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Overcoming Workplace Stress

Workplace stress has been a topic amongst employees for decades but it’s only now that employers seem to be listening.

Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

Workplace stress has been a topic amongst employees for decades but it’s only now that employers seem to be listening. Employers are becoming more and more aware of the importance of employee well-being and the essential role they play in helping employees reach their full potential.

Studies show that workplace stress is one of the leading factors that hinder workplace success and according to a recent survey, 50% of employees say work stress negatively impacts their health. We can’t always control what happens at work so,how do we combat workplace stress without adjusting our day to day routines too much?

These solutions will help both employees, and your office as a whole, overcome workplace stress to foster successful business development.

Reframe how you view stress, retrain how you react to it

In order to reframe our minds, we must learn to look at the situation in a new way. One that highlights the possibilities rather than the "threats" involved. You’ve probably heard the term mindfulness and wondered what it was all about. Well, reframing your brain is a form of mindfulness that allows you to reduce the effects of stressors in your life. Reframing how you view stress and retraining yourself to stay mindful allows us to bounce back quickly when hit with a heavy workload or last-minute deadline.

Eliminate physical stress-inducing factors

If you experience physical symptoms of stress such as headaches and migraines, there are steps you can take to both relieve and prevent your pain. According to Dr. Carson, a neurologist at the University of Vanderbilt, "one of the most effective therapies for bad headaches is sleep. Physical treatments such as massage, ice packs, or warm heat (like a long shower or bubble bath) may benefit some. Acupuncture may be another option for some who don't fear needles."

Don't cheat on sleep

One of the most detrimental ideas society has engraved in our brains is the mentality that you can “sleep when you’re dead”. I’m here to tell you to stop cheating on your sleep. Not only this is not logical, considering you are no longer living when you die, therefore you can not actually sleep, but this idea is also causing more hard than good. There are many negative consequences that occur when we don’t get enough sleep, most of which directly hinder our workplace success. It has been proven time and time again that lack of sleep leads to lower productivity, performance, and safety in the workplace. The idea of pushing off much-needed sleep to “do more” is actually causing us to do less, more specifically doing less and not as well. A good night’s sleep is the foundation of success both in and outside the workplace and simply committing yourself to re-adjusting your sleep schedule can make a world of a difference in your day to day achievements.

Find meaning in your work

Truth is, sometimes we end up in jobs we don’t like but we have to stay until we find something better. Even if you hate your current job, there is meaning to it. Remind yourself that although this is not where you want to be, it will help you get to where you want to go. Give yourself a sense of purpose around the office, something that gets you through each day and to each paycheck. Just until you find that next big opportunity.

Eliminate toxins, whether that be toxic people, food or a workspace

Even the amount of technology we use can create stress. Sitting in front of a computer all day not only affects our vision and mental abilities, but it also can create the idea of “this needs to be done right away”. Learn to take a step back from technology, whether it be stepping out for fresh air or turning off electronics once you are home from the office, there are many ways to improve your relationship with technology and how it affects your day to day stress levels.

Set realistic boundaries

Many of us are afraid to talk to our managers and employers about how our high-stress jobs are affecting our overall well-being. -- Luckily, there is a shift happening in the idea of appropriate workplace culture. Employers are becoming more aware of the importance of keeping their employees' mental health well and many companies are working to provide an environment that supports employees both professionally and personally.

Plan activities to look forward to

Set up activities and events outside of the office that you can look forward to. Hang up a calendar in your workspace that you can write future events. Start brainstorming what sort of events would excite you to look at on your calendar each day and find out if they’re feasible. Having upcoming plans that incorporate your hobbies and/or loved ones, will give you the extra motivation you need on those days that feel extra draining.

Prioritize your time in the office, make heavy tasks less overwhelming

Follow these strategies to help you take back the clock and make the most of your time in the office. Divide up your workday into two-hour blocks and utilize the breaks in between to give your mind a rest so you can start back refreshed for the next block. When we have a lot on our plate, we tend to procrastinate and focus on simpler tasks rather than knocking out the main project at hand. You don’t have to do the hardest tasks first thing, but be sure you block out time to solely focus on what you need to and don’t be afraid to tell your coworkers that you have a lot you need to get done and can’t talk right now.

Studies show when we prioritize our well-being, our decision-making, creativity, productivity, and other success-fostering skills improve drastically. Next time you’re struggling with workplace stress, read over this list and remind yourself that you’re not alone in this. We can move from merely surviving to thriving.

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