If you are lucky enough and don’t really experience stress in your office, good for you; however, a certain amount of workplace stress is to be expected, it’s normal. Excessive stress, on another hand, can interfere and hugely decrease your productivity and performance, which may further lead to impacting your physical and emotional health. In order to deal with stress at work, you’ll need to take steps, advised further in the text.
Just to be clear, stress isn’t always bad – keep it within your comfort zone and you’ll be able to stay more focused, energetic and open to workplace challenges. It often provides you with more focus and prevents accidents and costly mistakes. However, excess stress, caused by long hours, tight deadlines and general frustration can leave you feeling overwhelmed and understanding stress is the first step towards tackling it.
Dealing with stress cannot commence until you’ve realized that there’s an excess of it. Luckily, the warning signs are pretty much obvious, even though the subject employee may not realize so. Here’s what to keep an eye out for:
- Loss of interest at work and general apathy
- Feeling of anxiousness, irritability and depression
- Concentration issues
- Social withdrawal
- Substance abuse
- Stomach issues
- Muscle tension
- Loss of sex drive
Causes of Stress
The warning signs of stress should be associated with what may have caused them. The above outlined list may be caused by stressors that aren’t work-related and, although these should definitely be dealt with, they fall into a different category of stress. Misjudging outside stressors for those that happen in office can lead you to trying to solve problems that aren’t really there, which tends to be frustrating and can cause stress in itself. Common workplace stress causes are:
- More overtime due to cutbacks
- Pressure to meet the expectations that always seem to be rising
- Fear of being fired
- Pressure to perform at optimum levels (although this should be every employee’s aim, you are allowed to have a bad day and underperform every once in a while)
In order to help your mind deal with issues at work, it should be able to work at full capacity (although it is vital that you shouldn’t overload your system). An employee without enough energy will have a hard time dealing with excessive stress, making it linger. However, eating plenty isn’t nearly enough to cope with difficulties at the workplace. A low-sugar, high-protein diet is definitely something to aim at, even if you are your own boss, let alone working in an office. Eliminate “bad sugars”, such as candy, cakes and the like and start bringing fruit to work. Fatty foods are definitely not a good idea – stick with veggies, protein and meals with a small number of ingredients.
Sleep deprivation is a well-known stress causer, but sleeping well isn’t the same thing as oversleeping. The perfect goal of your bedtime shouldn’t exceed 6-7 hours. Getting too little sleep means that your body won’t be able to get into the REM stage, which is actually when the real resting begins. Sleep for too long, on another hand, and not only will waking up get more difficult, but it may negatively impact your health.
If you have been under stress for quite some time now, you should seek professional help. There is no shame in undergoing a psychological assessment; you’d be surprised how many people actually do it. Talking to a psychiatrist or a psychologist will not only help you get useful advice (they are experts, after all), but will also enable you to open up and share, which is extremely relieving. Additionally, seeking professional help will help you solve your personal problems, as well as those that are work-related.
Stop Thinking that You are Invincible
Finally, many people are actually stressed out because they think that nothing can upset them. They tend to attribute their feeling of being stressed to things unrelated to work. As was stated, the realization that you are experiencing excess stress is the first step towards solving these issues and, without being aware of a problem, you cannot really solve it.
Stress at work can be a difficult thing and may lead to a large number of additional problems. After realizing that the work-related stress is there, try covering as many of these steps as possible. And keep in mind that a healthy dose of stress is good and will keep you on your toes.