The number of people suffering from stress is rising and persistently feeling stressed can have serious health consequences on a person’s mental and physical health. It can be virtually impossible for most people to find a stress free job and so it’s important that they find ways to manage the stress they feel. But how can you deal with stress in the workplace?
What is stress?
Firstly it’s important to understand what stress is. Stress is the way in which our bodies respond to pressure and there are many different causes but the four main causes of stress are:
Internal stress is when people make themselves stressed by worrying about things that they have no control over or even worrying about nothing at all. This kind of stress can be addictive and believe it or not some people find themselves seeking out stressful situations.
You may have heard of the term ‘fight or flight’, this describes the bodies reaction to danger, releasing a sudden burst of adrenaline to help you either escape the situation or fight it.
Environmental stress is a response to things around you such as overcrowding and noise.
Fatigue and overwork stress
Fatigue and overwork stress builds up over time as a result of working too hard and is the type of stress most often associated with the workplace. This kind of stress can take a hard toll on your body and is often the type of stress that people feel is hardest to control.
It may be that you are experiencing a combination of different types of stress, try to research more about the types of stress you may be feeling so that you can learn how to best manage them.
How does stress affect you?
Stress is a natural response, however experiencing regular stress can put your body under serious pressure. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms including anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches and irritability and can also lead to behaviours such as overeating, social withdrawal and alcohol and drug abuse. When under stress your heart pumps faster raising your blood pressure and increasing your risk of a stroke or heart attack and stress can also weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to the cold and flu and lengthening recovery.
How can you reduce stress at work?
It’s safe to say that chronic stress is bad for both your mental and physical health and recognizing your work as a cause of chronic stress is a good place to start. Try to pinpoint the reason for your stress, is it a conflict at work, disorganisation, physical discomfort or multitasking? By pinpointing the reason for your stress you can look at finding solutions that will make your life easier.
Conflict at work
Wherever possible try to stay away from conflict at work. Don’t participate in office gossip, keep your personal opinions to yourself and try to steer clear of those people who cause friction. If the source of your stress is workplace bullying then speak to your line manager and don’t suffer in silence. Some conflict will be impossible to steer clear of and so it’s important to learn strategies to help you deal with them when they should arise.
Feeling disorganised is a very common source of workplace stress and simply being better organised with your time can help alleviate many of your problems. Try giving yourself more workplace structure, write a to-do-list and practice better time management.
If your job involves you working in discomfort then you are bound to be feeling stressed. Ensure your working environment is set up ergonomically and take note of other factors such as noise that may be stressing you.
Spinning too many plates and feeling overloaded at work is another very common cause of workplace stress. It’s important to learn to speak up when you are at your limits. Sometimes it’s not possible to reduce your workload and so the only solution is to learn how to better manage it. Multitasking is now a concept of the past, try solotasking to get a better handle of your projects by focusing on one thing at a time rather than overloading your brain.
What if the stress is too much?
Sometimes it may be necessary to take a break from work to help you recover from the damaging effects of stress in order to come back to work in a good state of health. Speak to your doctor if you feel you need to take some time off work for stress and consider visiting a holistic addiction rehab and treatment centre to learn about holistic treatment methods, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, which can help to teach you tactics to better manage your stress when you later return to work.