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Apr 12, 2012

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Coping with Stress at Work

The pressure generated at the workplace has a major impact on the mental and physical health of employees, and and economy of the company.
Coping with Stress at Work

  It is costly for companies due to increased absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, workers' compensation payments, and medical, legal and insurance expenses.

  Stress has many causes and affects everyone differently. However, there are many ways we can all cope with it.

 3 out of four Americans say work is stressful, according to a study from Gallup. Inline with another study from The Work Force Institute which found out that the most common reason, in every country, for calling in sick without a physical ailment was that the employee was overly stressed. Likewise, The American Institute of Stress estimates that 1 million workers are absent every day due to stress and that stress in the workplace cost U.S. corporations over $300 billion annually, or more than ten times the cost of all strikes combined.

  The ability to maintain a sense of self-control in stressful situations will often be well-received by others around you (managers, coworkers, etc.) which can lead to better relationships at work, and it is also required in order to evolve within an organization.

Coping with Stress at Work 

  Stress affects everyone differently, both in and out of the workplace, and can be caused by both negative and positive events. Not every day you get fired from work, or you are invited to give a speech at a big event. The way we deal with stress and how it affects us depends on our lifestyle, personality and even genetics. Stress can cause irritability, fatigue, social withdrawal, weight loss and weight gain, insomnia and muscle tension, among others. It impacts yourself-esteem and performance at work, and in the long run can cause serious psychological and physical consequences. High stress levels have been linked to depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal problems, impaired immune response and cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic.

1. Identify, what is bothering you?

  If you are aware of what affects you and how it affects you, you can develop a better attitude when confronting your problems. Likewise, you will be able not only to find solutions or measures to lessen or eliminate your stress, but also to manage your own emotions. 

2. Face your problems

  Some problems have a minimal but constant effect on us. However, they are counterproductive in the long term. By doing nothing about your problems and just letting them pile up; your level of stress will increase. If you feel that there is a large burden on you, trying to solve all of your problems at once will make you feel overwhelmed. The best strategy is to face them one by one, by priority.

3. Prioritize and Organize

  Feeling you have too much to do is a common cause of job stress. If the workload threatens to overwhelm you, there are simple steps you can take to regain control over yourself, time and the situation.
  • Create a Routine

    If the dynamics of your work stress you, the feeling of stability, due to following a pattern of familiar activities, reduces stress and gives a sense of security.
  • Create a balanced schedule

    Examine your responsibilities and daily task. Are you leaving enough time for yourself, your personal life, and other activities outside work? Are you over committing? All too often, we underestimate how long things will take so avoid trying to fit many tasks into one day. Learn to say no, and to trust people to things done (delegate).
  • Prioritize your day in advance

    Create a big To-Do list, which includes all your duties regardless of the deadline, and a daily To-Do list for what needs to be done tomorrow. When you are organizing your time, you should concentrate all those tasks that require major concentration and effort in the morning, and in the afternoons, the meetings and others. Use your last 15 minutes of every day, to create your To-Do list for following day and organize your schedule. Every morning recheck that list before starting to work.
  • Set SMART goals

    It will allow you to prioritize your actions and focus your efforts by helping you rule out actions that will not contribute to achieve your goals.
  • Stop running until work and plan regular breaks

    By getting up 15 minutes earlier, you will be able to start your working day with a better mood. You won’t be rushing to be one time, without skipping breakfast, and if you are early at work, you can profit those minutes to organize your day, and get ready for it. Get short breaks m to clear your mind. During lunchtime change your environment, go outside office, or building, this will give you a new air and energy to continue.

4. Your body is your temple:

  • Get some endorphins

    They boost your mood and memory. If jogging or going to the gym is not your cup of tea, do not worry, you do not need to be an athlete or in shape to get their benefits. Exercises such as Tai Chi and yoga, despite being focused on relaxation are equally effective in generating endorphins. Consider taking the stairs rather than the lift, walking instead of using the car to go to the shop, cleaning the house, etc.
  • Relax and breath

    While stress affects everyone differently, the way each one of us releases it varies. A quick way to reduce stress is through the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Identify the one that works the best for you. Practice controlled breathing exercises, like yoga, which has a strong emphasis on the importance of breathing deeply in order to relax. Blowing on your thumb resets the vagus nerve, which controls heart beat. If you are nervous, it will slow down your heart and calm you down.
  • Get some energy

    Food is the fuel that allows you to continue throughout the day, so do not forget to eat because of work. Studies show that when you stop eating neurons eat each other to survive, which causes headaches (I believe it doesn't make you smarter). The quality and amount of sleep you get affects your mood, energy level, concentration and overall functioning. The lack of sleep can leave you vulnerable to even more stress.
  • Avoid drugs, alcohol and nicotine:

    The temporary relief that they may offer you does not eliminate the anxiety, on the contrary, boost it. Likewise, it can lead to abuse and dependency. Therefore, you won't be eliminating your problems, but adding more to the load you possess.

5. Play some games and get social:

  Stress can lead you to social isolation. However, social contact can give you the entertainment you need. It allows you to find support, release your feelings(A burden shared is much less of a burden) and share some laughs. Laughter fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure, producing a good, relaxed feeling. Playing at work, it does not only allow you to  relax and develop your creativity, and other skills, but also to connect and get to know better others at work.