Stress in the workplace is very common and needs to be addressed. You will find here some work stress relief strategies to help you both practically and emotionally.
“Is everything as urgent as your stress would imply? “
The potential for stress in the work place is massive as there are so many pressures, and so much at stake – your reputation, your success, your bonuses, your job etc.
Many people who are unhappy may share their feelings with you, which can rub off on you and make you feel as dissatisfied as they are. Be aware that sometimes these people would moan and groan whatever the situation was like, and just use this as an excuse not to work.
Sometimes there are legitimate gripes about your work conditions that need to be addressed, but directly rather than by complaining amongst yourselves.
There are many ways to help yourself with stress in general, but in the workplace these may not always be appropriate, so that in itself creates stress!
Happily, there are some specific work stress relief strategies if you find yourself in this situation.
- If you find a situation is affecting a number of employees, first establish that you have legitimate reasons to complain, then do so through the proper channels i.e. through an office meeting, an appointed representative, the Human Resources department or a Union meeting.
If the issue affects only you, take it up personally with your immediate manager. Often you sit and stew about something that your employer is unaware of or is prepared to let continue as long as you allow it.
- If there’s a situation in your private life that’s short term but causing you stress because it’s affecting your work, negotiate with your employer. For example, if your wife/husband is ill and needs care; perhaps you need to take over the school run; maybe you have marriage difficulties. (Sometimes this is done through a Human Resource Manager.)
If they’re likely to be short term problems, most employers will be happy to accommodate you rather than lose a good employee or have you so stressed that you can’t fulfil your obligations when you are at work.
- If you’re so unhappy at work that you dread going in each day and can’t wait until the next week-end comes around, maybe you need to think about changing your job or even your career. Since work constitutes a major part of our lives, the stress that this causes will cascade into every other part, making them just as stressful and unhappy as when you’re at work.
If your problem is managing your work – make sure you keep a weekly and daily diary.
- List what you want to achieve by the end of the week.
- List the tasks for each day, together with timing.
- Leave gaps between meetings – no-one can go from meeting to meeting and be fresh and on-subject. You need time to re-generate, clear your mind and prepare.
- Make sure, even if you have no meetings, that you still give yourself gaps in your day to have a coffee break (away from your desk!) time for lunch when you can go outside, and time when you have just a gap. This also enables you to allow for the unexpected and means you don’t ‘over-cram’ you day.
Since I know that at this point many of you will pooh – pooh the idea of time away from your busy schedule, I’ll address it immediately!
Much of your stress will come from going from one thing to another, changing topic, changing meetings, changing whatever, working full-on and never getting space to breathe. Those little breaks you factor in are important to:
a. keep your stress levels down
b. allow you to do something very different (like go for a 10/15 minute walk outside or sit with a cup of coffee) and thus you return to your task with a fresher mind.
c. give you thinking time including time to check out how your day’s tasks are going.
Work stress relief is more and more being recognised by employers as a legitimate issue to be addressed. Many larger employers even provide facilities and strategies on their premises.
If yours isn’t one them you may need to exercise assertiveness and self-confidence in order to either redress this, or to ensure that your needs are met in some other way. Perhaps you might want to consider using coaching services as a way of dealing with it