How to cope with stress at work
Tips for reducing and managing stress at work and at work
While stress at work is normal, excessive stress can affect productivity and physical and emotional health. Your ability to handle stress can be the difference between success and failure. You can't control everything in your work environment, but that doesn't mean you're powerless - even if you're in a difficult situation. Finding ways to deal with stress at work doesn't mean making big changes or rethinking career ambitions, but rather focusing on the one thing that's always in your control: you.
Managing work stress in today's uncertain climate
For workers everywhere, work may feel like an emotional rollercoaster. "Layoffs" and "budget cuts" have become buzzwords in the workplace, resulting in increased anxiety, insecurity, and higher levels of stress. As stress in the workplace and in times of economic crisis increases, it is important to learn new and better ways to deal with pressure.
Your emotions are contagious, and stress has an impact on your interactions with others. The better you can manage your own stress, the more you will have a positive impact on those around you, and the less stress from other people will have a negative impact on you.
You can learn how to cope with stress at work
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce both your overall stress levels and the stress you experience at work and at work, including:
- Take responsibility for improving your physical and emotional well-being.
- Avoid pitfalls by recognizing knee-jerk habits and negative attitudes that increase the stress you experience at work.
- Learn better communication skills to facilitate and improve your relationships with management and employees.
Tip 1: Detect warning signs of excessive stress at work
If you feel overwhelmed at work, you lose confidence and can become irritable or withdrawn, which can make you less productive and effective in your job and make work seem less rewarding. If you ignore the warning signs of work stress, they can lead to bigger problems.
In addition to work performance and satisfaction disorders, chronic or intense stress can also lead to physical and emotional health problems. The below are warning signs of stress.
Signs and symptoms of excessive stress at work
- Anxiety, irritability or depression
- Apathy, loss of interest in work
- Sleep problems
- Problems concentrating
- Muscle tension or headache
- Stomach problems
- Social retreat
- Loss of sex drive
- Coping with alcohol or drugs
Common causes of excessive stress at work
- Fear of being sacked
- More overtime due to staff cuts
- Performance pressure to meet rising expectations, but without increasing job satisfaction
- The pressure to work at an optimum level - all the time!
Tip 2: Reduce stress at work by taking care of yourself
When stress at work affects your job performance, your private life, or your health, it is time to act. First, take care of your physical and emotional health. If you take care of your own needs, you will be stronger and more resilient to stress. The better you feel, the better equipped you will be to deal with work stress without being overwhelmed.
Taking care of yourself does not require a complete lifestyle overhaul. Even small things can lift your mood, boost your energy levels, and make you feel like you're back in the driver's seat. Go one step at a time, and if you make more positive lifestyle choices, you'll soon notice a reduction in your stress levels, both at home and at work.
Regular exercise is an effective way to reduce stress, even if it may be the last thing you want to do. Aerobic exercise - activity that increases your heart rate and makes you sweat - is an extremely effective way to lift your mood, increase energy, sharpen focus, and relax your body and mind.
To achieve maximum stress reduction, try to get at least 30 minutes of heart-pounding activity most days. If it's easier to fit into your schedule, divide the activity into two or three shorter segments.
Make food choices that keep you going
Low blood sugar can cause anxiety and irritability, while eating too much can make you lethargic. A healthy diet can help you get through stressful work days. By eating small but frequent meals, you can help your body maintain an even blood sugar level, maintain your energy levels, stay focused and avoid mood swings.
Drink alcohol in moderation and avoid nicotine
Alcohol temporarily reduces anxiety and worry, but too much of it can cause anxiety when it subsides. Drinking to reduce stress at work can ultimately lead to alcohol abuse and dependence.
Similarly, smoking may have a calming effect when you feel stressed and overwhelmed, but nicotine is a powerful stimulant - leading to higher, not lower, anxiety levels.
Not only can stress and worry cause insomnia, sleep deprivation can also make you vulnerable to even more stress. If you are well rested, it is much easier to maintain your emotional balance, a key factor in coping with stress at work and at work. Try to improve sleep quality by following a sleep plan and aiming for eight hours of sleep a night.
Tip 3: Reduce stress at work by prioritizing and organizing
When workplace stress threatens to overwhelm you, there are simple steps you can take to regain control of yourself and the situation. Your newfound ability to maintain a sense of self-control in stressful situations is often welcomed by employees, managers and subordinates alike, which can lead to better relationships in the workplace.
Here are some suggestions to reduce stress in the workplace by prioritizing and organizing your responsibilities.
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 (and take) 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.
Task management tips to reduce stress at work
- Prioritize tasks. Make a list of the tasks you need to complete and tackle them in order of importance. Tackle high priority items and unpleasant tasks first. This will make the rest of your day more enjoyable and less stressful.
- Break big projects down into small, manageable steps. Focus on one manageable step at a time, rather than taking it all in at once.
- Delegate responsibility. You don't have to do everything yourself. If other people can do the job, why not let them? Let go of the desire to control or supervise every little step. In so doing, you let go of unnecessary stress.
- Be willing to compromise. If you ask someone to engage in a task differently, revise a deadline, or change their behavior at work, you should be willing to do the same. Sometimes, if you can both bend a little, you will be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces stress levels for all involved.
