Managing Stress at Work
We have all been there; that report is due by Friday, you have more meetings than you can count, and your boss is demanding you do more with less, all while working from a corner in your living room. The stressors of working through the pandemic are real and rarely considered in our day-to-day.
Whether you are in the office or working from home stress is hurting you. In 2021, of 1,501 US adult workers surveyed, 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress. AND nearly 60% employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress. (APA)
Types of workplace stress.
There are four types of workplace demands that attribute to workplace stress.
Task demands – relate to job insecurity, workload, and the type of occupation.
Role demands – conflict within the role or within departments.
Physical demands – potentially hazardous workplaces, poor lighting, temperature, working remotely, and pace.
Interpersonal demands – Staffing, leadership style, expectations by leadership, lack of personal interaction, and personality conflicts.
How stress affects your health.
Initial physical symptoms of distressed “negative” stress are problems sleeping, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, headaches, depression, anxiety, skin problems, and chest pain. Continued stress becomes harmful when people use tobacco, drugs, and alcohol to temporarily bandage the problem. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had declared stress as a hazard of the workplace – costing American companies $300 billion annually.
Ways you can manage stress at work.
Stress management is about balance. Work should not consume your life, your body’s balance to defend, your relationships, or your joy. Things you can do:
Ensure you get plenty of sleep each night
Eat a balanced diet, and drink plenty of water
Exercise frequently throughout the week
Get away from your desk
Set boundaries and leave work at set time each day
Breathing exercise when entering a stressful meeting or conversation
Learn what is draining your energies
Be kind to yourself.
Another successful tool is hiring a career coach to build a toolset to manage your workplace/life stressors. A coach is not a therapist but instead someone who helps you establish what you hold valuable in your life and balance that with your career goals. Whether you are someone who has recently been promoted, someone who has been asked to continue to work with less help, someone who needs to understand their “why”, or someone who just needs to talk about what’s next – a coach is proven to help.
Quick breath exercise for reducing stress.
Sit in a chair with your back straight, your feet flat on the floor and your hands in a comfortable position on your lap, eyes closed. Start by taking a few deep breaths in through your nose and out your mouth. Then breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, and breath out for a count of 8. Do that 5-10 times until you feel your heartbeat and body relax. Then when you’re ready, open your eyes. …repeat as necessary.