Workplace Stress: How Do I Handle It?

By Blessing Ogonna on

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There is nothing abnormal about workplace stress but when it interferes with your productivity, when it impacts your physical and emotional health, then, it becomes a problem that must be given urgent attention. 

Finding ways to manage workplace stress isn’t about making huge changes or rethinking career ambitions, but rather about focusing on the one thing that’s always within your control. You can't always avoid the tensions that occur on your job, but you can take steps to manage work-related stress.

A writer, Jenna Goudreau, in one of his Business and Leadership Articles, revealed that “the average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. More so, that modern workers are interrupted ‘seven times an hour’ and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. And four out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing uncertainty about their futures. This may be why more than 40% of adults say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day”.

There are different effective strategies for managing workplace stress. But for the purpose of this article I shall be sharing six (6) tips on how to manage stress.

Identify your stressors

It is common knowledge that when a problem is identified, solution is guaranteed. This is also applicable here. Try to identify those situations that create stress on you. Record them. I would advice that this be done on a daily basis. Record your thoughts, feelings and information about the environment, including the people and circumstances involved, the physical setting and how you reacted. Taking notes can help you find patterns among your stressors and your reactions to them.

Taking responsibility for improving your physical and emotional well-being

After you have identified your stressors, the next step is to develop a pattern best fit for each stressor. Remember that being overwhelmed at work will result to loss of confidence. This can make you less productive and less effective in your job, and make the work seem less rewarding. Instead of attempting to fight stress with fast food or alcohol, do your best to make healthy choices when you feel the tension rise. Exercise is a great stress-buster. Yoga can be an excellent choice, but any form of physical activity is beneficial. Also make time for hobbies and favorite activities. If you do not take care of YOU no one will. Decide to make a change in the way you reacted to the cleaner, the secretary in your workplace. Rather than react, choose to act!

Establish work-life boundaries

Make a ‘MUST KEEP’ rule for yourself. Rule such as not taking calls at certain time, not checking emails from home in the evening. It is easy to feel pressured in this era of globalization. But with the work-life boundary set, you can effectively put things under control.

Take time off to reload

To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, we need time to replenish and return to our pre-stress level of functioning. This recovery process requires “switching off” from work by having periods of time when you are neither engaging in work-related activities, nor thinking about work. That's why it is critical that you disconnect from time to time, in a way that fits your needs and preferences. When possible, take time off to relax and unwind, so you come back to work feeling reinvigorated and ready to perform at your best.

Talk to an attentive listener

Talking to a trusted friend and family member, who also is an attentive listener can improve your ability to manage stress. Since the face and heart are wired together in the brain, talking face to face with a relaxed and balanced listener can help calm your nervous system and relieve stress. The other person doesn’t have to “fix” your problems; he or she just has to be a good listener. Simply sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or family member can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.

Change Your Perception

Oftentimes people get stressed at work place because they perceived the job to be stressful. This could probably be on someone’s account. It will be in your interest to have a different view from what someone else has. A writer said “Your perspective of stressful office events is typically a subjective interpretation of the facts, often seen through the filter of your own self-doubt”. If you conclude that a job is stressful, that’s what it becomes. However, if you can step back and take a more objective view, you’ll be more effective and less likely to take things personally.

Judiciously applying the measures stated above, will surely help you be in control of your body. Again, if you do not take care of yourself, nobody will!


Posted on June, 28 2016

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