According to the latest research, there are a large number of people stressed at work. Being stressed at work can have serious consequences for your health and personal relationships. People suffering with work stress are more likely to suffer minor illnesses such as colds and flu. However, it can also increase the likelihood of more serious diseases such as heart disease. Finding a job which is less stressful is not always an option. There are several reasons why a person could be feeling stressed. They include:
• Heavy workload
• Poor salary
• Little chance of promotion
• Work isn’t challenging enough
• No control over work-related decisions
• Very little social support
• Management expectations which are unclear
The effects of stress in the workplace are far-reaching. This is because the stress you’re feeling during your working day will follow you and continue when you get home.
How Work Stress Can Affect You
There are both short term and long terms issues connected to work-related stress. In the short term you may suffer from headaches, stomach problems, disturbed sleep, change in temperament and lack of concentration. If the stress is allowed to continue, it could result in high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety and a weakened immune system. Depression, obesity and heart disease are also more common. In order to deal with stress, people often resort to unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking too much, taking drugs, overeating or eating unhealthy foods. These bad habits only make the problem worse.
Work Stress Can be Managed
Stress in the workplace can affect anyone at any time. Even people with the best paying hospital jobs, which you think would be a rewarding vocation, can suffer extreme levels of stress. The good news is that there are certain strategies you can adopt to reduce your stress levels.
Keep a Journal
If you think you’ve got a problem with stress, keep a journal for a couple of weeks. Doing so will help you to identify the areas of your job that are making you stressed and highlight the ways in which you are reacting to them. Include details of your thoughts, how you were feeling and what was happening. Make a note of the people who were around at the time, how they reacted to the situation and the circumstances you found yourself in. For example, did you storm off, slamming the doors behind you? Perhaps you immediately headed for the vending machine for a sugary snack. Did you shout at those around you or choose to go for a walk? Only by taking notes can you identify patterns and seek to change them.
Make Healthy Choices
Once you’ve identified the situations which are causing you the most stress and how you have been choosing to respond to them, you can do your best to change the responses. When you feel the stress levels rising, take time out and go for a walk or enjoy a spot of exercise. Exercise has been shown to be a great stress reliever. Yoga is one particular form of exercise you can practice in the workplace. As long as an activity is physical, it will be of benefit to you. Other ways to relieve stress are to take up a new hobby. It’s important that you make the time to do things that give you pleasure. It could be something as simple as reading a book or spending time with family or friends. A good night’s sleep is also important in reducing stress. Cut out the caffeine-rich drinks late at night and limit stimulating activities such as watching TV and using the computer.
You Don’t Need to be Available 24/7
Today’s digital world puts us under pressure to be on call 24 hours a day. Don’t be afraid to switch your mobile off after a certain time in the evening. Make it a rule not to answer emails in the evening or answer your phone when you’re sat enjoying dinner with the family. It’s important for your health and wellbeing to have a good balance between work and home life. If you happen to work from home, this is all the more important.
Recharge Your Batteries
The negative effects of stress can be avoided if you take time out on a regular basis. It’s vital you switch off from work and think about other things. You will have to find a way that fits your own personal needs, but it is possible. Everyone is entitled to time off and holiday time, so make sure you take every opportunity to relax and unwind. By doing so, you’ll be able to return to work feeling invigorated and ready to perform to the best of your ability.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
We seem to have lost the ability to relax and enjoy doing nothing at all. Don’t worry, however, because it is possible to learn techniques that will help you relax. Deep breathing exercises and meditation are techniques that can be used to melt away the stress. Start off in a small way by practicing for a few minutes every day. You’ll get better at them and be able to apply them in other aspects of your life.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Support
You might think you’re on your own, but there are many people who will be happy to offer you some support. Trusted friends and family members will be able to help you manage stress. Ask your employer as well, because there may be an employee assistance program you can participate in. There is also a wealth of information available online.
Stress in the workplace is a common complaint. Even though we are surrounded by labor-saving devices and technology, the number of people suffering only seems to be increasing. The tips that have been shared above will help you to manage your stress. If you find you are still suffering, visit your local GP, and you may be referred to a psychologist. Such a professional will be able to help you manage your stress better and change your unhealthy ways.