All jobs are demanding. From restaurant work to teaching, to busy corporate jobs; we all suffer from stress at the workplace. Our lives at home are already demanding, and include family obligations, bills, and student loans. It always seems to be one thing after another adding to our stress. Add work stress to everything else, and sometimes it feels like you just can’t manage. This article will give you some tips to help manage your stress at your job to help you get back a little peace of mind.
Why is there so much stress in the workplace?
Stress at the workplace comes from a variety of factors. Some of these include:
- Heavy workloads
- Problems with boss
- Interpersonal problems
- Low wages
- Feeling unappreciated
- Feeling stuck or without room for growth
- Unreasonable expectations
This is just a small sample of problems that can cause stress at work.
If work stress is so common, why should I worry about it?
Stress not only causes mental distress but can lead to a number of serious consequences as well. Work stress is particularly challenging because it often sticks with you long after you leave work for the day. Instead of valuable time spent with your family or friends, you’re worried about work. Instead of a good night’s sleep, you wake up during the night thinking about work.
Chronic work stress can cause the following symptoms:
- Trouble concentrating
- High blood pressure, and if left unchecked heart disease
- Weakened immune system
- Anxiety and depression
- Substance abuse
Work stress is not only a nuisance; it poses serious health risks if left unchecked.
Know what is stressing you out
You know that you are stressed at work, but what is actually causing it? To find the source of your work stress, write down the times during the day when you’re feeling pressured the most. Also, keep track of how you reacted in each situation. This stress journal can be used as a blueprint in determining how to deal with it.
How to deal with stress in the workplace
The key to dealing with workplace stress is finding positive ways of responding to it. Many times our first impulses aren’t the correct ways to deal. It might feel better to ignore a situation or head off to happy hour after work for a few drinks, but by not facing your stressors they will only get worse.
Some excellent healthy responses include:
- Breathing techniques
- Engaging in hobbies
- Setting aside time for pleasure
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleeping well is a game-changer. When you don’t get enough sleep, your interactions and reactions to stress can become more intense. If you have trouble sleeping, you can try cutting out caffeine. You can also try fitting in some time to exercise after work and do a calming activity like reading before bed.
Make work boundaries
The age of the internet and online workforce platforms have made it possible to work from anywhere. While sometimes this flexibility is a wonderful perk of technology, often the ability to work from anywhere and in all hours causes quite a bit of stress.
You might feel obligated to work from home in the evenings after work, while you’re recovering from illness, or even answer emails on vacation.
For these reasons and more, it’s important to set work boundaries. Set rules for yourself. Perhaps you won’t answer work-related calls or texts after dinner time, or maybe you won’t read emails over the weekend. There need to be rules to help you separate the stress from work so it doesn’t seep into your home life.
There is an unspoken pressure at many workplaces that if you aren’t working all the time, you’ll be left behind. There is a common feeling that if you aren’t working someone else is, and they’ll be up for that coveted promotion instead of you.
This sort of thinking is destructive. Your vacations are yours to enjoy and relax. Your sick days are supposed to be yours to get better. Working during these times will cause burnout and can lead to negative stress reactions physically, mentally, and socially.
These are a few simple steps to help manage stress in the workplace. To learn more, schedule an appointment with a licensed counselor. They have the education and skills needed to lead you through an entire workplace stress management routine. Stress at work is inevitable, but it’s how we deal with the situations that matter.