How to handle workplace stress
Even though stress at work is as common as the air you breathe, it is almost impossible to find a job that is devoid of or at least does not have much stress. Since you cannot avoid stress, the best course of action is to cope.
Here are some techniques on how you can better handle stress at work:
Start the day right
A stressful morning will ultimately lead to a stressful day. However, if you start the day right, maybe with proper planning, a good breakfast, and a positive outlook, then you will discover that you can better handle work-related stress.
Be clear on requirements
A huge factor that contributes to workplace burnout is the unclear requirement or expectation of the bosses for the employees. It is normal to feel stress if you do not know what is expected from you, and even more so if your role keeps changing with little to no notice. If this seems to be the biggest source of your stress, talk with your immediate supervisor about it.
Steer clear from office conflicts
Always be civil when dealing with your co-workers. Having any kind of conflict with them will take a huge toll on your mental and emotional health. Avoid participating in office politics as much as you can, and never partake in interpersonal rumors.
Keep your workspace organized
Even if you believe yourself to be a naturally disorganized person, you should try your best to keep your workspace organized. This will prevent you from getting overly stressed at work. Your goal is to have less clutter on your desk as it also means less clutter in your mind.
Sitting in an uncomfortable chair for a few minutes might not seem stressful, but if you have to use it for hours on end, muscle pains and a sore back will surely make you more prone to stress. It is not just the uncomfortable furniture.
Even office noise can distract you from your work and make you feel frustrated. If your chair is the problem, ask for a more ergonomic one from the management. If it is not possible, get yourself one of those memory foam seat cushions.
Keep perfectionism in check
Some people might think that being a perfectionist is a positive trait, but the truth is, it is not. It will cause you and the people around you stress. One good way to avoid being a perfectionist is to just strive to do your best, and always commend yourself on your achievements. Do not forget to give yourself a break from time to time, too.
What is Stress?
Stress refers to the human body’s natural and very normal reaction when exposed to a potentially dangerous situation. When you experience stress, your brain goes on overdrive, producing chemicals and hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
This sudden onset of brain chemicals causes your heart to beat faster so it can send blood into your muscles and organs. This makes you feel energized so you can focus on keeping yourself safe from dangerous situation. In short, stress is part of your body’s fight or flight response.
Are All Kinds of Stress Bad?
Stress is not inherently bad. For one thing, stress helped humankind’s hunter-gatherer ancestors survive. It is still helpful in today’s modern world. Stress can be helpful when it heightens your senses, so you somehow avoid accidents. It even helps you focus when you are trying to meet a deadline. Moreover, it can keep your wits about you when you find yourself in a potentially chaotic situation.
Everyone experiences stress sometimes. However, people have different thresholds for it. Let’s take public speaking as an example. Some people are deathly scared of doing it but others love doing it. Some people love the thrill that comes with public speaking to the point that they use the stress to energize themselves.
When is Stress Unhealthy?
Here is the thing about stress. It must only be temporary. Once you have weathered through the fight or flight situation, your heart rate and breathing should return to normal. Your body should go back to normal in just a couple of moments. It should not leave any lasting negative effects.
It is when stress gets too severe, happens too frequently, or takes a very long time to subside that it can be harmful to the body. Almost 80% of Americans reported that they experienced at least one stressful situation every month. The remaining 20% reported that they are under extreme stress currently.
As said earlier, seeing as stress is part of human nature, there is no way to avoid it all the time completely. However, you can learn to manage stress when you do encounter it.
How Can You Manage Stress?
One way to manage stress is to exercise when you feel the symptoms starting to creep in. It also helps to think of the things you managed to accomplish, not the things you weren’t able to do at the end of each day. Another crucial tip is to set small and achievable goals for the week. It lets you narrow your view, which is a big help in feeling in control.
If it gets worse, talk to a therapist. Note that stress, in acceptable amounts can help you. However, ensure that it does not get out of hand and starts to ruin the rest of your life.