work effectively. While avoiding any unnecessary stress or anxiety.
There are many different ways that you can offer staff training on how to reduce workplace stress for employees. You could organize workshops, stress counseling sessions, offer presentations at meetings, or create a training manual.
Practice An Effective Management Style How To Reduce Stress At Work
Management style can cause stress if it is not healthy.
Thus, you have to ensure that your management style is the sort that will promote better working conditions.
In a situation where you have managers, you have to ensure that their management style is also good.
When you do this, your employees will be less stressed and become more productive.
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Understand How Thoughts And Behaviors Are Linked
Cognitive behavior therapists like Aaron Beck believe that an upsetting situation isn’t the cause of stress, but how we respond. The thoughts create feelings and behaviors.
These thoughts might be harmful and contain various cognitive distortions. Your behavior might improve as a result of changing your thoughts.
For example, if you are behind on a deadline, it might affect your whole work. You might worry that your boss might think you are worthless or something negative like that. These thoughts contain some cognitive distortions like mind reading, labeling, and all or none thinking.
By thinking this way, you might never finish the work, ending up more burdened. You can fill out thought diaries, such as CBT Thought Diary, or using this template, by describing the situation, how you felt, and what you thought, as well as how you coped with it. This exercise will help record your cognitive distortions.
Allow For Flexible Hours And Remote Working
You hired your employees because you have confidence in their ability to do their jobs well and in a timely mannerso let them prove it. Your office shouldnt feel like a cell, but rather a place that facilitates getting a job done. Let your employees know that their job is defined by the quality and timeliness of their work, not when they punch the clock.
Allow your employees to work remotely, and give flexibility for start and end times. This freedom is great for office morale, and the policy shows employees that you trust them enough not to babysit.
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How Can We Handle Stress In Healthy Ways
Stress serves an important purposeit enables us to respond quickly to threats and avoid danger. However, lengthy exposure to stress may lead to mental health difficulties or increased physical health problems. A large body of research suggests that increased stress levels interfere with your ability to deal with physical illness. While no one can avoid all stress, you can work to handle it in healthy ways that increase your potential to recover.
There are several other methods you can use to relax or reduce stress, including:
Effects Of Job Stress On Physical Health
Uncontrolled tension, worry and anxiety at work can wreak havoc on an employees quality of life and overall healthwelcoming stress-induced colds and flus and even more severe conditions like heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
Long-term job-related stress causes physical changes in the body, like:
- Chest pain and increased heart rate
- Heightened breathing
- Muscle tension, aches and pains
- Low energy
- Upset stomach and repetitive digestive issues
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How Does Your Body React To Work Stress
Imagine for a moment that your boss has emailed you about an unfinished assignment . Your body and mind instantly respond, activating a physical reaction called the fight-or-flight response. Your heart beats faster, your breath quickens, and your muscles tense. At the same time you might say to yourself, Im going to get fired if I dont finish this. Then to manage your anxiety and negative self-talk, you work late into the night to complete the task.
Over the course of our evolutionary history, humans developed this coordinated fear response to protect against dangers in our environment. For example, a faster heart rate and tense muscles would help us escape from predators. In the modern era, fear continues to serve an important function. After all, the fight-or-flight response can provide the necessary energy to pull an all-nighter and keep your job.
But what happens if you encounter stressful experiences at work every day? Over time, chronic work stress can lead to a psychological syndrome known as burnout. Warning signs of burnout are overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism, and a sense of inefficacy. Certain work-related stressors are closely linked with burnout. Examples are having too much work or too little independence, inadequate pay, lack of community between coworkers, unfairness or disrespect, and a mismatch between workplace and personal values.