Everyone who has had a job or still has a job has at some point experienced work-related stress. It could be mild stress for some people, and for some, it could be extreme. The extreme cases are what lead to burn out, personal dissatisfaction, resentments, sadness, and in some cases, depression.
In this article, I’ll show you some useful tips you could use to handle your work-related stress.
What are the common causes of Stress at Work?
Stress comes in different forms but the main source of stress at work revolves around the following factors:
- Low salaries.
- Excessive workloads.
- Few opportunities for growth or advancement.
- Interpersonal conflicts.
- Physical discomforts.
- Lack of social support.
- Not having enough control over job-related decisions.
- Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations.
Shocking Statistics about Stress
Survey shows that:
- Stress has a correlation to depression, and it leads to $51 billion in costs due to absenteeism and $26 billion in treatment costs.
- Work-related stress costs businesses about $300 billion yearly.
- Stress accounts for around 1 million absenteeism every day.
- Work-related stress accounts for about 120,000 deaths and accounts for about $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly.
- Almost 83 % of people experience work-related stress.
What are the Effects of Uncontrolled Stress?
Most of the work related-stress we experience doesn’t just go away or drop at the office, it usually goes with the individual to their homes. It is one of the reasons most people experience difficulties in their relationships, marriages, and even personal health.
Stress at work correlates with heartaches, stomachaches, short temper, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, and a weak immune system. Also, uncontrolled stress can lead to depression, drug abuse, excess consumption of alcohol, smoking, and heart diseases.
Simple Ways to Handle Work-Related Stress
Although prolonged stress is bad for the body, stress can also be a good sign. It can be an indicator that you have to change jobs or engage in personal development.
Last year while I was working with a client in the Philippines who complained about constant stress at work, it was fascinating to discover that the source of stress for this manager was lack of challenge and growth at the office. And not because of lack of financial or conflict at work. It goes to show that some stress could be a result of a lack of purpose or meaning in life, or work.
Ensure to take the time off to evaluate yourself to see where your stress is emanating from, this process will give you a clear understanding of how to handle any stress-related circumstance.
The following are some helpful tips you can incorporate into your life to help you reduce work-related stress:
1. Work out Ways to Handle Your Finances
Finance accounts for about 62 percent of stress.
If you feel finance is the main trigger for your stress, it could be a clear indication that you have to manage your finance properly. Understand your spending habits and how money flows from your hands.
In some other cases, it could be an indication that you’re working where you are undervalued. All humans love to be appreciated adequately, and when we feel what we give doesn’t correspond to what we get, we become resentful and angered.
It is important for you to take the time to analyze the two sides and see where your stress is coming from.
2. Avoid Multitasking.
Studies have found out that multitasking isn’t healthy at all, that is, in fact, reduces productivity by 40%. Multitask leads to mental stress and can impair the body’s functionality. It’s the main reason why a lot of people feel burned out after a long day at work.
If you feel stressed at work, maybe it’s high time you check how you carry out your job. If you love multitasking, stop it, and try to carry out one task at a time.
Avoid taking on responsibilities all by yourself. Understand that you can’t do everything by yourself. If you feel other people are less qualified at your job, you should outsource the less important stuff to them.
Delegating is one important skill of a leader, and it might be the reason why you feel stressed and burned out at work.
Learn how to delegate the less important things at work, and anything that is too hard for you to do should also be outsourced. This way, you get to free your mind from stress.
4. Avoid Perfectionism.
As a design thinking expert, one of the things I teach my clients is that they should avoid perfectionism syndrome and instead strive for improvement. The improvement mentality is what inspires growth and innovation while perfectionism breeds stagnation, countless worries, and depression.
Nothing on earth is perfect and nothing will ever be perfect. That’s why we work every day to improve on existing things. Put in mind that Today’s perfection is tomorrow’s flaws.
Shift your mind from perfection and you’ll see a significant reduction of stress in your life and work.
Here is where goal setting is important. Studies show that time management is an important factor when dealing with work-related stress. Delegating can be an important way to prioritize at work but the most effective way to prioritize it to have a goal – work goal or daily goals. And schedule a time block for each activity. Prioritizing gives you more time to focus on more important stuff to the exclusion of everything else.
Take out time to prioritize your job and stick to it. When you do so, you’ll observe a significant reduction in stress.
6. Avoid Comparison.
Everyone has their capacity in life. When you compare your work accomplishment with your other colleague, you inevitably stress the mind, you make yourself feel unworthy, not smart enough or good enough. These thoughts don’t only hurt your feelings, it creates low self-esteem, makes you defensive, and antagonistic at work.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, take out time to improve on your daily task and seek help where necessary.
7. Avoid conflicts.
Work-related conflicts account for stress in most people’s lives, and it usually spills into personal lives such as relationships.
Understand that not everyone deserves your time and energy, everything mustn’t be a do or die affair. Sometimes you just have to take the high roads for the sake of your mental wellbeing.
8. Avoid Distractions.
Studies reviled that about 52% of employees admitted to being disturbed by their fellow employees. These constant disturbances can take a toll on your work performance and make you counter-productive at work. This can be the reason why your supervisor puts pressure on you because you’re not meeting the deadlines. And these pressures can be mind disturbing and can lead to stress, headaches, and burnouts.
If you’re an entrepreneur, disturbance could also be the reason why you feel stuck in a task.
To help you increase your performance and reduce work-related stress, it is advisable that you prioritize and use time blocks to avoid distractions. Put your phones away, and avoid social media.
9. Engage in Personal Development
If you feel undervalued, unchallenged, or unmotivated at work, this could be a sign that you have to engage in personal development. According to a report from the UN, lack of personal development can be a contributing factor to work-related stress for most people.
When you develop yourself, you expand your prospect of increasing your value and financial capability. Your pay reflects how you’re valued in your organization.
For those who seek challenges, it might be worth joining external organizations like toastmasters to build you speaking and leadership skill. It is said that public speaking is the second most feared thing on earth. Who knows, maybe it’s a challenge worth exploring for yourself.
10. Take Some time off to Relax.
Take some breaks while working on a huge project or anything at all. Breaks serve as a means for refreshing and revitalizing the mind.
If you’re frequently stressed or experiencing severe stress, it’s a sign that you need to take a vacation. Take out time to do the things you love, listen to music, take a walk or catch up with old friends. These things have a way of alleviating stress in life. Your health is more valuable than your job. Give it time to rest and you’ll be grateful you did.
11. Get your Body Moving
When it comes to your overall health condition, exercise matters a lot. Studies show that exercise has a positive effect on relieving stress, reducing depression and improving cognitive functions. And 53 percent of adults report feeling good about themselves due to constant exercising.
Stress has a direct correlation with a lack of exercise. When you fail to exercise, your body becomes stiff and it can lead to severe back and neck pains.
12. Share your Problem
A problem shared is a problem half-solved, and two good heads are better than one.
If you’re going through stress in your life, it is advisable to share it with people you trust or feel comfortable with. A coach or mentor can be a great place to start.
There’s no point bottling up your stress life and deluding yourself that you’re strong. If you don’t share your struggle, it might grow into sometime uncontrollable or to a severe health condition.
Take out time to share your problem, you’ll be glad you did.
Work related-stress is a severe issue in our society due to the rapidly changing environment. For most people, it could be quite devastating.
If you feel or are experiencing stress in your life, it is advisable to take it seriously. Understand where it’s coming from, and seek out support.
Need help or support to deal with stress in your life?
Contact me for free. You’ll be glad you did.