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Managing Stress

Imanjit Narwan | 30.04.2019

Stress is the feeling of being emotionally or mentally strained due to the experience of difficult or challenging situations. At work it can be caused by numerous factors; these may include having a lack of control over increasing job demands, not receiving enough support or information from colleagues, experiencing poor relationships with individuals at work, and/or being unable to manage work-life balance effectively. Everyone experiences some sort of stress at work and when these pressures seem to keep piling up and never ending, there can be various detrimental consequences to our health. However, it should also be remembered that stress is not always negative, as when it is received in healthy, manageable amounts, the outcome can actually have a positive effect on performance, boosting our efficiency at work.

To understand whether workplace stress is having a negative impact on yourself, here are some signs that can help you distinguish this. Firstly, stress could negatively impact emotions, such as leading to more mood swings, making us feel a bit more sensitive and emotional. This can also make us feel slightly more withdrawn and isolated at work, not feeling motivated to complete tasks and generally lacking confidence. Furthermore, stress can even have an effect on our diet; some people find that they tend to eat more food and snack when feeling stressed, whilst others lose their appetite as a result of stress. Others may potentially turn to alcohol and drugs during more difficult periods. Sleep can also be impacted by increased stress, whether this be caused by overthinking and not letting the mind relax, or as a knock-on effect from the previously discussed consequences. We know that all these outcomes can negatively impact our health, so it is important that we aim to try and reduce the feeling of stress as much as we can, by maintaining a positive and healthy work life so we do not suffer these negative consequences.

Certain strategies and tactics can be implemented to ease our work life stress. In certain situations, it may be best to go to your HR department, speak to your managers, or approach counselling services which your workplace may offer and in some cases, you may find that visiting your GP may be the most appropriate. However, having effective coping strategies is really important. Here are a few other techniques that you may wish to consider and apply the next time you start to feel some pressure building up at work:

  1. Accepting the challenge - Acceptance is good first step to try and develop an optimistic view on the situation you are in and also assist you to take positive actions. It might help you realise that you may need to slightly change your tactics on how you are currently managing your work life, which can help you be more efficient and balance workload more effectively.
  2. Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness are great ways to help clear your mind from the stressors and providing yourself with some stress relief.
  3. Social support - Whether it's talking to a colleague, meeting up with a friend, or speaking to a family member, sharing your problems can help ease the pressure that you may be building up inside and keeping to yourself. They may even be able to offer you some advice on how to deal with any problems, or even help you towards reaching a solution to prevent or reduce it.
  4. Staying healthy - Starting to exercise regularly, or exercising more, can help your body fight stress more effectively. You may find that you feel more positive after going to the gym or doing a sport you enjoy; the reason being that our body releases chemicals called endorphins after exercise, which help us feel good and this therefore makes exercise a great stress reliever!
  5. Take a break and have some time to do things that you enjoy! Perhaps by going on holiday with your friends and family, or by picking up a new hobby you have wanted to try. It is always important to make sure you are managing your work-life balance effectively and taking time off whenever you need.