Managing Your Stress
We identify workplace stressors, and some steps you can take to manage stress. Although you can’t completely avoid work related tensions, you can take steps to manage work-related stress.
According to the American Psychological Association, (APA) the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the USA, you can’t always completely avoid work related tensions, but you can take steps to manage work-related stress.
They say that common workplace stressors are:
- Low salaries.
- Excessive workloads.
- Few opportunities for growth or advancement.
- Work that isn’t engaging or challenging.
- Lack of social support.
- Not having enough control over job-related decisions.
- Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations.
The APA point out that a stressful work environment can be a contributory factor to physical problems such as headache, stomach-ache, sleep disturbances, short temper and difficulty concentrating, even in the short term.
Chronic stress can cause much more serious problems, such as anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, depression, obesity and heart disease.
People who experience excessive stress often deal with it in unhealthy ways such as overeating, poor diet, smoking or abusing drugs and alcohol.
Steps to manage Stress; –
Speak up If you don’t say there is a problem, no one knows how you feel, so they won’t offer support
Identify the root cause of your problem. Track your stressors. Write a journal to identify patterns in situations which create stress, and your response to them.
Develop healthy responses. Make healthy choices, such as exercise, yoga or physical activity, rather than fast food or alcohol
Make time for leisure. Sport, concerts, spending time with family and friends.
Get enough sleep Limit your caffeine late in the day, and minimize stimulating activities, such as computer and television use, at night.
Establish work-life boundaries. Don’t be available 24/7. Perhaps choose not to check email from home.
Recharge. Allow time to relax and unwind.
Learn to relax. Try meditation, deep breathing exercises and mindfulness. Take a few minutes every day to focus on breathing, walking or enjoying a meal.
Talk to your manager. They have an incentive to create an environment that promotes well-being.
Share the workload with others This may be particularly relevant If you own your own business, learn to delegate
Speak to your team They may have similar problems, you may be able to redesign processes to be more effective
Get support. Trusted friends and family can improve your ability to manage stress. Your employer may have stress management resources available, either online, through counselling or referral to mental health professionals.