Managing Work Stress
Stress is something that not many will admit to suffering from – these days, it’s almost a badge of honour to be busy and words such as, “stress”, “stressful” or “stressed” seems to be thrown around like something we should all accept and experience in life if we want to do well. Although a small amount of work-induced stress is perfectly normal, too much stress can affect your work performance, your relationships, and even your health. If left unchecked, stress can make you chronically ill and could even lead to you losing your job.
How do I know if I’m too stressed?
You’re likely to be suffering from an unhealthy amount of stress if you experience the following symptoms:
- Fatigue and difficulty falling asleep
- Loss of sex drive
- Headaches, muscle tensions, and spasms
- Anxiety and racing thoughts
- Changes in attitude and behaviour
- Failing to see the positive in situations
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Overeating or undereating / excessive weight loss or weight gain
- Isolating yourself from others more than usual
- Using excessive amounts of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax
- Inability to concentrate on one thing, procrastinating
How do I manage my stress?
- Don’t take on too much at once: know your limits. We often underestimate how longs things will take us to do, so try not to put too much on your plate at once. Don’t make unrealistic promises that you know you may not be able to keep.
- Exercise: moving is essential for good physical and mental health. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins that will help you cope with stress. Instead of reaching for alcohol or cigarettes after work, go for a run or a long walk to calm your mind. You’ll not only feel better but soon you will begin looking better too!
- Diet: Your body is a machine and food is its fuel. You wouldn’t pour the wrong fuel into a vehicle, so don’t put the wrong types of food into your body. Stick to healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice and pasta, beans and lean white meat. Keep treats to a minimum and don’t reward yourself with unhealthy snacks such as cake and chocolate. If your body is too busy trying to process the rubbish you put into it, it will have less time to deal with stress factors and symptoms.
- Meditate: Taking time out by yourself to breathe and relax is very important. Find a quiet spot, close your eyes and concentrate on breathing in and out for a few minutes a day. This action is proven to lower the heart rate and decrease stress.
- Get plenty of sleep: If you don’t get enough sleep, your body will be too tired to cope with stressful situations. This could lead to you making irrational decisions and lashing out at others. Open up and engage with others: Humans thrive on connection. Don’t feel bad about opening up to your stresses and worries to others – chances are they are also feeling similar emotions and stresses. Although it may not solve the initial problem, just talking with someone else about your stress factors can help you feel better.
- At Get Savvi, we have dedicated health advisors available telephonically every hour of the day, every day of the year. Managing stress is something they’re trained to advise on, so give them a call if you’re feeling like everything is too much.
What do you find helps when you’re stressed?
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I worked at a not for profit for a while and the CEO there banned the word busy. She said we should say “productively engaged” because if we felt we were busy and stressed, then we aren’t doing what we should be doing and aren’t as productive. She didn’t want ‘busy’ staff.
That change in attitude and mindset saw a shift in the stress levels too. People stopped taking on so much and were more organised with their time, productive and as a result less stressed.
Great tips for stress at work.
These are all great tips, and what I particularly like about the advice you give is that it’s not just giving straightforward solutions to problems (I don’t even believe in those), but simply pointing out logical ways to work on the problems and gradually improve.
Thank you for writing this, I really enjoy your blog. Hope you’re having a great day!