Managing Workplace Stress
Posted October 12, 2016
Many Americans consider their jobs to be stressful. While specific sources of stress and the way we deal with them differ from person to person, many of us especially struggle to cope with factors that are out of our control.
Common Sources of Stress
Common job stressors include heavy workloads, pressure to perform, long work hours, travel, office politics, and conflicts with coworker(s). Of course, these stressors are compounded by the realities of everyday demands: commutes, family issues, health problems and other factors can add to the stress of the workplace. Our ways of living and communicating are constantly changing, and adapting to these changes is never stress-free.
Red Flags to a Problem
While dealing with stress is a normal part of everyday life – in fact, it sometimes even serves as a powerful motivator or a spur to positive change – the following early warning signs serve as red flags to serious health conditions that can be provoked by stress:
- Anxiety or depression
- Low morale
- Short temper
- Stomach or back problems
The good news is that it is possible to manage stress that originates in the workplace or life in general by becoming aware of what increases or decreases your level of stress. The following are six methods to help you manage stress:
- Plan and prioritize: Set realistic deadlines. Creating pressure will only increase the probability that you’ll make a mistake. Always have an alternate plan in mind. Give yourself time to think projects through instead of rushing through them.
- Focus on what you can control: Create a “to-do” list to prioritize your work. Break larger tasks into smaller, more doable steps. Begin with the most pressing tasks and then move on to less important projects.
- Slow down: Think things through before you act, and begin with a clear goal in mind. In this way, you’ll prevent having to start over halfway through a misguided project.
- Think outside the box: When you’re feeling overwhelmed or overworked, search for alternative ways to get the job done. By doing so, you could save time and money, and put your projects into fresh perspective.
- Use all your resources: Learn to effectively delegate work that you cannot handle. If you cannot finish a project internally, explore outsourcing options.
- Take a break: To relieve stress, make time to take a break. Taking a walk or discussing your work situation with another person may help you to gain a fresh perspective.