Stressed out? While some workplace stress is normal, high levels of stress at work not only interferes with your productivity, but it can also have a profound effect on your physical health and emotional wellbeing. Find out how to deal with stress at work…By Katie Martlew
Why so stressed?
According to a study published by Medibank Private, people are more likely to experience high levels of workplace stress when they are under pressure (i.e. in terms of both workload and responsibility) and feel they are unable to meet expectations regarding deadlines or control their output.
Symptoms of workplace stress
Physical: headaches, fatigue, muscular tension, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal problems and dermatological disorders.
Psychological: Anxiety, irritability, depression, pessimism, feeling unable to cope, unable to concentrate or make clear decisions.
Behavioural: Increased sick leave, mood swings and irritability, isolation, impatience, frustration, poor performance, loss of creativity and initiative.
How can I manage stress at work?
While you can’t necessarily control everything in your work environment, your ability to deal with stress at work is key to taking control of it. Changing the way you react to and cope with workplace stress is what will truly put you on the right track to a healthier, happier existence.
Tips on managing stress at work…
1. Take care of yourself: Looking after yourself will make you stronger and more resilient to stress.
-Exercise: regular exercise decreases the stress hormones, releases endorphins (the body’s natural feel-good chemicals), and improves energy and focus.
-Eat healthily: Eating small, frequent, low GI meals throughout the day helps your body maintain an even level of blood sugar, sharpening mind focus and minimising mood swings.
-Sleep: lack of sleep can leave you vulnerable to stress, and stress can cause insomnia. Aim for 8 hours sleep every night.
2. Improve your time management: Prioritising and organising your responsibilities can help you regain control over workplace stress.
-Prioritise tasks. Refine your to-do list in order of importance. If something is particularly difficult or unpleasant, tackle it first.
-Delegate: Where possible, try to offload some tasks to co-workers.
-Plan regular breaks: Taking regular breaks away from your desk will help you be MORE productive, as it helps you relax, recharge and refocus.
3. Break bad habits: changing negative ways of thinking and thought patterns can help manage stress and improve your work relationships.
-Don’t be so perfect! When you set unrealistic goals, you put immense pressure on yourself and usually end up worse for it. Just aim to do your best, and nobody can fault you for that.
-Be a better employee. Always be on time, de-clutter your desk, and plan your day and stick to the schedule–and you won’t feel as overwhelmed.
-Stop being so negative! Try to feel gratitude for the fact you are employed. Instead of thinking of the reasons you aren’t happy with your job, focus on the positive aspects of your role, and give yourself a pat on the back for small accomplishments.