Stress, we’ve all been there. Unfortunately, in today’s busy society, people experience stress at work and at home. You may be okay managing it at home, but at work is a different story because not everything is within your control.
What Is Workplace Stress?
As the phrase implies, workplace stress happens at your place of employment. At your workplace, there may be many things that cause you tension on a day-to-day basis.
Your boss may intimidate you, disrespect you, or harass you. Your personal life and work can be in conflict, which can lead to stress. You and your colleagues might come in disagreement with a project. You might have to work overtime if you have work due the next day. A lot of things can happen in a workplace.
Understanding your stressors is the first step in dealing with them. Because it’s your workplace, you may not be able to eliminate it, but managing stress to the best of your ability is doable with some planning.
Tips to Combat Workplace Stress
Communicate With Someone
If you don’t say anything, stress will eat you alive. If you’re comfortable talking to your supervisor, they can intervene or help you solve your issue. You may also have a trusted colleague or mentor who can offer you advice.
A major key to managing stress is communicating what is happening around you, so you can get help to eliminate your stress. You’ll be surprised how much burden is lifted from you when you ask for help.
Recharge Your Batteries
You cannot do your best if you’re stressed and distracted. You may need that little rejuvenation to help you out. For some, it’s taking the long way to get a coffee in the lunchroom. For others, it’s grabbing your earbuds, walking outside, and getting some fresh air, even for only five minutes. Or maybe you take the stairs instead of the elevator so you can have a few minutes to gather your thoughts.
The important thing is to physically leave your desk. Doing so changes your perspective, boosts your energy and productivity, and reduces stress. Once you try it, you’ll see a major difference in your mental state.
Sometimes you need help with managing stress. Talk to that one colleague who’s the “glass half full” person and always gives you a positive outlook regarding your circumstances. See if your workplace may has an Employee Assistance Program, or if counseling is covered in your private health coverage, where you can seek the help of a trained professional. A mental health professional can truly help people in managing stress. There is no stigma in seeking help to improve your well-being.
Do you have a toxic co-worker or supervisor who loves to give you more work? At some point during your career, you will meet one. It’s crucial to set boundaries, even before you encounter such a person.
Toxic people can easily go on a tangent that increases stress levels for you or others. Even worse, if this person gets sidetracked when you both need to meet a deadline for your boss. You don’t have time to deal with a toxic co-worker. By letting this person know sooner rather than later that you will not tolerate their unhealthy behavior, they will hopefully tend to stay on task.
Another example is when you have a supervisor who loves to give you nonstop work. You might have a lot of work, but they love to give you work. By understanding your limit, you can say “no.” No one likes to work overtime. You have to know your priority, and that is you.
Stay Away From Conflict
No matter where you work, there will always be drama or conflict. You may have been in meetings where everyone in the room can feel the tension when certain people are in attendance. There will be those who love to gossip and spread rumors. You may know people who are interested in other people’s personal lives.
Gossip can cause irreparable harm. Whenever possible, it’s better to stay away from these types of people. Instead of worrying about gossip, you should focus on your work to avoid conflict with anyone. It will simplify your life.
Let Go of Perfection
For some people, this is easier said than done. Depending on your personality, you may be one of those people who need things to be perfect. You may fret about being judged. You may worry that people will think less of you. Does this keep you up at night? You need to let it go.
This may be challenging, especially if you must do this in stages to slowly relinquish your perfectionism. It can be done, but it might take time. Be patient with yourself. The world is not going to end if your work is not perfect.
Take Care of Yourself
This is the most crucial tip that people often neglect. Have you heard of the expression “looking out for number one”? No one is more invested in your well-being than you. No one. If managing stress is what you need to do to take care of yourself, then do it. Make yourself the priority.
There are so many stressors in our lives today. It’s more important than ever to make sure that you’re managing stress properly. The workplace, even more so, because you spend so much time at the office (or wherever you work). If you know that stress is causing you issues in the workplace, now is the time to do something about it.
By trying the tips above, you will improve your life. You’ll feel better about your job, be more productive, and have better health. You won’t be losing sleep at night thinking about the next day, and your family and friends may tell you that you seem more relaxed and not so stressed.
What happens at work does impact your personal life. You may reach your breaking point and realize that you haven’t been managing stress as well as you thought. Don’t get to that point. Look out for yourself often.
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This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website Wealth of Geeks. Bonnie Ferrero, MSW, LSW, is a Licensed Social Worker and experienced Mental Health and Employee Assistance Counselor.