Nowhere is stress more likely than in the workplace. Every job brings with it a degree of stress. And, what may be stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. Only you can really determine whether or not you find your current job stressful. If you determine it is, with the fact that stress at work can affect your professional and personal relationships, it needs to be dealt with.
In small doses, stress is a good thing. It can energize and motivate you to deal with challenges. But prolonged or excessive stress overwhelms your ability to cope and will take a severe psychological and physical toll on you.
High stress levels have been linked to depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal problems, impaired immune response and cancer.
So it surely is a no brainer that you want to deal with it before it turns down that path.
Here’s my top 10 tips to reduce stress at work
No Friction with Colleagues
Those relationships you have at work play a big part in your levels of stress at work. When you go in every day to friction or you know you’re working alongside somebody that you really don’t like your stress levels are uncontrollable. When you are intimidated by somebody at work that will cause the greatest stress. You can’t let this go on. There’s a simple rule when it comes to relationships and stress. Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, then limit the amount of time you spend with that person. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same. You’ve got to sort things out one way or another.
Improve Time Management Skills
You may not be able to affect the amount of work you have, but you can use time management to help you be more efficient and feel less under pressure. There are no doubts that when you have more jobs on your to do list than time to do them you get stressed. When suddenly you are faced with a near impossible deadline stress is inevitable. So you need to look at how you structure your work, get things organised where you’re not always desperate for more hours in the day, this is an important thing to do to reduce stress at work. Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
Set your Working Hours
When your working hours truly take over your life, everything will be effected. Your personal relationships will really suffer particularly when you are so wrapped up in what you need to do at work you start forgetting to give time and energy to those you love. It is so important that you actually set boundaries for the hours you’re going to work, and hours you’re going to commit to your loved ones. Once you have these set times, don’t let work overlap again. Protect this time if you want to reduce stress at work, and maintain healthier relationships.
Take Time Off
We’ve all heard the saying that goes something like, all work and no play makes jack a dull and incredible stressed out chap. Sometimes you just have to get away. Yes actually leave your desk, get away from your factory, wherever your workplace is. Even for you work at home types, getting away from your work space every now and again is vital. Everyone needs a break once and a while. Here I’m talking about a few days break. Taking a long weekend for yourself. Leave your work behind and forget about it. I promise you it will reduce stress at work when you go back to it.
Keep a Stress Inventory
If you are stressed out by your job, you need to consider why you are stressed out. To identify the factors causing you stress, try keeping a stress inventory: For one week write down the situations, events and people who cause you to have a negative physical, mental or emotional response. Give a brief description of the situation. Where were you? Who was involved? Also, describe your reaction. Did you feel frustrated, angry or nervous? After a week, sit down and look at your stress inventory and identify a problem that is undoubtedly stressing you. Once you have found it look for ways to resolve it.
Love your Work
So much stress that people carry with them day by day is caused by a very simple fact. They don’t like the job they do. Yes it earns them a pay cheque but they find the job itself mundane, boring, frustrating. Yet they do it 5 days a week, 12 hours a day. Week after week. Of course they’re then going to be completely stressed. Either you have to be able to reconnect with that thing that you used to enjoy about your work, or move on and find yourself a job that you have a passion for. Stick at this job, not only will you feel high levels of stress at work, you’re also eventually going to make yourself ill.
Take Care of Your Health
It’s no good burning the candle at both ends. When your working hours completely take over your life, I assure you that you’re heading for problems. Simply the human body need time not only to relax and rejuvenate, but also to be looked after. To perform at your best as well as to reduce stress at work you need to be in peak condition. That means it’s essential that you get regular exercise and plenty of sleep, and eat a healthy balanced diet.
Organize your Work Area
How can a neater desk reduce stress? Well, because the source of many types of stress comes from a feeling of being out of control, of being overwhelmed. When your work area looks like a battlefield, you feel the tension growing. And when you can’t find that report you need, your stress level soars even higher. By organizing your files and piles, you get a sense (perhaps mistakenly) that there is some order in all the chaos.
Learn How to Say “No”
You know when a colleague asks you to just check over his report. The time when the boss says do you have some time to do this extra errand. Know your limits and stick to them. When you don’t have any time to do anything extra simply say ‘no’. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you’re close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.
Look at the Big Picture
Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.
So when stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all of these strategies which can help you reduce stress at work.
No job is worth making you ill.