To reduce daily stress at work and prevent associated health risks, you can take some proven countermeasures. These include proven relaxation techniques and effective stress management methods. Above all, the key is to better manage work-related stress and keep it at a healthy level so that it doesn’t become overwhelming. So, discover some proven ways below to help you get back on track.
Table of Contents
- Common causes and effects of workplace stress
- Apply strategies and tips to combat stress in the workplace
- Identify your own stressors
- Develop healthy responses and start your day off right
- Learn relaxation techniques and calm yourself down
- Quickly calm yourself down with breathing exercises
- Avoid conflict and have clear requirements
- Reduce stress in the workplace through positive thinking
Common causes and effects of workplace stress
Certain factors are associated with work-related stress. Some common workplace stressors include low wages, excessive workloads, or few opportunities for advancement or promotion. Work that is neither engaging nor challenging and lack of social support are also part of the mix. Not having sufficient control over work-related decisions and conflicting demands can be overwhelming. In addition, work-related stress doesn’t just go away when you go home for the day. If the tension continues, it can affect your health and well-being at home as well.
A stressful work environment can lead to problems such as headaches, stomachaches, sleep disturbances, short temper and difficulty concentrating. Chronic stress can also add to anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. This can also contribute to health problems such as depression, obesity and heart disease. To make matters worse, people who suffer from excessive stress levels often deal with it in unhealthy ways. For example, this can be through overeating, eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes, or even abusing drugs and alcohol.
Apply strategies and tips to combat stress in the workplace
While it may be common knowledge that work often causes stress, the ways to relieve stress in the workplace are less well known. Everyone who has ever had a job has felt the pressure of work-related stress at some point. In addition, there can be stressful elements in almost any workplace, even if you love what you do. For example, you may be under short-term pressure to meet a deadline or fulfill a challenging obligation.
However, if you want to reduce work stress as it becomes chronic, it can be an overwhelming process that is detrimental to both physical and emotional health . So if you’re currently feeling stressed or anxious, or just want to relax, you can learn how to do that here. Discover some great exercises, as well as the importance of stress management in the workplace and practicing relaxation techniques.
Identify your own stressors
Keep a journal for a week or two to find out what situations cause you the most stress and how you react to them. Note your thoughts, feelings, and information about the environment, including the people and circumstances involved, the physical surroundings, and your reaction. For example, did you raise your voice in the process? Are you getting a snack from the vending machine? Are you going for a walk?
Taking notes can help you find patterns between your stressors and your reactions to them. In addition, identifying and recording stressful situations can help you understand what exactly is bothering you at work. Some of these can be subtle sources of tension, like an uncomfortable work chair or a long commute.
Develop healthy responses and start your day off right
Instead of trying to combat stress with fast food or alcohol, do your best to make healthy choices when you feel tension rising. Exercise and sports activities are effective ways to combat stress at work. Yoga can also be an excellent choice, but any other form of physical activity is also beneficial. Also, make time for hobbies and favorite pastimes. Whether it’s reading a novel, going to concerts, or playing games with your family, make time for the things you enjoy. Getting enough good sleep is also important for effective stress management. Build healthy sleep habits by limiting your caffeine intake late in the day and minimizing stimulating activities like computer and television use at night.
After struggling to feed the kids and get them to school, fighting road rage and gulping down coffee in lieu of a healthy breakfast, many people arrive at work already stressed. As a result, they are more sensitive to stress in the workplace. You may be surprised at how much it affects you when you have a stressful morning. However, if you start your day with planning, good nutrition, and a positive attitude, you may find that the stress of your job rolls off of you more easily.
Learn relaxation techniques and calm yourself down.
Some yoga exercises and techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises and mindfulness (a state in which you actively observe present experiences and thoughts without judging them) can help relieve stress at work. Start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on a simple activity such as breathing, walking or eating. The ability to focus specifically on a single activity without distraction will become stronger with practice, and you’ll find that you can apply it to many different aspects of your life.
Calm yourself down quickly with breathing exercises
When you feel frustrated or angry, it’s a heated feeling in your body that can cause you to react in a stressed way. Instead of reacting immediately and likely overreacting, you can counteract this with a cooling breathing technique. Inhale through your mouth as if you were sipping through a straw, and then exhale normally through your nose. If done correctly, you will feel a soothing, drying sensation over your tongue. This will feel like you are simply pressing the “pause” button. This gives you time to think about your response or reaction. This technique can be so powerful that it even calms the other person down.
Avoid conflicts and have clear requirements
Interpersonal conflicts put a strain on both physical and emotional health. Conflict among colleagues is often difficult to escape, so it’s a good idea to avoid such situations at work as much as possible. Don’t gossip, don’t share too many of your personal opinions about religion and politics, and stay away from peppery office humor. Also, if possible, try to avoid people who don’t work well with others. If conflict finds you anyway, make sure you know how to handle it appropriately.
Another stressor known to contribute to workplace burnout is unclear demands on employees. If you don’t know exactly what is expected of you, or if the requirements for your role are constantly changing without notice, you can become extremely stressed. If you never know if what you are doing is enough, it can be helpful to talk to your supervisor. You can take the time to go over expectations and discuss strategies to meet them. This can reduce stress in the workplace for both parties.
Reduce stress in the workplace through positive thinking
To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, workers need time to recharge and return to our pre-stress level of functioning. This recovery process requires what is known as switching off from work. Set aside periods of time when you are neither engaged in work-related activities nor thinking about work. For this reason, it is important that you disconnect from time to time, in a way that suits your needs and preferences. Don’t let your vacation days and lunch breaks go to waste.
Whenever possible, take time off to relax. That way, you can return to work refreshed and ready to give your best. If you can’t take time off, get a quick boost by turning off your smartphone. Then focus your attention on non-work activities for a while. Similar to meditating, try to remember a previously relaxing moment or place. This could be a vacation, your comfy chair at home, or even snuggling with your pet. Even recalling a distant, peaceful memory can help relieve tension and stress.