Even the easiest job can cause work-related stress. In the beginning, we start experiencing pressure and mild discomfort when being confronted with a stressful task. Later, the mild discomfort turns into anxiety and pain, which can be harmful for both our physical and our mental health.
Managing Work Related Stress and Burnout
Safe Work Australia conducted a survey, which proved that the absenteeism caused by work-related stress costs Australian businesses more than $10 billion each year. Although this survey has proved that work-related stress can be dreadful for company’s finances, employers are still very passive when it comes to work-related stress management. The situation in the United States is not much different. A survey conducted by American Psychologists Association found that only 36% of employers offer sufficient stress management resources.
Since there are times when we can’t avoid tensions at work and we often can’t rely on our employers in stressful situations, we decided to write a short guide that will help you to manage the work-related stress and minimize its consequences.
The most common stressors
Work-related stress can be caused by a wide variety of stressors. Sometimes it is triggered by a personal life situation, which adds up to all the stressors you face at work. These are some of the most common work-related stress sources:
- Excessive work;
- Low salaries;
- Lack of career opportunities;
- Lack of social support;
- Personal-life interference;
- Overambitious performance expectations;
- Bad interpersonal relationships.
Work-related stress symptoms
Work-related stress won’t disappear after you call it a day and head home. It’s constantly piling up and if it’s not treated in the right way it can create very serious consequences. Physical and mental symptoms you can feel usually include: concentration difficulties, headaches, stomachaches, sleep disturbances and a bad temper.
If it’s not managed in the right way, stress can cause chronic conditions, like: insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure and weakened immune system. People who suffer from chronic work-related stress use unhealthy ways to suppress it. These usually include: overeating, smoking, drinking and prescription drugs abuse.
How to relieve your stress?
Although by now you might think that the work-related stress is impossible to manage, we will prove you wrong and give you a 5-step routine that will help you to battle the most common office stressors.
1. Start writing your stress journal
Keep a journal of the most stressful situations you face on a daily basis. You should also record your thoughts, feelings, and reactions, as well as all the people and circumstances involved. This type of journal will help you to find your stress patterns and develop healthy responses to future stressful moments.
2. Learn how to respond to stress in a healthy way
Whatever the cause, you shouldn’t fight your stress with fast food, cigarettes or alcohol. You should take healthy choices instead. Try exercise, yoga or meditation, because these activities are both healthy and relaxing. You can also spend some time with your family, find a stress-relieving hobby or read a book. Having plenty of healthy sleep is also essential for successful stress management.
3. Establish strict boundaries
In the digital era, we often take our work problems home. We should create strict boundaries between our professional and personal life. You shouldn’t check your emails in the evening and answer boss’s calls while eating a dinner or spending some quality time with your family. These boundaries will reduce the work-life conflict and all the stress that goes with it.
4. Get some professional support
The best way to relieve your stress is to talk to a psychologist or some other expert specialized in WRS management. If your employer doesn’t offer an employee assistance program, you should review several psychologists and choose the one with the best references and education. Always choose a local expert. So if you live and work in Sydney, choose a psychologist in the Sydney area. This way, you will have more time for other relaxing activities.
5.Talk to your boss
Stress-free employees are more productive and that’s why your superiors should create a work environment that promotes employee well-being. You should talk to your boss and try to come up with an effective plan that will help them to manage the stressors you’ve identified. Bosses can help employees to relieve their stress in many different ways. They can reorganize the work process, introduce additional breaks or send their employees to stress management trainings.
There are plenty of relaxation and stress-relief techniques you can choose from. Meditation, deep breathing exercises and mindfulness will help you to manage your stress levels and become more focused and productive at work. If the level of work-related stress is too high, you should take some time off. Vacation is a perfect time for you to replenish your energy and return your stress levels back to normal.