It’s almost impossible for anybody to avoid stress at work. Stressful situations happen with different frequency in any field of activity. But, if stress becomes a constant companion at work, this leads to negative consequences. What to do in such cases? Let’s look at how dangerous this is and discuss ways to reduce stress at work.
What is the Risk of Stress at Work?
It should be noted that a certain amount of stress sometimes benefits the person. The fact is that, in this state, the entire cerebral potential is activated, energy is generated and the body is mobilized to discover an early solution for the problem. But, if such a state becomes chronic, there will be only harm.
First, concentration will worsen. When a person is nervous, irritated, worried, their attention is focused not on work, but on the source of their stress.
Second, because of chronic stress at work, productivity declines. A person cannot be effective when emotions with which they cannot cope overcome them.
Stress is considered to be one of the main causes of professional burnout and loss of interest at work.
Long-term stress leads to emotional and physical exhaustion and negatively affects health and immunity.
What to Do?
Of course, you cannot tolerate this situation. If the source of stress is not eliminated, the person will develop all the negative consequences listed above. Therefore, you need to start fighting for your emotional and physical health, as well as for comfort at work. Consider what can be done in this situation.
What Are the Causes of Stress at Work?
To quickly normalize your mental state, you need to identify and eliminate the source of stress. There can be a lot of them. Then, the difficult part, of solving the problem, commences. The most common causes of stress at work are:
1. Unhealthy atmosphere in the team
Problems in your relationships with colleagues can happen for various reasons, but when everything becomes entangled so much that it turns into a state of “cold war,” being in the team becomes a source of stress. Cope with this situation if possible, although this requires efforts.
2. Incorrect distribution of responsibilities
Overloading employees is a common situation for modern offices. When some are fired, others take on their responsibilities, although they are barely able to cope with their own tasks. If the work has become a source of stress as a result of congestion, the possible redistribution of the workload is worth discussing with your superiors.
3. The obsession with career achievements
Career growth is good, no one will argue that. But sometimes people become possessed by the ideas of advancement on the career ladder. They are ready to pay any price, just to earn the desired position. Only a few people realize that a career built at the expense of their health will not bring any joy. Solving the problem is easy – you need to reconsider your priorities and understand that health and comfort in life is more important.
4. Wrong organization of the work process and time
It often happens – there is no stability at work, you can’t quite make the most of your working time because of unforeseen problems, appearing from nowhere, like a lightning bolt from the blue. Constantly anticipating new troubles or a force majeure keeps a person in a state of stress and nervous tension. It may also be that the employee themselves incorrectly distributes their time and does not care about organizing the labor process properly. The problem can be solved with the help of careful planning and mastering the skills of time management.
5. Toxic bosses and colleagues
It’s much more difficult to cope with this problem than with all the previous ones. If the relationship with your colleagues and superiors is toxic, this can be the cause of extreme stress and it can completely deplete a person. In some cases, the problem can be solved by taking the right position and building a psychological defense against toxic employees. But discomfort still cannot be avoided. If the situation only worsens, it is worthwhile to think about changing jobs or moving to freelancing.
You Need to Take Some Rest!
Sometimes, the reason that work has become a source of stress is the lack of rest. If stress overcomes you, and you cannot help it, do not wait for the state to get worse – go to your supervisor and ask for time off, even at your own expense. Those who understand will immediately sign your request, because, in this state, you’re totally useless as a worker.
Try to spend this time beneficially, so that you can return to work fresh and rested. Do not load yourself with homework or fulfilling any other obligations. Always remember that the main person you need to take care of is you!
Useful Tips to Combat Stress at Work
1. Get enough sleep every night
Sleep is necessary for optimal health and well-being. Adequate sleep is needed to restore energy levels, regulate hormones and maintain chemical balance in your body. Due to the lack of sleep, the body becomes more sensitive to any irritants. Chronic lack of sleep will inevitably lead to a state of chronic stress, increased irritability and disrupted emotional health. Try to sleep 8-9 hours every night.
