Be Stress Free In the workplace.
This is probably the most common cause of stress, whether you're in a job that has you dealing with high stress situations or a job that you don't enjoy, stress can be a factor. I read a statistic during my research that I found quite astonishing:
It is estimated that work-related stress is responsible for six million days of sick leave per year, with stress being linked to many major and minor illnesses.
For most of us, work is a significant and meaningful feature of life with the majority of us spending over 25% of our lives working. While work can provide us with structure, purpose, satisfaction, self-esteem and earning power, it can also be a place of stress and worry.
The first, and one of the most important things to know about stress in the workplace is that a certain degree of it is necessary for us to function and perform at our job. It enables us to be more productive, focused and driven. The big problems start when we have to much of it.
Work related stress is usually caused by:
- Excessive time pressures
- Inflexible working hours
- Too much or too little responsibility
- Poor work/life balance
- Confusion over your role and responsibilities
- Lack of job variety and interest
- Inadequate training
- Difficult relationships at work
- Uncertainty over job prospects or a change of role
- Fear of redundancy
Some of the physical symptoms of work related stress include:
- Headaches and muscular tension
- Backache and neck ache
- Increased susceptibility to colds and other infections
- Excessive tiredness and difficulty sleeping
- Raised heart rate
- Increased sweating
- Lower sex drive
- Blurred vision
- Skin rashes
Does some of that sound familiar? I know I've fallen foul of quite a few of them in the past.
To begin to deal with stress in the workplace you must first find out what triggers your stress in the first place. This is about finding an equilibrium/ balance; if you're in a meeting and you're doing all the talking, this could be a sign of your stress making you talk to much. Take a few breaths and let someone else do the talking. It is hard to define your stress triggers in this book because they're potentially endless!
You are the best judge of what makes you stressed at work. Now that you are more aware of stress and what it does to your body, you can identify when your stress levels are increasing. When this happens, it is almost certainly one of your triggers.
Talk to others.
A fantastic part of working can be the social side of it. 40% of Architects marry people they have met in the workplace, that's a pretty high percentage. If you're struggling to cope with the demands put on you, talk to your colleagues, you'll often find that they've also been suffering in silence. The old adage; a problem shared is a problem halved, applies here. Once you start to talk about the causes of your stress, you'll begin to feel less stressed, simple!
Take up a hobby or exercise.
There are a few lifestyle changes that can be made to help you reduce your work related stress. Taking up a hobby can be one of them. If you work in a physically demanding environment, think about taking up a slower paced hobby that involves relaxation such as Yoga. If you sit at a desk all day, try incorporating exercise into your hobby; start running, cycling, swimming, walking, climbing, martial arts, anything.
Avoid destructive coping strategies.
Something that I have seen an awful lot of in my research is destructive responses to stress in the workplace. These fall into three main categories:
I'm not talking about a quick pint on a Friday night after work before you go home, I'm talking about excesses in these areas. Smoking is a quick fix to stress and is detrimental in the long run. I shouldn't have to tell you about the danger, needless to say, it will kill you!!!!
Caffeine is a less well known tool for dealing with stress. Caffeine speeds up your metabolism, among other things, and makes your heart beat faster. This can make you feel better for a short period of time but it is often detrimental and leads to tiredness towards the end of the day. Any more than 3 cups of tea or coffee in one day is probably to many.
If you subscribe to any one of these destructive methods of stress relief then begin to think what it is doing to your body. Try and reduce your consumption and replace it with your hobby. There is tonnes of information on helping you either quit smoking or alcohol, if you think you need help, don't be afraid to ask for it.