Stress is your body’s response to emotional or mental pressure. Sometimes stress may be good for you because it makes you perform better to overcome the situations that are causing it. Stress becomes a problem when you are not able to manage it.
In such a situation, you have to find ways to reduce stress at work; otherwise, this will lead to grave consequences, such as depression. When this happens, it damages your relationships, your moods and has a very negative impact on your health.
Causes of Workplace Stress
- Long hours
- Heavy workload
- Tight deadlines
- Job insecurity
- Boring work
- Insufficient skills for the job
- Inadequate working environment
- Lack of proper resources
- Few promotional opportunities
- Poor relationships with colleagues or bosses
Effects of Uncontrolled Stress at Workplace
Almost all of us have experienced the pressure of an upcoming deadline even after we make the commute home. Sometimes these pressure acts normal, but if this persists, it can really wreak havoc on employee well-being and health. Workplace stress is rapidly growing into a major health epidemic, with serious consequences for both employers and employees.
Uncontrolled stress in the workplace leads to physical impacts such as headaches, sleep disturbances, stomach related issues, cardiovascular diseases, and raised blood pressure. This also continues with the emotional fallout, including irritability, emotional dysregulation, depression, and anxiety.
Individuals who have ever worked themselves to the burnout point can also recognise other symptoms such as lack of concentration, difficulty with the thought process, lack of motivation, poor decision making and memory loss.
When an employee’s health and wellness is impacted by stress, it contributes to poor organisational performance. The impact of employee burnout includes:
- High absenteeism
- High labour turnover
- Poor timekeeping
- Poor performance and productivity
- Increased employee complaints
- Increased health issues, accidents and incidents reports
How to Reduce Stress at Work
Work-related stress arises when work demands of an organisation exceed an employee’s capacity and capability to cope. Given below are some simple ways to reduce stress at work.
1. Stay Organised
Having plenty of things to do can make you overwhelmed and stressed. Even if you are a disorganised person, learn to do proper planning and stay organised to reduce your work stress.
Get an overall view of what you should deliver in a day or a week forward. Make sure not to write never-ending lists. If you have so many tasks to complete within a deadline, learn to prioritise. Highlight the things you need to get done first and leave the rest for later.
2. Practice Yoga
Practise yoga for anxiety and depression to deal with workplace stress. Apart from reduced stress, regular yoga helps to open creative doorways in the brain. It improves focus and problem-solving skills.
As a result of increased energy levels due to yoga practice, the employees will become more productive and motivated to work.
3. Form positive relations
It is a known fact that employees interact more with their colleagues than their loved ones during a typical work week. Positive interactions between colleagues and mates are not only important for a better work environment, but it can also foster higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction.
Negative relationships in the workplace increase stress levels among employees, as well as feelings of isolation. Both negatively impacts employees’ physical and mental health.
4. Stay away from conflicts
Interpersonal conflicts can surely take a toll on your physical as well as emotional health. In the workplace, there are times when a conflict occurs among co-workers that can be difficult to escape.
It is always better to avoid these conflicts as much as you can. Stop gossiping and never share your personal opinions on politics and religion. If possible, try avoiding people who don’t work well with others. In case if the conflict finds you, learn to handle them properly.
5. Keep an inspirational wall
Make an altar in your office to remind you that you have a life outside the office. Hang pictures of your friends, spouse, kids, pet, or a picture of yourself doing something fun and great.
When you feel that you have reached the saturation point of your work, take a few minutes and simply stare at the display. Relax and recall the day each picture was taken. Now that you are relaxed, you will get rid of the excessive stress.
6. Talk to your boss
Excessive workload, lack of support, low or delayed salaries and no control over work decisions lead to work-related stress. If you deal with any of these issues, it is high time to have an open conversation with your boss. Tell your boss the reason for your stress. Ask for clear requirements and an updated description of your job responsibilities to make the situation better.
7. Eat healthy and nutritious food
When we are stressed, our brain releases cortisol. This makes us crave sweet, salty, and fat-laden foods for the temporary pleasure they bring. But, this leads to more problem. Sugar or fat-laden foods such as burger, pizza, and ice cream can make us feel lethargic.
It makes us less likely to tackle the situations or problems that lay before us, which in turn increases stress. That is why it is recommended to eat healthy foods rich in complex carbohydrates that fuel our brains and improve focus and concentration. This will help you reduce stress at work.
If you are not sure what to eat? Read the tips given below.
- Take complex carbs such as whole-wheat bread and vegetables.
- Eat super foods like Kale, Dark Chocolate, and blueberries that contain mood-boosting antioxidants.
- Fibrous fruits and vegetables.
- Lean proteins including chicken.
8. Use technology to stay on track
At times technology makes you feel stressed and out of control. But it definitely can help you get rid of the workplace stress in a number of ways. Use project management tools, digital calendars and to-do lists to help you stay focused and keep track of the most important work every day.
Track your progress using time tracking apps available online. This will keep you motivated as well as in control of you spend your working hours. Use website and distraction blockers to protect you from social media-induced procrastination.
9. Set boundaries
It is always necessary to keep clear boundaries around the workday or else you will be tempted to keep working. When you reduce your temptation to overwork, you identify what is forcing you to put in long work hours.
Once you identify the reason for your stress, try to reduce them. Try creating a daily schedule with non-negotiable time for your most important work.
10. Reduce the chance of miscommunication
Emails and other communication formats create more uncertainty than clarify. For example, your boss might have said “Sure” to one of your request to take the lead on a project. But do you think that it is a good sure? Or a bad sure? Or an indifferent sure? In such a situation, if you are feeling workplace stress, go more personal like a meeting or a phone call.
11. Make some time for yourself
Just like you recharge batteries, recharge yourself by spending time for yourself to establish a good work/life balance.
A little stress in your life is not that bad, but if you reach a point where you feel that things are going downhill, you should definitely drop it and take a walk.