2. Avoid foods that induce anxiety symptoms
A balanced diet is necessary for controlling stress and anxiety. Certain foods have been shown to trigger stress. Here are some categories of foods that you should eliminate or greatly decrease from your diet:
Excessive sugar consumption has been shown to cause obesity, dental cavities, depression and mood swings. Many people like to eat sugar because of the quick energy boost they achieve from it. This energy peak is short-lived and blood sugar levels will fall quickly. This will result in fatigue and more sugar cravings. The continuous rise and fall of insulin levels will cause the body to release adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream causing feelings of panic and anxiety.
- Fried foods
Fried foods are difficult to digest. When you are unable to digest food, gas, heartburn, and GI complaints can induce symptoms of anxiety
- Foods in cans and plastic containers
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that has been shown to cause changes in mood. It is often found in the lining of cans and plastic containers. Many researchers believe that BPA can seep into the food that this in the container resulting in harmful effects to the body.
- Food Additives
Additives added to food can sometimes cause mood changes, anxiety and depression. The most common ones are the artificial sweetener aspartame and flavor enhancer mono sodium glutamate (MSG)
3. Move around more
Studies have shown that people who sit for long periods of time have more anxiety and higher blood pressure. If you have a sedentary job, take breaks to move around and use the stairs when possible. If time allows, consider taking a short walk on your lunch break.
4. Drink less coffee, cola and energy drinks
Caffeine, which is contained in these drinks, stimulates the central nervous system Excess amounts can make you feel shaky, nervous, cause heart palpation and insomnia. If you are already feeling anxious, these beverages can add to the problem and make it worse. Too much caffeine increases cortisol while decreasing serotonin levels. This can cause you to overreact to stressful situations. Over consumption of caffeine can also inhibit the absorption of Vitamin B.which is necessary for relaxation and regulating mood.
5. Sip an herbal tea
Chamomile tea is known for its calming effects and has been shown to reduce the symptoms of anxiety when consumed daily over a span of few weeks.
Ginger, rose hip and lemon balm tea are also effective in alleviating anxiety.
6. Progressive relaxation
Muscle tension is often caused by stress. Progressive relaxation is one way to relieve it and can be performed sitting at your desk. Focus on one muscle group at a time moving from your feet up to your head.
- Sit straight in a chair.
- Begin with your feet. Inhale slowly while clenching and tighten your toes, thighs and buttocks for 5 seconds. Quickly relax the muscles on the exhale.
- Repeat with your arms. This time clench and tighten your fists, biceps and shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds then exhale.
- Finish with your torso and head. Suck in your stomach, tighten your chest and squeeze your eyes shut. Hold for 5 seconds then exhale.
7. Deep Breathing
Deep abdominal breathing increases oxygen to the brain, aiding in decreasing physical and psychological reactions to stress. Use this technique when you are facing a stressful situation and need to remain calm. This can be done lying,sitting or standing.
- Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose. Attempt to pull the air down to the bottom of your lungs. Your stomach will expand if you are doing this correctly.
- Exhale slowly while contracting your abdominal muscles. Your stomach will be flat.
- Repeat 10 times.
8. Keep a stress journal
Keeping a record of stressful events and your response can be effective a therapeutic way to reduce stress and anxiety.
Write down the following in your journal:
- Date and time the stressful event occurred
- Stress level on a scale of 1-10
- The cause
- Physical and mental reactions that occurred in response to the stressful event.
- How you responded.
- Possible solutions if the stressful event reoccurs in the future.
9. Change your job
.In some cases, the only solution to the problem may be to change your job. If nothing helps, there is no point in torturing yourself and reaching exhaustion. You can always find another place to work or do business.
Although stress in the workplace is a common occurrence,there are some simple ways to keep yourself relaxed, confident, calm and in control. Try some of these tips and let me know how they worked for you in the comments below.