6 Ways to Successfully Cope with Stress at Work
Anyone who has ever had a job has experienced stress, anxiety, and pressure from their job at least once. Any job can be stressful even when you love what you do. Stress in the workplace can be caused by looming deadlines, obligations, challenges, and obstacles. All this stress can have a major impact on your health, both emotionally and physically, and hinder your ability to perform at work.
If you feel like you're alone in this situation, you're not. In fact, 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress. Although you can't always avoid workplace conflict and tension, you can do something to improve your own stress levels and mental health.
Some common work-related stress triggers include:
- Low salary
- Few opportunities for career growth
- Excessive workload
- Insufficient support
- Conflict with coworkers
- Unrealistic demands
- Lack of resources
How does stress impact health?
Unfortunately, work-related stress doesn't just go away the minute you get home or leave the workplace. It usually follows you wherever you go. A stressful work environment can cause headaches, stomach issues, lack of sleep, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, weaken the immune system, and shorten your temper. It can also cause depression, obesity, and heart disease. Continuous stress can eventually lead you to develop unhealthy habits like alcohol or drug abuse, smoking cigarettes, and overeating.
If you're ready to take control of your life and reduce your stress, check out these tips:
Track your Triggers
Keep a journal or some sort of log where you can take note of situations that create stress for you and how you respond to them. Record your thoughts, feelings, reactions, and describe the environment including the people and circumstances. Did you cry? Did you yell? Did you immediately resort to food to calm you down? Writing all this down can help you identify patterns among your stressors and your reactions to them.
Create Healthy Alternatives
Don't fight the stress with unhealthy choices like smoking or eating fast food which will only make you feel worse. Instead, release your stress by exercising, journaling, listening to your favorite song, talking to someone, meditating, or doing yoga. You can also make time for hobbies or your favorite activities. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, do it.
Read a novel, go to a concert, or play games with your family. All these things will help you clear your mind and forget about your stress even if it's just for a few hours. Getting enough sleep is also important to effectively manage your stress. Try reading a book at night before going to bed instead of using your phone, it'll help you relax and minimize stimulating activities.
Having a healthy work-life balance is not easy, especially when the digital world is at our finger tips. We tend to forget that it's not okay to be available 24/7 and that we need to take some time off from work. This means you need to stop answering and looking at your emails when you're no longer within work hours like on weekends. Create a boundary and separate your personal life from your work life. The weekends are meant for you to relax, spend time with family, and prepare to take on a new work week.
Learn to Relax
Practice techniques like deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga in order to relax mentally and physically. Stress causes our brains to run at 100 miles per hour and in order to effectively manage your stress and anxiety, you need to clear your mind and simply stop. Take a few minutes of your day to focus on a simple activity like breathing, taking a walk, or enjoying a meal at a calm pace. If you're feeling overwhelmed while at work, deep breathing and meditation can help you recharge and calm your mind in order to successfully perform.
Reach out to a close friend or a family member about your issues. Talk to them about what is going on and allow them to help you overcome your stress. Be open to any advice they offer. Some companies also offer resources for their employees like counseling and referrals to mental health professionals. If none of the aforementioned methods work for you, try talking to a psychologist and going to therapy.
Talk to your Supervisor
This one can be hard, especially if you don't usually talk to your supervisor about personal issues like these. However, your supervisor has the role of creating a positive work environment. Instead of walking into their office with a list of complaints, tell them about an effective plan you've created in order to manage the stressors you've identified so you can perform at your best. Talk to them about your time management and how you plan to modify this area, ask them about any resources they know in order to help you cope, suggest changing your workspace, discuss your opportunities at work, and ask for more meaningful and challenging tasks if you're feeling underwhelmed within your role.