A common source of stress can be the workplace. Handling responsibilities, juggling deadlines, interacting with coworkers and supervisors…it has the potential to build internal pressure that can in turn be harmful on your health.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has said, “Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury.”
Because stress can cause health issues if handled improperly, we wanted to outline some safe ways that people can handle stress at work.
1. Causes of Stress at Work
While there can be several sources of stress in the workplace, there are a few primary sources listed below. We’ve listed a few of the main stressors in a workplace, as well as some other ones.
There are cycles of pressure and release in every place of work. Oftentimes, pressure can come from an excessive workload. If you have many roles to play on-the-job, are constantly communicating with others or find it hard to accomplish all of your tasks each week, you may have a heavier workload than you can deliver.
General Job Concerns
Even if you can accomplish everything you need to in a week, stress may come from other sources concerning your job. This could include the fear of being fired, insecurity, low salary, few opportunities to advance and rapid corporate changes. If a lot of changes are happening at your work – or if you feel no job satisfaction – your stress may increase.
Not Being the Right Fit
It might sound strange, but a person can become stressed if they do not fit the job requirements. This means that your personality or skill strengths might not be cohesive with the strengths needed for the job you have. Because of this, you may find yourself needing to work harder than a person who would fit your job requirements better.
Sometimes, simply the environment you work in can increase anxiety. You may experience stress at work if the place you work has…
- A Noisy Atmosphere
- Bad Temperature Control
- Inadequate Lighting
- Limited Ventilation
- A Poor Social Environment
Other reasons you may experience stress in the workplace may include:
- Conflicting Demands
- Role Confusion
- Sense of Powerlessness
- Staff Cutbacks
- Tension Among Coworkers
- Unclear Expectations
- Uninteresting Work
Another great way to find out what may be your specific stressors is to keep a journal documenting when you are stressed and what made you stressed.
2. Signs of Stress at Work
Below is a list of things that might indicate that you are under stress. If you experience these things, think about if you are more anxious than normal and try to evaluate what is causing the stress.
- Feelings of Anxiousness, Irritability or Depression
- High Blood Pressure
- Loss of Interest at Work (Low Morale)
- Muscle Tension or Headaches
- Problems Sleeping (Insomnia, Disrupted Sleep)
- Social Withdrawal
- Stomach Problems
- Trouble Concentrating or Remembering
- Weak Immune System
As you can see, stress is not just a mental burden. If you experience stress or anxiety for a prolonged period of time, it can result in health issues and social problems. For this reason, it’s important to learn how to handle stress in a way that is beneficial to your health.
3. Unhealthy Ways to Handle Stress
People resort to many things in order to relieve stress. Some things, however, while relieving stress temporarily, can cause far worse health issues in the future. Unhealthy ways to handle stress at work include:
- Drinking Alcohol
- Eating Junk Food
- Withdrawing from Friends/Family
We recently conducted a survey with college students asking their opinion on their smoking and alcohol tendencies. The majority of them said that they began smoking as a way to relieve stress. You can take a look at the full article here.
How to Better Handle Stress at Work
At Work: Prioritize and Organize
Simply making a plan of action by organizing your tasks can relieve any pressure that you are feeling. When you are at work and feeling stressed, follow a few of the tips below:
- Be Early to Work (One less thing to stress about!)
- Break Projects into Small Tasks
- Create Balanced Schedule
- Delegate Your Work
- Don’t Overcommit
- Plan Frequent (Short) Breaks
- Prioritize Tasks Daily
- Talk to Your Supervisor
After Work: Take Care of Yourself
Stress doesn’t immediately stop when you leave work. Sometimes it helps to do something that will take your mind off work. Here are a few suggestions of ways to unwind at home:
- Avoid Alcohol Use
- Eat Healthy Foods
- Get Plenty of Sleep
- Relax for an Evening (i.e. watch a movie)
- Talk with a Friend
We hope this article has been insightful for you to identify what is causing you to be anxious at work and how you can better handle the stress.
How do you relieve or handle stress at work? Help us add to our lists by leaving a comment in the section below!