Dealing with stress in the workplace has long been a problem for businesses. Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfil a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelming—and harmful to both physical and emotional health.
Stress is a normal part of life; some stress is beneficial and motivating, but when stress becomes overwhelming, it can have a negative impact on a person's mental health. Recognising the warning signs and intervening early can help prevent feelings from spiraling out of control. Taking steps to manage workplace stress is critical for both employers and employees in order to create a mentally healthy working environment where people feel supported.
Workplace stress manifests itself in a variety of ways, and it is critical to understand how to recognise it and effectively deal with it so that it does not escalate. Let's take a look at some scenarios and strategies you can employ the next time you're stressed at work.
Common sources of work stress
Certain factors tend to go hand-in-hand with work-related stress. Some common workplace stressors are:
- Low salaries
- Excessive workloads
- Few opportunities for growth or advancement
- Work that isn’t engaging or challenging
- Lack of social support
- Not having enough control over job-related decisions
- Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations
Manage your Workload
When we work too much, we put ourselves at risk of burnout—a psychological syndrome that leaves us constantly exhausted, overly cynical, and feeling like nothing we do matters.
Everyone needs help from time to time and discussing your workload with your manager is important if you’re struggling. Simply getting your worries off your chest can help, and together you can work to set realistic targets. It’s okay to place boundaries: say no. Strong boundaries are essential in any healthy relationship, including your relationship with your employer.
Accepting a task that you are unable to complete may result in an excessive amount of stress in addition to the task being poorly completed. And without clear boundaries around the workday (and even during the workday), you’ll always be tempted to keep working. You might have a conversation with your boss about expectations and deadlines. They might be able to help you set boundaries at work and resolve any time-management issues you're having.
An important strategy to help manage your workload is prioritising your work. By learning how to prioritize means getting more out of the limited time you have each day. It’s one of the cornerstones of productivity and once you know how to properly prioritize, it can help with everything from your time management to work-life balance.
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to feel pressure to be available 24 hours a day. Establish some work-life boundaries for yourself. That might mean making a rule not to check email from home in the evening, or not answering the phone during dinner. Although people have different preferences when it comes to how much they blend their work and home life, creating some clear boundaries between these realms can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the stress that goes with it.
Knowing what your stressors are can help you anticipate them, making long-term stress management easier. For example, if deadlines make you anxious, you may need to request longer lead times or begin earlier. If you don't have enough time to complete all of your responsibilities, you may want to automate some of them. If this isn't possible at work, try to spend some time thinking about it outside of work. Consider making a list of everything that usually causes you a lot of stress at work. Try to write at least two possible ways to deal with those stressors next to each.
Ask for Support
Clarity about expectations and performance are important steps toward feeling more confident and less stressed at work. However, having an honest and open relationship with your boss is a critical factor. Having a difficult conversation about workplace stress, especially with your boss, is never easy. However, it can assist you in focusing on what is best for your own mental well-being, which will benefit the company.
They will have the tools and resources to inform you about what the workplace has to offer. Many workplaces provide programmes such as counselling to assist you in getting through these trying times. Take the time to explain how you manage your professional and personal lives to a friend, co-worker, or family member. Don't be afraid to express your worries and concerns. The vast majority of people are going through the same thing and are unsure how to discuss it with others. If you're feeling disconnected from your co-workers, try to find a way to reach out to them. When you are able to express your emotions, your thoughts become clearer.
Give Yourself a Break
If you've been under a lot of stress at work, it's okay to reward yourself and find a work-life balance. Create habits! It's possible that this is easier said than done... Try muting teams or deleting the email app from your phone. This is especially useful if you work remotely, as it can be difficult to unwind after a long day at work.
Why not make the most of your paid holidays? Take advantage of the time off you are entitled to and use it to reset your mind: plan a holiday, go to movies, visit family, or do anything else that you enjoy and will help you feel more relaxed. Try to balance things out by taking advantage of your free time, such as weekends. These activities can assist you in unwinding and enjoying life. This, in turn, can fuel your creativity and help you find fresh perspectives on your work.
These small steps can make a big difference in reducing stress, building resilience, and improving your mental health in the workplace. If you're still stressed about working in your current role and are open to looking for opportunities then contact our recruitment team today.
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