7-step strategy for managing stress at work; May is Mental Health Awareness Month
We work for different reasons – but the most important among them is usually that we need a stable source of income. And everyone who’s ever had a job has felt the pressure of work-related stress at some point.
Yes, most of us profess to love what we choose to do as a profession – be it acting, lumberjack, architect, transporter etc. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do.
You’re under pressure to meet a deadline or fulfill a challenging commitment. And challenges are good – they help you have a benchmark to aim for, a motivation to work towards a goal. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelming — and damaging to both physical and emotional health.
7 steps to managing work-related stress:
- Track Your Stressors: You can track what really triggers the stressful episodes in your work life for a week. The journal kept for a week can tell you in hindsight what made you feel terribly bad and helpless, why you drank extra cups of coffee, and how you felt afterwards.
- Be proactive, not reactive: Develop healthy reactions. Instead of trying to combat stress with fast food or alcohol, do your best to make healthy choices when you feel the tension rising. Remember yoga, exercises, workouts, long walks – all physical exercises are good stress relievers. Also, make time for hobbies and favorite activities. Watch theater or read books, paint, do karaoke, play games with your family; Basically, relax in a healthy way with your family as your lynchpin.
- Divide and maintain
work-life balance: No electronics in the bedroom. Just as you don’t take your homework to the office, avoid taking office work home. Avoid checking email from home in the evening or answering an official (or other) phone over dinner. Situations vary from person to person, and there can be no one-size-fits-all rule of thumb when it comes to how people should balance work and life. But creating some clear boundaries between these areas can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the stress that comes with it.
- Take time to charge: That’s why weekend retreats exist and they do good business. It doesn’t run away from reality. Anything that involves responsibility, putting it away and reclaiming time for myself, own time is a healthy sign. To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, we need time to replenish and return to our pre-stress level of functioning. This recovery process requires “switching off” from work by taking periods when you are not engaging in work-related activities or thinking about work. Relax and you’ll soon be back to work refreshed and ready to perform at your best.
- Learn relaxation: Techniques like meditation, breathing exercises, and mindfulness (a state in which you actively observe present experiences and thoughts without evaluating them) can help reduce stress. Start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on a simple activity like breathing, walking, or eating. The ability to focus on a single activity without distraction will grow with practice and you will find that you can apply it to many different aspects of your life.
- Talk to your manager: Your boss is your ally. When things aren’t relaxed and stressful between you 2, it’s time to sit down for a serious talk. Employee health has been linked to productivity at work, so your boss has incentive to create a work environment that promotes employee well-being.
Get support: Accepting help from trusted friends and family members can improve your ability to manage stress. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by work stress, you should speak to a mental health professional who can help you better manage stress and change unhealthy behaviors. Never let ego, fears or assumptions get the better of you. Go for it, maybe a thousand opportunities will come your way – if you break the ice.
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in this article are for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a nutritionist before beginning any fitness program or changing your diet.