Stress is no joke. Experiencing small amounts of work-related stress can be normal, in fact, it can even provide a little extra motivation to help you power through your workload. However, when it is either consistently reoccurring, felt in excessively high levels, or a combination of both, stress can cause a significant reduction in workplace performance and productivity, be damaging to your mental health, affect your relationships and even lead to burnout.
Prolonged exposure to high-level stress can affect your mental health by increasing feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. It can also manifest as physical issues such as headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, and chest pain.
Self-care, when practiced daily can help manage stress levels, yet unfortunately, many people make their situation worse by attempting to manage their stress with unhealthy choices such as smoking cigarettes, eating junk food, and even turning to alcohol, prescription drugs, and other illicit substances – ultimately making their situation worse.
Below we have listed some tips which may assist you to reduce and manage your stress, while also improving your overall wellbeing. Adopting these habits can significantly diminish the amount of workplace stress in your life and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Recognise Your Stressors
Some common work stressors can include large workloads, limited advancement opportunities, no social support, as well as unchallenging or uninteresting work. Increasing self-awareness will help you to identify your stress triggers so you can address the issues, find better ways to cope or remove the stressor all together.
Manage Your Mindset
While a stressful work environment may be outside of your control, it doesn’t mean that you have no power at all. In fact, how well you get through a stressful situation depends largely on you. Your power lies in how you react – and cope – to a certain situation. Rather than allowing the higher stress levels to consume you, the most effective response is to focus on whatever you can control such as your attitude, effort, tone, and response. It’s also important to remember to be proactive, speak to your manager and ask for help if you are struggling.
Improve Time Management
If your daily routine is too busy or filled with unachievable expectations, it will no doubt cause your stress levels to rise. If you are finding that this is happening perhaps it is time to reassess your situation and create more realistic expectations for yourself. A great way to do this is to schedule regular breaks where you can step away from your desk. It’s important to remember that the brain can only remain focused for between 90 to 120 minutes so scheduling a break between each cycle will increase your overall productivity throughout the day.
It’s also important to remember that your mind can only focus effectively on one type of task at a time. If you are constantly switching between different tasks, your brain will need to keep refocusing, which often leads to inefficiencies and increased stress. Task switching like this will often lead to a reduction in productivity and much lower job satisfaction, which can increase the possibility of burnout and stress.
Exercise Mind & Body
Not only does exercise increase your overall health and sense of wellbeing, there is also a direct link between physical activity and stress relief. When you exercise your brain releases an increased amount of endorphins – a chemical that is produced as a response to certain stimuli such as stress, pain and fear. So, the more endorphins running around your bloodstream, means the more positive effect on your overall mood, while also significantly decreasing the feelings of anxiety and depression.
Master Your Breathing
Whenever you start to feel stressed, it is important that you control your breathing so that you can reduce the possibility of any negative physical reactions such as low energy, headaches and nausea.
To do this, start by closing your eyes, slowly take a deep breath and expanding your lungs, hold the breath for a second before slowly exhaling the air, repeat 5-10 times. While it is important to remember that this method is not a long-term fix, it is extremely helpful for controlling how stress physically affects your body and allows you to refocus your thoughts.
Never Expect Perfection
Approaching your workload with the genuine expectation of achieving perfect results is not only unobtainable, but it also has the added risks of causing your self-worth to plummet, all the while increasing your stress levels to spike. Instead of fearing mistakes or minor imperfections, understand that failures do not define who you are, and instead they are opportunities for learning and growth.
The Last Word
While it is not uncommon for people to experience stress in the workplace, fortunately there are many ways to help relieve it. We encourage you to try out the tip outlined above and be proactive in managing your stress levels and the stress levels of those around you.
Stress management and mental health awareness training can be highly effective at reducing stress levels through increased awareness and improved coping mechanisms, to discuss how we can assist in creating a program that works for your organisation contact our team.