The World Health Organization recently called stress “the health epidemic of the twenty-first century.” That's pretty big news!
Everyone experiences some amount type of work-related stress. Occasional job stress poses little harm and can even be effective in increasing productivity. However, prolonged stress can be detrimental to both your professional and personal life.
Common symptoms of prolonged workplace stress include low morale, boredom, anxiety, and anger. Stress can even manifest as physical health problems ranging from headaches and stomach aches to heart problems.
So we all experience stress. But what makes a difference is how we choose to manage stress. Managing stress is crucial to improving your job performance, staying safe while working, and taking care of your physical and mental health.
We've got some tips lined up for you below. Put these into action and watch stress levels go down, and reduce the risk of stress-related illnesses.
At the start of each day or week, create a to-do list. Then, rank the tasks according to how soon you have to finish them. You might want to consider finishing your most challenging tasks first so that they are done sooner, and you will no longer have to worry about them.
Using your to-do list, create a schedule for when you will do each task and how much time it will take to complete each of these tasks. Remember to have realistic expectations for how long you think it will take to complete certain tasks. Having unrealistic expectations will make you feel like you are not accomplishing enough and will increase your stress.
If you do not know how long a task will take, overestimate the amount of time you think it will take. Also, time how long it takes you, so you know for the future.
Furthermore, make sure you finish each task on your to-do list before starting another. This will allow you to focus all your energy on one project at a time and you will not feel distracted by your other work.
Having a strong support system of people who care about you can help you feel less stressed.
Just telling someone about your stress and having them empathize with you can greatly reduce your stress. Talking to a coworker can especially help because they might offer to assist you on your assignment. They might also be able to give you some tips on how to deal with your specific situation that you would not have thought of on your own.
If you do not feel comfortable talking to your coworkers or friends about your stress, writing a journal is a great option. Write about the things that are stressing you. If writing paragraphs comes easy to you, do that. Otherwise, just write bullet points. After you have written all the things causing you stress, try to write down some solutions to your stress.
When you are stressed, it is easy to neglect exercising and eating healthy. However, taking care of your health makes you more resilient to stress. Start with small changes in your life such as exercising for fifteen minutes each day and then build up to thirty minutes a day. Instead of eating a snack that has a lot of sugar or refined carbs, swap that snack for something with omega-3 fatty acids to improve your mood. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts and fish.
While it might seem obvious, we often place too much pressure on ourselves and forget that breaks are necessary to be productive. Sometimes you just need to get away from your work for a few minutes to reduce your stress and come back with a fresh mind. Try walking around your building or even listening to some music.
If you don’t have time to get away from your workplace and take a break, sit back in your chair, relax your shoulders, and breathe for a few minutes. Slowly inhale deeply through your nose and exhale out your mouth.
While doing this breathing exercise, remember that it is going to be okay. You have overcome struggles before, and you can do it now. When you finish your breathing exercise, only focus on the task you are currently doing and try to not worry about anything else.
When dealing with stress remember you are not alone. Nearly half of all workers report moderate to severe job stress, and everyone deals with some amount of stress at work. Remember, there is no use in worrying about tasks you cannot do right now and things you cannot control.
The Stress Management eLearning course is a good place to learn more about managing stress. We've included a small sample video below.
While you're here, feel free to download the free guide below. And don't hesitate to reach out to us for more information and workplace safety and health elearning courses, LMSs for safety training management, custom safety training, and other safety training compliance solutions.
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