August 8, 2019 - According to the American Institute of Stress, work-related stress is the leading cause of stress in people. 46% of job stress is due to workload, followed by job insecurity, interpersonal conflict, and lack of work-life balance.
On top of these numbers, Americans work longer and harder than ever, leading to burnout, heart problems, mental problems, and even violent outbursts.
In most cases, the main cause of stress is a horrible boss or bad management. In other cases, it's tension among coworkers, too many tasks, and working late.
Struggling with work stress? Read on to learn how to manage a stressful environment at work and improve your wellbeing.
Figure out What Your Main Stressors Are
Stress at work is inevitable, but if it's affecting your physical and emotional wellbeing, it's time to do something about it. First, find the main source of your stress. Then, think about potential solutions.
For example, if your number one stressor is your boss, what can you do about it? Can you confront them and say how you feel? Can you switch jobs? Can you change your approach to how you do things?
Write down all options and explore the best solution for you.
Find Ways to Destress After Work
Do you bring the stress from work home and can't draw a line between your personal and work life? Then it's time to learn some radical self-care and stop letting work affect your mental and emotional wellbeing.
If you can't catch a break at work, there are many effective ways to destress after work. Aside from drinks with friends, you can also try meditation, yoga or exercising, going for a walk to a nearby park, taking a long bath, playing with pets, watching funny movies, or treating yourself with something.
On weekends, try to go somewhere new - a new neighborhood, a new town, or just a new coffee shop. This will take your mind off work and prepare you for the week to come.
Organize Your Time More Efficiently
One of the reasons why you may feel overwhelmed and stressed at work may be poor time management. Sometimes, there really aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. But if working late is an everyday occurrence for you, you either take on too many responsibilities or don't prioritize your tasks.
Before you start looking for a new less stressful job, try to reorganize the way you spend your workday. Start by writing down all the tasks you need to get done. Then, write down the 3 most urgent and most important ones. Focus on completing these first and then focus on the rest.
Also, take a good look at your to-do list. Can some tasks be delegated or postponed for the next day? If so, do yourself a favor and only do what must be done in the day.
If you feel like you're losing sleep over work stress, have lost or gained weight due to stress, or start feeling depressed, it might be time to start therapy. Stress is highly subjective and what's upsetting for you might be nothing for your coworkers, and vice-versa. This doesn't mean you should ignore the symptoms and let it simmer under the surface.
Your personality, upbringing, personal boundaries, and other mental and environmental factors can influence how you react to stress. Constantly repeating "work is stressing me out" is only reinforcing the problem. Therapy can help you develop stress coping mechanisms and techniques, and provide you with the tools to handle any situation.
Take up a Hobby
Doing something fun and relaxing with your time can be exactly what you need to destress from work problems. Set aside a few hours a week to take up a new hobby, something you've always wanted to do. It doesn't have to be something difficult - it just needs to improve your mood and make you happy.
You can also start a hobby at home: drawing, coloring, writing, puzzles, crafts, music, learning a new language or dancing. This is a great way to refocus your mind on something other than work. The goal is to lose track of time, have fun, and lower your stress levels.
You can even find a group hobby and meet new people on the way. Acting and improv can be a great way to release negative energy, photography can help you find beauty in the little things, and hiking will rekindle your love for nature.
Get More Sleep
Sleep deprivation is a real problem affecting millions of adults across the country. This can affect your productivity levels at work and make you more irritable, which can lead to conflicts with your boss or coworkers.
Getting enough sleep is essential for your energy and productivity. A lack of sleep can negatively affect your tolerance level and ability to cope with stress. If you have trouble falling asleep, try meditation before bed, gentle yoga stretches, quiet soothing music, or a white noise machine.
Let Go of Perfection
To learn how to deal with extreme stress, start by being more gentle with yourself. Let go of perfection and the high standards you've set up for yourself. There will always be more work, but your health and happiness always come first.
You may have a heavy workload, but striving to be an overachiever can make you miserable. This is self-inflicted stress resulting from your desire to prove yourself, your coworkers, and bosses you're up to the task. Always put your health and wellbeing first and learn to let go of perfection.
Use These Tips to Create a Less Stressful Environment at Work
No matter what professional field you're in, every job has its own ups and downs. When work stress becomes chronic and your mental and physical health starts declining, it's time to reconsider your coping mechanisms.
You don't have to change jobs when you feel stressed at work. You can learn to handle the stressful environment at work better, and become a more productive, happier employee.
To learn more about stress management and work productivity, head over to our blog where we publish the latest HR articles and news.
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