We experience stress at work when we are not able to meet the demands of our job. Common causes of excessive workplace stress are:
- Fear of layoffs
- Increased demands for overtime due to staff cutbacks
- Pressure to perform to meet rising expectations but with no increase in job satisfaction
- Pressure to work at optimum levels – all the time!
Signs of Stress include:
- Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
- Apathy, loss of interest in work.
- Problems sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Muscle tension or headaches
- Stomach problems
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of sex drive
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope
How can you reduce stress?
Most people would like to reduce at least some of the stress in their lives. But, how do you do this?
The way you think about a stressor can greatly affect how your body responds to it. If you try to think positively and talk to yourself and others in a positive way, you can keep your stress levels in check. But, if you flood your mind with negative ideas you will only increase your stress levels and your chances of harming your health.
Learn new skills
Sometimes learning a new skill can help reduce the stress in your life such as:
- Take assertiveness training to help you deal with demanding co-workers, family members or friends
- Learn time-management skills to help you better use your time and reduce the stress of deadlines
- Develop problem-solving skills to help you find solutions to stressful events
Make lifestyle changes
Some other ways to take control of your stress are:
- Exercise regularly
- Use relaxation techniques such as yoga or deep breathing exercises
- Talk to your family members and friends for support
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get plenty of sleep
- Limit caffeine and alcohol use
What Can Your Employer Do?
Your employer can also take steps to reduce the stress you feel by reducing or eliminating workplace stressors. Examples of what your employer can do to help are:
- clearly define jobs and responsibilities
- give workers a say in how they do their jobs
- give workers opportunities to learn new skills
- allow time for social interactions among workers
- make work schedules flexible for responsibilities outside of work
- clearly communicate about job security and change
As you learn to manage your job stress and improve your work relationships, you’ll have more control over your ability to think clearly and act appropriately. You will be able to break habits that add to your stress at work – and you’ll even be able to change negative ways of thinking about things that only add to your stress.