How to manage work-induced stress as a modern employee
In today's fast-paced and demanding work environments, stress has become an inevitable part of the daily grind. Characterised by tight deadlines, high expectations, and constant connectivity, modern workplaces can take a toll on employees' mental and physical well-being. As such, let's take a look at the causes behind workplace-induced stress and how you, as a modem employee, can manage it.
What causes stress in a workplace?
Work-related stress often arises from various factors that tend to be interconnected. According to an article by the American Psychological Association, the key contributors to workplace stress include inadequate compensation, overwhelming workloads, and limited chances for professional development. Employees who find their work uninteresting or unchallenging might also suffer from stress; as might those who lack autonomy in job-related decisions.
Oftentimes, insufficient social support is a major proponent of workplace stress. When employees feel isolated or lonely at work, they feel disconnected from their social surroundings, which can amplify stress among individuals who may not have a proper support system to share their concerns, seek advice, or engage in casual conversations. Having colleagues or superiors to discuss work challenges with can provide fresh perspectives and potential solutions. Without this support network, employees may find it difficult to navigate complex issues, increasing their stress levels.
Helpful stress management strategies
Even though workplace stress can often feel like that one annoying companion that never seems to go away, there are some effective strategies you can use to manage and alleviate it, even in a professional setting.
According to an article by the University of Rochester Medical Center, the first thing to do when faced with high-pressure workplace situations is to take a moment and assess your thoughts. Are you overthinking the situation? Is the solution simpler than you might think? Consider the impact this immediate problem might have on your reputation or income. Sometimes, what seems overwhelming may be more manageable when viewed objectively.
Efficient time and priority management are potent stress-busting tools. Begin each day by creating a to-do list, and prioritising tasks based on urgency and importance. Avoid overloading your schedule and allocate time for potential interruptions.
Take regular breaks
Incorporate hourly mini-breaks into your routine for physical and mental stress relief. Do simple stretches for your shoulders, back, and neck after sitting on your chair for a long time. Also, do not underestimate the importance of lunchtime. It is often the only time during your office work that you can recharge, step away from your desk, and refresh your mind. So, utilise your breaks as best as you can.
Make realistic commitments
Workplace stress is often caused by taking on more work than you can handle. If you already have a lot of work on your plate, politely decline any additional tasks you may be given. Be realistic about your workload by acknowledging your own limits. If there's a coworker or boss who wants to put too much on your plate, communicate your problem effectively so the stress doesn't accumulate further.
Relax and get comfortable
Integrate short periods of rest into your daily routine. Find a comfortable space, close your eyes, and focus on calming your mind. Practice controlled breathing while repeating a soothing word, such as 'peace' or 'relax'. This simple yet effective exercise can release pent-up tension whenever you may need it to. Some people also relax by visualising a place they love for 5 to 10 minutes - an imaginative exercise which gives them a welcome escape from workplace stressors.
For further help
If you find that workplace-induced stress is significantly impacting your life, there are several steps you can take to seek further help.
Workplace wellness programs: Check with your employer or HR if your workplace has wellness programs that specifically address stress management. Some companies offer initiatives such as yoga classes, stress reduction workshops, or wellness challenges. Taking advantage of these programs can contribute to a healthier work environment.
Professional counselling services: Seeking the assistance of a mental health professional can be highly beneficial. Psychologists, counsellors, and therapists can provide personalised strategies and a safe space for you to express your thoughts and emotions.
Physical activity: Regular exercise is known to have positive effects on mental health. Consider joining fitness classes or engaging in physical activities that you enjoy. This not only helps manage stress but also contributes to overall well-being.
Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and prioritising your mental health is crucial for long-term success and happiness in both your personal and professional life. If workplace-induced stress persists, do not hesitate to reach out to professionals who can support you on your journey to well-being.