Coping with Stress in the Workplace

workplace stressWhile a certain level of workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can take a dangerous toll on a workers’ health. Excessive workplace stress is often caused by a work-related injury or illness; fear of being laid off; working more overtime hours due to staff cutbacks; sexual harassment or workplace discrimination; pressure to perform to meet rising expectations but with no increase in job satisfaction; and pressure from employers to work at optimum levels at all times. Many of these factors are difficult to manage on one’s own, and require the help of a Workers Compensation Lawyer or Employment Attorney to be fully resolved.

However, there are also smaller and more easily-managed causes of stress. The good news here is that managing workplace stress does not always require extensive changes. Sometimes improvements can start by focusing on the one thing that’s most squarely within your control: you.

The ability to reduce stress in the workplace can not only enhance physical and emotional health, but can also make the difference between success or failure in a career. Emotions can be contagious, and therefore stress can affect the nature and quality of your interactions with other workers. The better you become at managing your stress, the more positive effects you’ll have on others, and the less co-workers’ stress will negatively impact you.

Learn to manage job stress

There are many steps workers can take to reduce personal stress levels in the workplace.

Tip 1: Recognize signs of excessive job-related stress

When workers feel overwhelmed on the job, they often lose confidence or become irritable or withdrawn. This can compromise your job performance, and even make your work seem less rewarding. Ignoring the warning signs of job-related stress generally leads to bigger problems like chronic stress accompanied by physical and emotional health problems.

Common Symptoms of excessive workplace stress

  • Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
  • Apathy, loss of interest in work
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Alcohol or drug use as a coping strategy
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Social withdrawal

 Tip 2: Take care of yourself 

When job-related stress interferes with your ability to adequately perform at work, manage your personal life, or negatively affects your health, it’s time to take action. Start by paying attention to your physical and emotional health. When your personal needs are fully addressed, you’ll feel more resilient and be in a better position to overcome stress without feeling overwhelmed.

Even minor changes can lift your mood, increase energy, and make you feel like you’re back in control. Here are some common stress-management techniques:

Get moving

Aerobic activities that raise your heart rate are highly effective for elevating mood, increasing energy, honing your focus, and relaxing the mind and body. For effective stress relief, try to complete at least 30 minutes of heart-pounding activity daily. If it’s easier to fit into your schedule, break the activity into shorter segments throughout the day.

Make food choices that keep you going

Low blood sugar can cause anxiety and irritability, while overeating can make us lethargic. Try eating small but frequent meals during the day to maintain an even blood sugar level and avoid mood swings.

Drink alcohol in moderation

While alcohol can temporarily reduce anxiety, overconsumption can cause anxiety as it wears off. Drinking to relieve job stress can also lead to alcohol abuse and dependence in the long run.

Get adequate sleep

Not only can stress and worry lead to insomnia, but insufficient sleep can make workers vulnerable to even more stress. When we’re well-rested, it’s easier to maintain emotional balance, a key factor in coping with workplace stress.

For more information on reducing workplace stress, check back with us for the second part of this article. Stay tuned for tips #3 and #4…

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