Stress in any area of our lives can have significant health consequences, from an increased susceptibility to colds and flu to an increased risk of heart disease. Stress at work can be particularly disruptive if only because it often feels like there’s no way to escape it. Demanding tasks, looming deadlines, difficult bosses, unhappy customers, and unsupportive colleagues – all of these contribute to feeling stressed in the workplace. And yet, no matter how stressed or unhappy you are in your job, you have to keep going back to work every day. Your livelihood depends on it.
While stress at work is common, it’s not something you should simply ignore or accept. When you’re constantly under pressure, it affects your efficiency, self-confidence, sleep and overall health. It also affects your interactions with others not just in the workplace but at home too.
Learning how to deal with stress at work is important. As you will see below, it’s the small things that can be most effective.
How you start your day at home has a major impact on your stress levels at work. Is every morning a blur of deciding what to wear, searching for a matched pair of socks, looking for an important document, and finally rushing out of the house without any breakfast? A harried morning sets the stage for a harried day ahead.
Simply keeping everything ready for work before you go to bed will help you get a calmer and more peaceful start to the day. You’ll have time for a good breakfast. Your drive to work will be smoother, and your workday will seem so much more manageable and less stressful. Being organised is the key to feeling less stressed at work.
Identify And Address The Stressor
Is there a particular situation or person that’s causing you stress at work? Waiting and hoping it will go away by itself is not the answer. The longer you let it simmer, the more stressful it becomes till one day it is likely to end up in a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ scenario.
Every problem has a solution but it’s not getting resolved by itself. If you can’t figure out how to resolve the problem, speak to someone at work or outside of work. Sometimes, getting an objective perspective can help you get control of the situation and that itself can defuse the tension.
Learn To Delegate Work
Do you often prefer to do the work yourself because you feel nobody else will do it as well as you do? Are you a perfectionist who looks for minor flaws in work done by others?
Striving for perfection in yourself and in others all the time can be a constant source of stress. Besides, it also means taking on more than you can handle, which is only going to add to your stress and contribute to job burnout. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Learning to let go of the need for perfection and being more realistic about your expectations is a vital skill in the workplace. Being clear on your requirements is one way to get the best from your team and keeping those stress levels down. Instead of looking for what’s wrong, congratulate yourself and your team on the effort put in and a job well done.
Connect With People
The way we work and live today has resulted in us becoming increasingly more isolated from others. We send messages, texts, and emails to colleagues sitting a few steps away from us instead of walking over and delivering the message personally. Even off work, we keep in touch with family and friends via emails, messages and the occasional video chat. The truth is, it just isn’t enough.
Humans are innately social beings. Doing simple activities with a loved one or friends – an impromptu get-together, a weekend brunch together, or just an evening of drinks and laughter can be excellent stress relievers.
Make the extra effort to reach out and connect with family, friends, and colleagues and see the difference it makes!
Schedule Some ‘Me Time’ Regularly
Do you spend any time at all on self-care? In today’s world, ‘stopping to smell the roses’ is often seen as slacking off or being selfish. It isn’t. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The busier you are, the more important it is to get off that rollercoaster every once in a while and take some ‘me time’ where you do what YOU want, not what your boss or clients or dependents want. Juggling office work and home chores nonstop is a recipe for burnout and stress.
Try and recall the last time you spent doing something that you enjoyed just for the pure enjoyment of it. If it was a few months ago or even longer, schedule a date in your calendar right away. What you do on your scheduled ‘me-time’ depends on what you like doing, whether it’s an evening out at the pictures, a morning at the museum, or a long, luxurious soak in the bath. You’ll be amazed at how regular self-care sessions can drain those stresses away, leaving you feeling refreshed, recharged, and re-energised.
When you learn to deal with stress at work more effectively, you’ll find a noticeable improvement in your health, quality of life, and relationships with family and friends. You’ll also see a marked improvement in your performance at work.