Too much stress impacts your personal life, social life, relationship with peers and health. This eventually starts wearing you out and making you less focused at work. How one approaches the situation makes all the difference. More than the right amount of stress needs to be identified, acknowledged and managed in order to prevent its effects from being aggravated.
Why you should pay attention to what I’m going to share further, is because I’ve had my share of stress and over the time, I learned to deal with the same and overcome its impact to create a successful work-life balance. I like to say work-life together because these are interconnected. The problem at your work will most likely affect your personal life and vice-versa. The chances of this being otherwise are negligible.
I’ve developed a simple process comprising of these three steps… Identification, Understanding, and Management. What’s more assuring is that I’ve seen positive impacts of the process not only on me but also on my team at VOCSO.
1) Identify & Acknowledge Stress – Common Symptoms
Many times we ignore various very obvious signs of burnout. Good news is, you don’t really need to see a professional know this. These are some of the common symptoms of stress…
● Decreased Energy
● Chronic Adrenal Fatigue
● Digestive Issues
● Appetite Changes
● Scattered Focus
The above list is not exhaustive. But one under the stress will usually witness more than one of these symptoms. Some of these can be noticed distantly as well by others.
Adrenal Fatigue is in a way sum of various signs of stress. If you have trouble waking up in the morning, drained out throughout the day, feel hungry often or crave food late in nights, you’ve Adrenal Fatigue. This makes you prone to falling sick more often, overall reducing your productivity.
Not being in the best state of your mind and health makes you distracted. Focusing on work at hand becomes difficult, hence you tend to spend more time on the tasks that otherwise could be finished quicker.
Identifying and acknowledging that you’re stressed is the first step towards being stress-free. If you’re unsure or confused or having a hard time accepting you might be stressed, there are various questionnaires available that will help you find this out. It will only take a few minutes to suggest you might be under stress. Stress.org has prepared a simple questionnaire to identify stress.
2) Understand the Causes
Once you know what your symptoms are, knowing what causes them is obvious next step. Workplace stress can be caused by a number of factors, from being overloaded with work to bully and blame culture.
Here are the most common causes of workplace stress…
● Overload of work with unrealistic deadlines creating unnecessary pressure.
● Not enough work, making people feel their skills are being underutilized.
● Unmanaged work activities.
● Problems in personal life.
● New job promotions leading to performance pressure and change in relationships between colleagues.
● Lack of job opportunities causing insecurity.
● Bullying or harassment
● People being afraid to admit their mistakes.
● Weak management leaving a sense of directionlessness.
● Unplanned and uninformed business decisions making employees feel uncertain about their future.
● Improper and insufficient sleep.
● Poor diet including lot of sugar and junk food.
● Lack of joyful activities
3. Managing Stress
We all have been or will be under stress at some point in our lives. I have had it too. But I’ve learned to overcome. Overcoming stress and its effects requires radical changes in your life and habits.
● Look at stress as a sign to value what’s important and not a reason to panic.
● Don’t compromise on a good 8 hour sleep.
● Don’t always try to multi-task, prioritize your list and work accordingly. You may use task management tools such as Trello or Futuramo Tasks.
● Delegate work whenever possible. There is no shame in asking for support when you need it.
● Take short 5 minute breaks, every hour or two, step out of your cubicle and do a simple stretch.
● Change your diet, avoid junk food, alcohol, caffeine and too much sugar.
● Exercise and physical activity 5 days a week.
● Don’t make important decisions in an anxious state.
● Don’t worry about the things that are out of your control.
● Keep yourself away from negative people, environment and relationships. It’s toxic and contagious.
● Make your workplace a little fun, play some game, specially the ones that encourage team bonding.
● In case your stress is interfering, reach out to a professional.
Ignoring stress is never a nice idea. We can learn from several examples present all around us. Even the most famous celebrities had to deal with the unbearable amount of stress. According to various press articles, the well-known Actor Robert Downey Jr. was a major victim of drug and alcohol abuse caused by immense stress. His career has come to an end, but it’s because of the good people around, that he started to deal with the situation with the right approach. Following a 12 step program, involving, yoga, meditation, and therapies, he came back sober and stronger. My point of view here is the fact that you all can avoid going through all this.
If you notice any of the symptoms in your employees, colleagues or friends, do your bit to save them. Eventually, it’s going to be in your favor if they can have a stress free lives. You’ll end up having a better performing and happier employees, colleagues, and friends.
Remember, stress won’t last forever if you make right changes in at right time. You’ll come back reenergized and productive.