Stress Management: How To Develop Effective Techniques In The Workplace
Stress is all but unavoidable at work. Even in the most enjoyable jobs, stress can still affect us — it’s simply a part of working life.
But just because it happens doesn’t mean it’s not possible to manage it. If left unchecked, stress can lead to long-term burnout. This is especially important at a time when many of us will be returning to work in the foreseeable future as the lockdown restrictions ease.
Read on to learn how to develop effective stress management techniques in the workplace.
Consider medication for more severe symptoms of stress
Stress is a complex thing, often manifesting as physical symptoms rather than just emotional or mental ones. As well as feeling tense or tightly wound, stress can also cause other, more noticeable symptoms, such as nausea, upset stomachs, and so on.
Among the most common ways that stress can manifest is through migraines. These are acute headaches that vary intensity and duration, lasting anywhere from a couple of minutes to a few hours. In some rare cases, they can even last for days.
Migraines can be debilitating, so it’s worth considering medication to help you manage them and reduce further stress in the workplace.
Remove yourself from stressful environments where possible
It might sound obvious, but your environment in which you work plays an influential role in stress. Poor design, artificial lighting, loud machinery, and even unpleasant colleagues — these all make for a negative environment that encourages stress.
Consequently, it’s important to remove yourself from this situation when things get too much. Of course, you can’t simply leave your desk whenever you like, but try taking short, five-minute walks around the block instead.
When you remove yourself from your stressful environment, even for just a few minutes, it gives your brain a chance to recalibrate and gather your thoughts. When you return to your desk, you will be refreshed and ready to continue working.
Enjoy the benefits of exercise for your wellbeing
It’s often said that exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and the benefits extend far beyond physical health. Exercise as a stress management tool is effective and accessible, and one that easily fits into your workday.
When you workout, your body expresses pent up stress and anger, letting it out rather than keeping it inside. It also releases endorphins, so the stress-reducing benefits continue even after you’ve finished exercising.
If you’re able to exercise at lunch, this is especially effective. As well as letting you work out your stress through running or a gym session, it also gets you away from the desk and out of a stressful environment.
Establish clear boundaries between your work and home lives
Between smart devices, video conferencing, and other modern technologies, the line between work and home is becoming more and more blurred. Many of us adhere to an “always-on” state, ready to respond to work emails or calls at any time of day.
Of course, such an attitude only increases our stress levels. We’re unable to completely relax if we still feel like we’re working. As such, it’s crucial that you set out clear boundaries between your day job and your home life.
Start by turning off any work phones or other devices when you leave the office. This includes anything that might let you check your emails too. Consider avoiding working overtime at weekends too — these are reasonable requests that your manager should understand and accept.
Not every job allows for points like these, of course. But it’s still important to clearly delineate between work and home — pushing yourself too far too often will only lead to burnout.
Ask for help from your employer
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, consider seeking help from your employer.
For many, the idea of reaching out to a colleague or supervisor for help is not an option they would ever consider. The fear that it might come across as petty complaining or insolence prevents overworked and stress employees from seeking the help they need.
But this stiff upper lip is not a sustainable approach. It only increases stress levels, possibly making you resent your supervisor and, eventually, resulting in total burnout.
If you’re finding your workload unmanageable or you are struggling with tasks, speak to your supervisor. It is not unreasonable to ask for help or guidance if you need it, and most good employers will be sympathetic to this.
Businesses in 2020 are becoming increasingly aware of mental health and the long-term effect it has on employees.
Consequently, many have introduced dedicated employee wellness resources in order to manage and maintain staff wellbeing. Some employers even offer third-party support, such as counseling services, or therapeutic sessions such as massages.
It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure their staff are happy and balanced. Beyond this, it’s also in their best interests. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
The tips listed above are just a few examples of stress management techniques you can implement in the workplace. Identify what works for you and make them an essential part of your day. With time, you will be able to better manage stress yourself with ease.