Nowadays, more and more of us are experiencing stress and anxiety in the workplace. Ambitious targets, tight deadlines and office culture can quickly become a pressure cooker for unhealthy tension if left unmanaged. If it isn’t addressed, your work-related stress can negatively impact your quality of life and relationships, and even affect your mental and physical health. So, it’s important to find ways to decompress and relieve the anxiety you’ve built up, while addressing the underlying reasons you got so stressed in the first place. Of course, some sources of workplace stress are outside your control. However, there are some simple steps you can take towards making your job less anxiety-inducing and getting some balance and control back.
Ever had that horrible feeling that you’re chasing your tail at work? If you’ve got a heavy workload, this can quickly build up to the point where your schedule becomes absolute chaos. Losing track of what you’ve got to do is a sure-fire way to forget important tasks and end up stressed and anxious. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to get organized. Make sure you have a diary and write down important meetings, dates, and deadlines as soon as you find out about them. Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day to make a list of what needs to be done, and work through this list in order of importance. This will help you take back control and make sure nothing gets missed.
Set Aside Designated ‘Email Time’
Constantly checking and responding to emails can be a drain on your time and can seriously impact your productivity. If you’re constantly trying to keep track of emails and work at the same time, this can become quickly stressful. Of course, some jobs require you to be available via email constantly. However, many of us could be managing workplace emails more efficiently. Try setting aside two designated time slots in your day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, for sending and responding to emails. The rest of the time is work time. This can help stop emails from slowing you down and making you anxious.
Take a Break
Working non-stop without a break is a surefire route to fatigue and burnout. Even short breaks during the day can refresh you and help to reduce stress levels. Even better, you’ll be more productive when you get back to it. So, make sure you take even 10 minutes every now and then to decompress. Don’t be tempted to skip your lunch break to get more done. If you’re hungry and low on energy, this will slow you down and make your workload more unmanageable.
Prioritize Leisure Time
If your life becomes all about work, this can feel overwhelming and stressful. To tackle workplace stress, you really need to take time away from work worries to do things you enjoy. Whether this means spending time with friends and family, taking part in sports or hobbies or just zoning out on the couch in front of the TV, making sure you get some leisure time is vital for avoiding getting bogged-down by your job.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep problems and stress go hand in hand. Unfortunately, stress can make getting to sleep much harder, and many of us are familiar with the feeling of lying in bed, fretting about work. However, lack of sleep can actually worsen feelings of stress and anxiety. For this reason, it’s important to prioritize sleep as a basic need, just like you would eating or drinking. Creating a bedtime routine can be helpful and signals to your body that it’s time to rest. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol and abstaining from screens for a few hours before bed may also help you catch some much needed sleep. Most importantly, never work just before you intend to go to bed. Your mind will still be in work mode and you’ll lie there thinking about your to-do list instead of relaxing.
Ask for Support
Although this is one of the simplest and most effective ways to tackle workplace stress, it’s often the most neglected. Many people feel that admitting to feeling stressed at work is a sign of weakness or may make them look incompetent. However, asking for help is actually a sign that you take the quality of your work, and your own health and wellbeing, very seriously. Good employers will want to support their staff to stay happy and healthy at work. So, you may want to consider discussing how you’re feeling with your boss to see if you can come up with some solutions. Perhaps some extra support or training would make a positive difference. If your boss is dismissive of your concerns, this may be a sign that it’s time to move on to a more supportive environment. Family and friends can also be great sources of help when it comes to workplace stress. Sometimes, talking things over and hearing a fresh viewpoint can help calm your anxiety and see things from a new perspective.
The Bottom Line
It’s important to tackle workplace stress before it seriously affects your health and wellbeing. Fortunately, there are many simple techniques you can use to reduce tension at work. However, if you find that nothing helps and you are still unhappy and stressed, it may be a sign that this job simply isn’t a good fit for you. It may be worth looking for work that you find more manageable and less stressful.
If you find yourself feeling stressed, anxious or low in mood very frequently or for long periods of time, this may be a sign that you’ve developed a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression. If you are concerned about your mental health, it’s important to seek help from your doctor and loved ones that you trust. They will able to offer you support and treatment options to help you feel better.
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