As talented as you can be, being productive and thriving in a hostile workplace or dealing with stressful situations can be difficult. Here are some ways you can deal with workplace challenges and stress.
Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfill a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelming — and harmful to both physical and emotional health. Learning how to deal with and manage stress is critical to maximising job performance and maintaining both physical and mental wellbeing.
Some common workplace stressors are:
In the short term, a stressful work environment can contribute to problems such as headache, stomachache, sleep disturbances, short temper and difficulty concentrating. Chronic stress can result in anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
It can also contribute to health conditions such as depression, obesity and heart disease. Compounding the problem, people who experience excessive stress often deal with it in unhealthy ways such as overeating, eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes or abusing drugs and alcohol
While the causes can be something other than job stress, here are the most common symptoms and early warning signs of job stress and burnout:
Physical problems (headaches, stomach problems)
When job and workplace stress threatens to overwhelm you, there are simple, practical steps you can take to regain control.
Create a balanced schedule. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Try to find a balance between work and family life, social activities and solitary pursuits, daily responsibilities and downtime.
Leave earlier in the morning. Even 10-15 minutes can make the difference between frantically rushing and having time to ease into your day.
Plan regular breaks. Make sure to take short breaks throughout the day to take a walk or chat to a friendly face.
Establish healthy boundaries. Many of us keep checking our smartphones for work-related messages and updates. But it’s important to maintain periods where you’re not working or thinking about work.
Prioritise tasks. Tackle high-priority tasks first. If you have something particularly unpleasant to do, get it over with early.
Break projects into small steps. If a large project seems overwhelming, focus on one manageable step at a time, rather than taking on everything at once.
Delegate responsibility. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Let go of the desire to control every little step.
Don't over-commit yourself. Avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day.
9. Break bad habits that contribute to workplace stress.
Many of us make job stress worse with negative thoughts and behaviour. If you can turn around these self-defeating habits, you’ll find employer-imposed stress easier to handle.
Resist perfectionism. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself, you’re setting yourself up to fall short.
Flip your negative thinking. If you focus on the downside of every situation and interaction, you'll find yourself drained of energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, and avoid negative-thinking co-workers.
Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.
Look for humour in the situation. When used appropriately, humour is a great way to relieve stress in the workplace.
Clean up your act. If you're always running late, set your clocks and watches fast and give yourself extra time.
Fight through the clutter. Taking the time to organise your desk or workspace can help ease the sense of losing control that comes from too much clutter. Keeping a to-do list — and then crossing things off it — also helps.
10. Be proactive about your job and your workplace duties
When we feel uncertain, helpless, or out of control, our stress levels are the highest. Here are some things you can do to regain a sense of control over your job and career.
Talk to your employer about workplace stressors. Rather than rattle off a list of complaints, let your employer know about specific conditions that are impacting your work performance.
Clarify your job description. Ask your supervisor for an updated description of your job duties and responsibilities.
Request a transfer. If your workplace is large enough, you might be able to escape a toxic environment by transferring to another department.
Ask for new duties. If you've been doing the exact same work for a long time, ask to try something new: a different grade level, a different sales territory, a different machine.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)