Are you someone who does what they love for a living? And despite that, do you still feel stressed and overwhelmed? Well, you aren’t the only one. Ask anyone who has ever had a job, and they are likely to tell you that the job stressed them out. With such a universal response it’s natural to think that job and stress go hand-in-hand. But the truth is that they shouldn’t.
Stress is your brain’s fighting mechanism. It gets triggered in situations such as a war, or a natural crisis. And helps you get out of those potentially life-threatening situations with as little harm as possible. So in those situations, stress is your best friend. But long-term exposure to it is dangerous.
Chronic stress can lead to various physical and mental health issues. Some of the physical health issues are obesity, high blood pressure, and even some heart conditions. Chronic stress can also lead to some severe mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
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Here are the things that can lead to workplace stress:
- Too much work and not enough compensation
- Unhealthy work environment
- Bad management
- Lack of opportunities for growth
Just to name a few.
All of this establishes that stress in the workplace is an issue that needs to be taken seriously. Now that this has been established, let’s look at how you can manage it.
Ways to manage workplace stress:
Put it on paper
Mental health professionals have long regarded journaling as a highly effective tool to track mental health. There is no reason why the same cannot be applied to this situation. For a few weeks, make note of journaling down all the stressors that you are facing at work. Also, note down the way in which you respond to each stressor.
Once you have done this exercise for long enough, you will be able to find your patterns in stressful situations.
Re-program your responses
Now that you have spent time tracking down your stressors and your responses to them, you can work on your responses. Once you see your patterns, you will start to identify which of them are healthy and which aren’t.
For example, if your response to a stressful situation is grabbing a junk food snack, it is unhealthy. If it is going for a short walk to clear your mind, it’s healthy. After you figure out which situations lead to unhealthy responses, you can start re-programing your responses.
What that means is you can start finding activities that calm you down and are also healthy.
Yes, re-programing your responses is a good short-term solution. But eventually, it might not sustain you in the long run. Switching off from time to time is a good thing that will help you long-term. It can mean simpling turning off your smartphones and tablets at the dinner table.
You can also try to take small vacations where you don’t have to think about anything work-related. You will come back from your time off rejuvenated and more productive.
A couple of honorable mentions that we feel will be helpful are – Setting boundaries and Meditation
Setting boundaries can be difficult but ultimately, it will go a long way in reducing your day-to-day stress. It could be something as simple as not checking your emails after a certain time.
As for Meditation, try to spare a portion of your daily schedule to just being in the moment. Simply practicing breathing exercises and being present will help you calm down in stressful situations. It will take some time but with practice, focusing on one thing at a time will become easier.
Stress at the workplace is unavoidable. It is not in your control. But the way you react to those stressors is what you can control and work on. That way, when a stressful situation arises, you are armed with all the necessary tools to tackle it. Just like everyone re-programmed themselves for the new Work From Home normal, it’s time to do the same for the new-new normal.