In this article, we will observe some best strategies for managing stress in the workplace efficiently so that it does not harm us in long run.
To know what workplace stress is, we should first know what stress is. Though generally people use the term “stressful situation”, stress is actually not a situation, it is a response to a situation. So workplace stress is a harmful reaction to a situation at work. This reaction can be from many events or a single one.
Workplace stress majorly happens because of management problems. Some of the things that happen which cause workplace stress are long working hours, heavy workload, tight deadlines, lack of equipment, and much more.
Before going through strategies for managing stress in the workplace, you should first know what are the signs of stress in the workplace.
Stress at the workplace is not always bad, good stress is what keeps you on your toe and makes you fulfill your responsibilities effectively. But stress is good if it remains just that.
If you find yourself to be constantly anxious, drained, and overwhelmed due to a hectic life, you have entered the realm of that stress which has an adverse effect on one’s health, psychologically, behaviorally, and physically.
Psychologically- are you overly anxious and overwhelmed? Always pessimist? Irritated and unable to concentrate?
Physically- facing headaches, muscle tension, fatigue? Unable to sleep properly or your stomach is constantly upset?
Behaviorally- people take more and more sick days, there is an increase in irritability and aggression, many are inclined towards alcohol and drugs, are you one of these?
If you are facing some of the above-mentioned signs or symptoms then you may be facing stress in the workplace.
Strategies For Managing Stress In The Workplace
Some proven strategies for managing stress in the workplace are:
1. Manage Your Time
As mentioned earlier, most of the stress at work is due to management. So if you are managed, then you are less likely to be stressed. Create a balanced schedule by prioritizing tasks. Allot time according to the priority of the job.
Do not try to do everything at once; you will end up doing nothing. Break your tasks into much simpler manageable steps and try to fulfill one thing at a time.
Most importantly, do not procrastinate. Work done at the end moment is often done in chaos with a lack of focus and causes a high level of stress. So try to be at work a little early, start your day according to your plan and everything will fall in place accordingly without any redundant stress.
2. Set Achievable Goals
If you are looking for strategies for managing stress in the workplace, then one thing you should stop doing is the self-imposition of stress. Much of the stress at the workplace is self-imposed. We try to do so much to fulfill some goals that are very difficult by working overtime or taking on more work than possible. This takes a toll on the mind and body in the long run, causing stress of non-fulfillment of these tasks.
That is why we should try to focus on practical things that are possible to achieve in real-time rather than imposing and pressuring ourselves.
If you want to achieve something extraordinary, break it into little goals, doing so your task would be manageable and ultimately you will reach your real goal.
3. Know What Is Expected Of You
One of the most crucial strategies for managing stress in the workplace is to know what is expected of you. If you do not know what you are doing at your job or what it is you are supposed to do then you are likely to be extremely stressed. You would just be left pleasing your superiors and it is obvious that you cannot please everyone, which serves as additional stress.
To avoid this, you should know what you are applying for and discuss your expectations and strategies with your superiors to avoid any unwanted confusion. This will clear things on your part and you would do what you are hired to do.
4. Don’t Try To Do Everything Yourself
Some people cannot accept the work done by others, it has to perfect in their standards so they try to do all the work ourselves. They do this because it gives them some control over the situation but it is important to understand the hard truth that one person cannot control everything. You have to stop taking things personally and try to shift work so that only one person is not doing all the work.
It is important to be able to trust other person’s skills and believe that they will also do the same task to the best of their ability. Delegate the task to different members of the group according to their specialty. This will help in letting go of the stress that is caused by doing all the work.
5. Talk To Someone
One of the most effective strategies for managing stress in the workplace is to share. If you are going through something, it is better to talk to someone. Communication is the best stress reliever.
Maybe your co-worker is going through something similar and they can empathize with you and understand you in a way no one else can. It will make you feel better that someone else is also feeling the same and you may feel less pressurized. It always helps to know that people along with us are sailing in the same boat.
And if you don’t feel like talking to a co-worker, who may not know you on a personal level then you can always talk to a friend or family friend, who may not always understand you but they sure can lend an ear.
6. Focus On Your Health
Your health should always be your top most priority. A little exercise daily can do wonders for your body, both physically and mentally. You would be more active and your mental health would be better too.
Exercise can also be a way to release your frustration and anger. And what bad can come out from being in shape?
To remain healthy, apart from exercise, you should also focus on getting proper nutrition and a balanced diet because you are what you eat. If you are neglecting your diet and not eating then you tend to be grumpy causing others to be socially distant towards you.
So focus on eating frequent small meals that would keep you energized but do not consume large amounts of food because it can make you sluggish and lazy.
7. Relax Yourself
To relax is very important, it is by far one of the easiest strategies for managing stress in the workplace. You cannot always be working or worrying. You just need to do what works for you best. Among many relaxation techniques, one of the proven ones is meditation.
It is very simple, you just need to be in a position that makes you feel comfortable and focus on your breathing. Many cultures have different soul purifying mantras to make someone focus. You can adopt one of these or you can choose a word that you can come back to whenever you lose attention.
But if meditation is not your thing or you do not have time for it, then you can go for lavender or chamomile tea before bed or in the early morning, whenever suits you. These teas are scientifically proven to help soothe and calm your nerves and reduce anxiety.
There are many other activities that you can do if you are facing anxiety very often. Click here to know about them.
8. Maintain Work-Life Balance
According to a survey conducted by Harvard business school, 94% of professionals work more than 50 hours per week due to the fear of losing their jobs. This has been possible due to technology which makes work accessible from anywhere.
So it has become important to set the boundaries between work and your personal life. If you find yourself to be excessively working even when you are at home, social gathering, or on a trip then you have to stop right now.
Maintain a work-life balance. It is one of the best strategies for managing stress in the workplace, whenever you are off-hours, you should NOT be working, and rather engaging in other activities.
Click here to better understand work-life balance and how you could maintain it.
9. Beware Of Negativity and Embrace Positivity
According to surveys, about 70,000 thoughts go through the human brain during a day most of which are fear, self-doubt, and discouragement. Due to this, we deem a normal situation to be stressful. Stress is different from person to person. For a positive person, a task such as giving a speech would not be that stressful but for a person with more negative thoughts, this situation can be completely different. Unlike other strategies for managing stress in the workplace, this one is completely based on how you see things.
To encourage positivity in yourself, you can listen to motivational talks more often or the best way is to surround yourself with a positive environment, maintaining good relationships. Have a good mood lightning talks with your colleagues. Instead of always being serious, try to find humor in the situation as humor is the best medicine. It will relieve stress and make the work environment more enjoyable.
10. Give Yourself A Break
This is one of the most important strategies for managing stress in the workplace. Plan a trip on holidays instead of just sitting at home and worrying about work. Change of scenery is necessary. Do whatever makes you happy. If you do not want a vacation then go shopping or buy a pet, whatever that serves as a little distraction from your hectic lifestyle and job stress.
Apart from this, enjoy the breaks that you are given between your work. If you have a sedentary job then sitting on a chair for a whole day can be boring. Go outside for a short walk or eat your lunch in a park. This can help you lift your mood and when you resume back, you will be more refreshed and willing to work.
These tips although little can make a major change in your life. Try following these strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.