5 Ways To Deal With Work Place Stress
Every year 11 million days are lost at workplaces due to stress.
Despite many employees reporting suffering from stress, it is still something people are unwilling to talk about. Stress is not a weakness. It can happen to anyone.
As a graduate or intern, moving from your degree to the world of work, all the new timetables and opportunities can seem especially overwhelming. If the job does not turn out how you anticipated, you might feel isolated and negative. Even if it is all you dreamed of, the new routines and high expectations can leave you nervous or indecisive.
These emotions, although perfectly normal to begin with, can also be signs of stress and if suffered to a more acute degree these can begin to impact your work. Stress is not an illness, but it can make you physically ill.
There are ways that employers can contribute to keeping your stress levels manageable. Yet, it is important to know how you can protect yourself as well.
Here are 5 strategies for dealing with workplace stress.
Know what stresses you out
While a little bit of pressure is needed to motivate and inspire, too much can have the opposite effect.
The most common stress triggers in a workplace include: the amount of control exercised by management, the amount of support given by management, workplace relationships, and how change is managed in an organisation.
Everyone is different and so everyone will have different strategies for effective working. For example, some people like to be more closely managed while other personality types struggle with micromanagement. In the same way that it is important to know how you learn, it is important to understand how you work.
It is only once you work out the cause of a problem that you can find steps to solve it.
Communicate with colleagues
Once you understand what stress impacts your work, it is important to discuss this with your manager. Most good managers will be willing to work with you to strategise how best to organise your workload and help you achieve your full potential.
If you are unfortunate enough to find that the problem you have is with your manager, then make sure you know who else to talk to inside your organisation. A lot of organisations will use a mentor system to give you someone to talk to besides your direct line manager or have a HR department for these sorts of eventualities.
In general, having colleagues to share experiences with is invaluable. We are not saying that you need to go out every Friday night for drinks with them, but a few positive relationships can really help ease feelings of isolation and give a sense of working towards a common goal.
Think about your food choices
Have you ever had a tough day and come home to eat an entire tub of ice cream? You are not alone.
Stress eating is common but can actually have an even worse effect on both your physical and mental health.
Food choices is something to think about to improve your equilibrium. Avoid trashy sweet foods that lead to sugar crashes and focus instead on fruit or nuts to give you natural energy boosts.
Eat a good breakfast to give you the start you need to the day and drink plenty of water. It sounds simple but plenty of people think skipping breakfast and lunch is the best choice when snowed under with work. In actual fact, this just heaps on the stress.
Check out these stress-busting foods and the science behind them.
Maintain a good work/life balance
The nature of a good work/life balance varies from person to person. It is a phrase you are likely to have heard before with a deceptively simple meaning: maintaining a comfortable ratio of time spent working versus time spent on other aspects of your life. Everyone’s priorities are different, depending on circumstances and age, so there is no set formula for the perfect work/life balance. Only you will know what works for you.
Sometimes your family and friends will notice before you do that you are working too much. Juggling priorities in all aspects of your life can be a challenge. Be aware that you need time to unwind from work in order to prevent burn out.
Don’t be afraid of change
The average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times in their life. Most people do not spend more than 5 years in each role, especially earlier on in their career journeys.
Do not be afraid to experiment and move on if a job does not suit you. Higher pay is not the only reason to look for greener pastures. Common reasons to seek out change include striking that work-life balance, career advancement, and (you guessed it) stress.
You will only reach your full potential in a job that you are suited to and suits you.
Cat Dennis is a history graduate living and writing in Canterbury. For more, visit Cat’s blog.