From 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, 24 to 60 years… that is a big chunk of any individual’s life. It is unwise to spend that chunk enduring or merely coping with unpleasant situations in hope that the hours beyond 5pm, the weekends and retirement would provide some respite. They won’t. Work-related stress does not just disappear at the close of work. It is constantly piling up, and if not properly treated, it can create very serious consequences that reflect in symptoms like concentration difficulties, headaches, stomach aches, sleep disturbances and a bad temper. The long terms consequences are always building up too: insomnia and hypertension.
Some of the most common causes of work-related stress are: Excessive work, Low salaries, Lack of career opportunities, Lack of social support, Personal life interference, Excessive performance expectations and Bad interpersonal relationships. Since stress is almost certain to occur in the workplace, here is a 5-step routine that will help you manage stress and minimize its consequences.
- Start writing your stress journal
Keep a journal of the most stressful situations you face on a daily basis. You should also record your thoughts, feelings, and reactions, as well as all the people and circumstances involved. This type of journal will help you find your stress patterns and develop healthy responses to future stressful moments.
- Learn how to respond to stress in a healthy way
Whatever the cause, you shouldn’t fight your stress with fast food, cigarettes or alcohol. You should take healthy choices instead. Try exercise, yoga or meditation, because these activities are both healthy and relaxing. You can also spend some time with your family, find a stress-relieving hobby or read a book. Having plenty of healthy sleep is also essential for successful stress management.
- Establish strict boundaries
Create strict boundaries between your professional and personal life. You shouldn’t check your emails in the evening and answer boss’s calls while eating dinner or spending some quality time with your family. These boundaries will reduce the work-life conflict and all the stress that go with it.
- Get some professional support
The best way to relieve your stress is to talk to a psychologist or some other expert specialized in stress management. Find a psychologist with the best references and education or choose a local expert. This way, you will have more time for other relaxing activities.
- Talk to your boss
Stress-free employees are more productive and that’s why your superiors should create a work environment that promotes employee well-being. You should talk to your boss and try to come up with an effective plan that will help them to manage the stressors you’ve identified. Bosses can help employees to relieve their stress in many different ways. They can reorganize the work process, introduce additional breaks or send their employees to stress management trainings.
There are plenty of relaxation and stress-relief techniques you can choose from. Meditation, deep breathing exercises and mindfulness will help you to manage your stress levels and become more focused and productive at work. If the level of work-related stress is too high, you should take some time off. Vacation is a perfect time for you to replenish your energy and return your stress levels back to normal.
Have you ever been stressed? What did you do about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.