Workplace stress may be significantly affecting your health. Approximately 75 percent of doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments, according to the American Institute of Stress. Ongoing pressures in the modern workplace cause many Americans to work longer hours than ever. Changing the way you approach the workplace environment can dramatically reduce your stress and improve overall quality of life.
Recognize the Signs of Stress
The first step toward reducing workplace stress is recognizing its signs. Stress may often creep up unnoticed. Consider the following symptoms of stress:
- Muscle tension
- Increased heart rate
- Frequent headaches
- Chronic fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach pain
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Lack of motivation
- Depressed mood
- Drug or alcohol use
- Trouble sleeping
- Social withdrawal
People experience stress differently. Some have very cognitive experiences of stress, such as worry or difficulty concentrating. For others, stress manifests as chronic stomachaches or fatigue that may be so severe, medical attention is needed.
Ways to Manage Workplace Stress
Track your stressors. Keeping track of your stress level can help to identify triggers that make your experience worse. For example, perhaps you get stressed right before your big staff meeting on Wednesday mornings. Keep a stress journal for a week to identify common stressors and your typical responses. How did you feel? What did you do?
Prioritize and organize. Developing an effective structure is a great way to improve stress levels. Do you have a system for managing your workload? This might be as simple as placing a whiteboard at your desk with a daily to-do list. Prioritize tasks
Take breaks. When you have a pile of work to complete, the last thing you want is to take a break that cuts into time spent on work. However, a growing body of scientific evidence supports the notion that taking breaks actually improves productivity. Taking a quick break gives your brain a chance to recharge, allowing you to have greater focus. This could be as simple as going for a brief walk, stopping by a colleague’s office to chat, or looking at photos of your most recent vacation.
Revamp your office space. Heading to a gray cubicle each day would leave anyone feeling uninspired and stressed. Take some time to reinvigorate your office space. This could be as simple as adding some framed photographs or a couple of potted plants. Also pay attention to your office desk and chair. Sitting in an uncomfortable chair is likely to make you irritable and tense. Find an ergonomic chair that works for you, or swap your chair for a standing desk. These small adjustments can make a big difference in your attitude toward work.
Engage in relationship management. Your relationships with co–workers are important, so take the time to nurture them. Spending a few minutes each day engaging with your work colleagues not only helps you de–stress, but it improves office morale. When conflicts do arise, try to resolve them quickly and fairly. A bit of levity not only makes you more approachable, but it makes others more willing to help when you’re swamped with work.
Establish healthy boundaries. With the ubiquity of smartphones, many employees feel the need to respond to emails at any time of day or night. Take a moment for a reality check: Do you really need to be checking that email, or could it wait until morning? Set boundaries about doing work in the evenings or on weekends, and stick to them. Prioritizing your free time will help you feel calmer.
Exercise. Aerobic activity is one of the best-known ways to counteract stress. Head to the gym, take the stairs, go for a walk at lunch — anything that gets your heart pumping is good for stress levels.
Author Bio: Joel Vento oversees sales and marketing at Concept Seating. Joel brings over 20 years of experience to Concept Seating and his leadership has led to the creation of several chair products. Concept Seating produces 24/7 chairs and office task chairs for a variety of industries.
John Gatesby says
A perfect recipe to identify and deal with work-related stress that contributes majorly to our overall stress. Keeping a stress journal is a great idea to identify and deal with the stress triggers.