You love your job because it is challenging, fast-paced, and exciting. You have the opportunity to learn new things every day, develop new skills, and build long-term relationships with colleagues. However, stress comes into play when you’re asked to perform at a high level.
Even if you love what you do, work can become a source of stress rather than enjoyment, especially when deadlines loom or your performance is closely monitored. Workplace stress can take many forms: You might be overworked or understaffed, have an annoying coworker who makes your life more complicated than it needs to be, or face discrimination on the job based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or another personal characteristic.
In addition to these potential sources of stress in the workplace, there are frequent changes in company structure, management strategies, or company culture that create stressful work environments for many employees. Stress can also come from outside of work—for example, financial pressures from home may make you feel more stress at work. Read more on how to deal with stress at work.
Tips for Dealing with Stress at Work
1. Identify your stressors
The first step to dealing with stress at work is to identify what is causing you stress. This may be due to various circumstances, but you must pay attention to yourself and identify what is causing you stress at this point. Focus on how you feel and how the circumstances that are causing you to stress are affecting you.
You may want to keep a journal to help identify your stressors and track how you feel throughout the day. Then, when you focus on learning about yourself and what causes stress, you can develop strategies that work for you and help reduce stress.
The stress level you feel and its effect on you varies from person to person. When stressed out and overwhelmed, you may be tempted to eat junk food, skip exercise, or rely on alcohol or caffeine to get through the day. While these things might make you feel better in the short term, they can hurt your mood and health over the long term.
Mood changes are also a common symptom of stress. For example, you may feel more irritable or anxious or have trouble controlling your emotions. These mood changes can harm your relationships with friends, family members, and work. In addition, research has shown that chronic stress can significantly impact your health. You may experience increased physical symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, or muscle aches, as well as psychological symptoms, such as anxiety or depression.
You need to look at your situation and decide what you can do to improve it. For example, you could take on a new project to reduce boredom from tasks you have been doing for some time. In addition, you may want to consider what you can do to help yourself. Sometimes we can’t change our work situation, but we can change how we react.
2. Create fair and firm work boundaries
The first step in creating work boundaries is to identify the type of work boundaries that are right for you. Boundaries are different for everyone, so the first step is to be clear about what they are. After you have identified what type of boundaries you want to have at work, you need to communicate them to your colleagues and your supervisor.
Communication is key. You can try again if you have a terrible experience communicating your boundaries to your colleagues or supervisor. It is important to stay persistent and keep trying. Once your boundaries are in place, you need to stick to them. This step is critical how in dealing with stressful situations at work.
If you find that your boundaries are not respected, you must communicate them repeatedly until there is a change or until you decide to leave the relationship or the job.
3. Stay away from conflict.
Although it is easy to see how dealing with conflict could help you reduce stress, the opposite may be true. Many times when you are faced with conflict, it is natural for you to want to jump in and try to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Interpersonal conflict can be detrimental to your physical and emotional health. Avoiding it at the workplace can be challenging. If possible, steer clear of those who don’t work well with others. And whenever conflict arises, deal with it appropriately.
3. Allow yourself to single-task
Many people frequently multitask throughout the day, and this might seem like a good idea at first—after all, it can seem like you get more done in a shorter amount of time. However, research shows that multitasking can reduce productivity and negatively affect your health.
One way to reduce the stress you experience from work and improve your work performance is to focus on single-tasking. For example, you can set a timer for yourself when doing tasks requiring your attention and focus. Setting a timer for yourself can help you stay focused on one task and avoid the temptation to switch tasks before the timer goes off.
4. Learn some relaxation strategies
There are many ways for you to relax at work. First, you can work with a therapist to help you relax in your work environment by learning coping skills such as meditation, guided imagery, and breathing techniques.
You can also try to incorporate relaxation into your daily life by taking short breaks throughout the day, such as taking walks when you have some free time or taking short breaks during your lunch break.
Another way to relax at work is to engage in activities that bring you joy. Find small ways to have fun at work, such as listening to music or watching videos that make you happy. You can also use relaxation techniques like deep breathing, visualization, and positive self-talk to help you unwind.
It can be tough to stay calm and focused when there’s so much going on. But some simple relaxation techniques can help you deal with stressful situations at work and get you back on track.
Stress is a part of life and cannot be avoided entirely, but it can be managed when you are aware of the signs and symptoms of stress and how it affects your mental, emotional and physical health. There are various ways to deal with stress at work, from getting enough sleep to exploring relaxation techniques. Understanding how you deal with stress and what types of stressors affect you the most can help you identify the best ways to manage your stress and reduce its negative impact on your life.