Stress isn’t new in the workplace. For some of us, the stress comes with the territory. While some stress is normal, excessive stress can affect your performance and cause your physical and mental health to deteriorate. It’s the control factor. When it comes to work, you can’t control everything in your environment. Don’t look at it as powerlessness, it’s just a temporary (sticky) situation.
Common causes of workplace stress
- No room for growth
- Excessive workload
- Low salary package
- Long working hours
- Poor working conditions
- No form of support
- No say or control over work-related decisions
- Conflicting performance expectations or work demands
That being said, how do you know when your stress levels are too high? It’s when it exceeds your ability to cope or function at work and at home. Here’s how you regain that sense of control at the office.
Make better food choices
It’s not an entire lifestyle overhaul (unless it needs to be), but the food you eat could affect your ability to stay focused and able to work. Maintain your blood sugar levels by eating small, healthy meals more frequently. Cut back on sugary, baked and comfort food. These “feel good” meals can cause your energy levels to crash and your mood to dip. Instead, opt for more food with Omega-3.
Do not skip meals
Working those extra hours may not take so much of a toll on your life if you took care of your nutrition and overall health. Supporting your work habits with adequate sleep, exercise and the right amount of nutrition can make a difference. Remember, your food choices can impact how you feel during the work day and skipping meals can make you feel worse.
An effective way to increase your energy levels, focus, relaxation and mood is exercise. To minimise the effects of stress, it is recommended to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. To make it even easier to do, break it up into shorter segments. Walks are a good way to start and it helps you get your balance back on track. Calming exercises and stretching at your desk can help too.
Got a lot on your plate? Tackle one thing at a time. Trying to multitask and failing to accomplish anything will only stress you out more. When your day seems more manageable, the more at ease you will feel approaching each task. A schedule can help you stay on top of things.
It’s also important to establish boundaries. Learning when to say no when you have too much on your plate is essential.
Take time to recharge
We all need some time for ourselves. which is why your downtime is just as important as your sleep time. Focus on your family life, social activities and your interests when you’re not at your 9 – 5.
While you’re at it, don’t think about work related activities during your vacation either. Unwinding and disconnecting from the office will ensure that you feel properly recharged and reinvigorated when you get back to your grind.
Track your stressors
At times, your negative behaviour makes your workplace stress worse. Turning these self-defeating habits around requires you to resist the urge to set unrealistic goals. Focus on what you can do well. Enjoy the small accomplishments and avoid hanging with negative co-workers.
While you’re at it, think more positive thoughts about work. Keeping a stress journal is said to have helped some professionals. For two weeks, write down the stressful situations you’ve encountered and your response to them. This will help you identify the situations you’d want to avoid in the future and how to react better to the unexpected or unavoidable.
Talk to your manager
When it’s all still overwhelming, it’s time you sit down with your manager. Getting support doesn’t mean you’re failing, it means you recognise things aren’t working and are willing to make some adjustments. A one-on-one talk can help both parties address the situation in a calm manner.
Is stress at work avoidable? Let us know how you tackle your stressors in the comment section below!