Tip 4: Reduce stress at work by improving emotional intelligence
Learn to recognize hidden stress
Even if you work in a profession where the environment has become increasingly stressful, you can maintain a high level of self-control and self-confidence by understanding and practicing emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and use your emotions positively and constructively. When it comes to satisfaction and success at work, emotional intelligence counts just as much as intellectual ability. Emotional intelligence means communicating with others in a way that draws people to you, overcomes differences, repairs hurt feelings, and reduces tension and stress.
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.
The Five Key Skills of Emotional Intelligence
There are five key skills you need to master to increase your emotional intelligence and manage stress at work.
- Recognize when you are stressed, recognize your particular stress response and become familiar with sensory cues that can quickly calm you down and provide you with energy. The best way to quickly relieve stress is through the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. However, everyone reacts differently to sensory impressions, so you need to find things that are calming for you.
- Stay in touch with your inner emotional experience so that you can appropriately control your own emotions. Your current emotions influence your thoughts and actions, so pay attention to your feelings and consider them in your decision-making at work. If you ignore your emotions, you will not be able to fully understand your own motivations and needs or communicate effectively with others.
- Recognize and use non-verbal cues and body language. In many cases, what we say is less important than the way we say it or the other non-verbal signals we send out, such as eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, gestures, and touch. Your non-verbal messages can either evoke a sense of interest, trust, and desire for connection - or they can cause confusion, mistrust, and stress. You must also be able to read and respond to the non-verbal cues that other people send you at work.
- Develop the ability to respond to challenges with humor. There is no better stress reliever than hearty laughter, and nothing reduces stress in the workplace faster than shared humor. But, when laughter comes at the expense of others, you may end up with more, rather than less, stress.
- Resolving conflicts in a positive manner. Solving conflicts in a healthy, constructive way can build trust between people and reduce stress and tension in the workplace. If you are coping with emotionally charged situations, focus on the present by ignoring old wounds and resentments, connecting with your emotions, and hearing both the words and the non-verbal cues used. If a conflict cannot be resolved, decide to end the dispute even if you do not yet agree.
Tip 5: Reduce stress at work by breaking bad habits
As you learn to manage your stress at work and improve your work relationships, you will have more control over your ability to think clearly and act appropriately. You will be able to break habits that increase your stress at work - and you will even be able to change negative mindsets about things that only increase your stress.
Eliminate self-destructive behavior
Many of us aggravate stress in the workplace through negative thoughts and behaviors. If you can reverse these self-destructive habits, you will find that the stress imposed by your employer is easier to manage.
- Resist perfectionism. No project, situation, or decision is ever perfect, so trying to achieve perfection in everything will simply add unnecessary stress to your day. If you set unrealistic goals or try to do too much, you set yourself up for failure. Aim to do your best - it's the most anyone can ask of you.
- Get organized. If you're always late, adjust your clocks and watches to go fast and give yourself more time. If your desk is a mess, file and throw away the clutter; just knowing where everything is saves time and reduces stress. Make to-do lists and tick items while you're doing them. Plan your day and stick to the schedule - you'll feel less overwhelmed.
- Think positive. When you see the downside of any situation and interaction, you lose energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, avoid negative thinking colleagues, and pat yourself on the back when it comes to small achievements even when no one else does.
- Embrace unpredictability. Many things at work are out of our control - especially other people's behavior. Focus not on the things you can't control, but on the way you respond to problems.
Five ways to reduce stress
- Take time away. If the stress at work increases, try to take a short break and get away from the stressful situation. If possible, take a walk outside the workplace or spend a few minutes meditating in the break room. Physical exercise or finding a quiet place to regain your balance can quickly relieve stress.
- Talk it over with someone. In some situations, it can help relieve stress by simply sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. Talking about a problem with someone who is both supportive and empathetic can be a great way to let off steam and relieve stress.
- Connect with others in the workplace. Developing friendships with some of your colleagues can help you protect yourself from the negative effects of stress. Remember to listen to them and offer support when they are also in need.
- Look for humor in this situation. If used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress at work. If you or those around you start to take things too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or a funny story.
Tip 6: Learn how managers or employers can reduce stress in the workplace
It is in a manager's best interest to keep workplace stress to a minimum. Executives can act as positive role models, especially in times of high stress, by following the tips outlined in this article. If a respected manager can stay calm in stressful work situations, it is much easier for their employees to stay calm.
In addition, there are a number of organizational changes that managers and employers can make to reduce workplace stress, including:
- Share information with employees to reduce uncertainty about their jobs and futures.
- Clearly define employees' roles and responsibilities.
- Make communication friendly and efficient, not petty or petty.
Ask your staff
- Give workers the opportunity to participate in decisions that affect their jobs.
- Ask the staff for dates and work rules.
- Ensure that the workload is commensurate with the skills and resources of the staff.
- Avoid unrealistic deadlines.
- Show that individual workers are valued.
- Offer rewards and incentives.
- Praise good work, both verbally and officially, through programs such as Employee of the Month.
- Offer opportunities for professional development.
- Promote an "entrepreneurial" work environment that gives employees more control over their work.
Maintaining a friendly social climate
- Provide opportunities for social interaction between employees.
- Introduce a zero tolerance policy for harassment.
- Make management actions consistent with the values of the organization.