How to Manage Workplace Stress

Many job conditions within an organisation can lead to stress. Regardless how wary and cautious you are, sooner or later it will eventually creep up. Here are some particular culprits that tend to induce job stress, a difficult boss or co-worker, lack of recognition and support, heavy workload with multiple complex tasks with deadlines, working long hours, unclear expectations, lack of job security, too many “hats to wear”, lack of opportunity for growth, advancement or promotion and unpleasant, moreover a dangerous working environment. A single cause of an individual’s stress is hard to pinpoint, it could be a combination of all from a chain reaction effect.

What about a boss or bosses whom encourage workaholism? Get prepared! it’s quite common. No one should consider themselves super humans. Don’t try to be a superhero and taken on more than you can chew because it could harm your working relationship, integrity and decrease your overall ability to work productively. If you can’t take on additional tasks, try to explain to your boss, with great tact and professionalism, say something along the lines of, “I appreciate your confidence in me, but I am really overcommitted right now, and if I take that on, I can’t do it justice”. This might courteously help you to confront and overcome such situations.

Everything in society has speed up as a result of faster technology and demand for rapid and accurate information. As societies and work environments rev at a faster pace, so do the individuals within them. While once we might have imagined a future full of machines taking over for humans, the present reality is that with greater interconnectivity and more machines populating the working environment, we are expected to do even more.

People are always connected to the office somehow, which has resulted in a lack of escape time. Long gone are the days when you were only reachable when you were physically in the office. Thanks to pagers, cellular phones (with view options), palm & lap-top, voicemail and fax machines, you can no longer hide from the deadlines at work. They ride home with you because we are a prisoner of technology. Deadline pressure is as inevitable as the advent of a computer that is faster than the last, or a cellular phone that has better reception than the current model. Deadline pressure filters down through the hierarchy at the workplace. If extra pressure is being put on your boss, chances are that his/her boss is being pressured. Chances are even greater that you will be pressured. It’s a chain reaction effect and no one would be able to avoid it. Pressure can also come from within. People constantly raise their expectations of their own performance and put themselves under pressure by worrying about whether they are meeting other people’s expectations.

Ways to maintain balance

No matter what the source, it’s important to work toward finding ways to keep the stress level in balance. You can do many simple things to maintain balance. I believe the Japanese workforce have created an effective method of balancing stress. Organising and conducting daily physical exercise for their employees is a compulsory methodology to balance stress. Thus, while at work try to move more. You can relieve tension and soreness in muscles due to stress by flexing and relaxing your muscles periodically. You should spend some time walking. If you tend to spend hours at your desk, stand up and walk around the room or just stretch in place at least every 30 minutes. If you consistently take the elevator, try taking the stairs ever now and then. If your stress levels are controlled, you have a better ability to focus, concentrate and relax.

Try to eliminate unneeded tasks. Most of use never realise that what we do at work is dictated by habit and not by need. Ask yourself this question: “Does this need to be done at all?” This question often leads to greater focus, less time wasted on nonessential tasks and less stress.

When stress affects your concentration at work, a simple solution is to make a schedule. Scheduling not only allows you to plan and control your use of time, but also forces you to consider your priorities and goals. Along with scheduling, try to set your goals. You will use your time more effectively if you not only write down goals, but also write down the steps and activities required to meet those goals.

Take time for yourself each week can also make time spent in the office more productive. Find a way to relax so that you can keep your perspective. Always make sure your lunch break is spend outside and try to engage in whatever it takes to clear your mind. Small breaks will also leave you feeling calmer and focused at your work. If you absolutely can’t get out from the office for a break, take a few minutes for some visualisation. This technique focuses on creating a mental picture of something that cultivates a feeling of calm or simply makes you happy. Another helpful strategy is to take a 5 to 10 minutes break to breathe. Find a quiet place. Close your eyes and focus all of your attention on taking deep, steady breaths. Like visualisation, this technique allows you to pause and recenter yourself in the midst of your work. You will be surprised at what a calming effect this has.

Stay organised. The organisation of your physical environment is as important as the organisation of goals in your planner. Make sure your desk is organised and tidy, the filling cabinets, folders and labelling systems can be wonderful tolls – use it.

Stressful situations often are a matter of interpretation. If you have a hard time finding any positive attributes for a given situations at work, say to yourself, “It could be worse,” and proceed from there. You will be surprised what a difference perception makes.

Adding something living to your office to mingle among the abundance of inanimate objects can help liven up the atmosphere and lift your spirits. A simple source of balance for some people is keeping a plant in their office.

Make the time away from office count by eating a balance diet. Try to avoid heavy, carbohydrate-laden lunches or snacks. Eat more vegetable snacks. You will have more energy and less internal discomfort. Try to exercise frequently cause a little work out can reduce your muscle tension. Try building relationships and never underestimate the importance of time spent with friends. Your good friends have a way of calming you, whether you need someone to talk to, laugh with, or take a break with. Who else would listen to you vent about work? Make sure you get enough sleep because a well rested body and mind are your best tools for higher performance.

Using the above options will increase your balance, allowing you to be more productive and making you an easier co-worker to be around. I hope this helps.

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