Heavy workloads, deadlines looming, or large events you must be ready for, can all cause pressure in the workplace. Some degree of pressure at work from time to time is good for you. This can drive us to work at our best and perform to our highest standards. However too much or continuous pressure can lead to stress. This can then be the beginning of a health problem that can impact your working and personal life.
The damage that stress can cause an individual are multiple, as much mentally as physically. It has already been proved that too much stress can lead to sleep deprivation, weight gain, anxiety and possibly depression and a complete burnout. In these modern times with mobile phones and emails, we are constantly contactable. Work is always accessible and work can follow you all the way home. This constant connection makes it harder to switch off and relax. Many people nowadays even work through lunch or eat at their desks.
If you are struggling and the feeling of distress follows you home, the short-term daily stress at work can then turn into a chronic stress. This is much harder to treat and is very detrimental to your health. So, how can you help relieve this stress and stop it before it is too late? Here are some ways to help cope that can be put into practice at both work and at home.
Prioritise your work
This may seem to many like extra work and a waste of time they don’t have. Yet others simply couldn’t cope without it. Scheduling your day will obviously take you a few minutes each day, but you will benefit from this, we promise! Stress can start from insecurity, having a list showing exactly what you have to do that day will stop that insecurity.
Following your work progression throughout the day and ticking off the items on your schedule allows you to enjoy the short term goals and successes and not think too far ahead. Your schedule will be ordered in importance of task. So you will know the items at the bottom do not need to be worried about as much. The main benefit is you know the tasks remaining, so you’ll never get lost, forget something or panic.
We’re not suggesting you spend the whole working day talking, we don’t want to cause a trip to HR! However, we suggest that if something is bothering you at work, don’t bottle it up. Keeping it to yourself is helping nobody, so find someone you can open up to.
Depending on the situation, find someone you can talk to. If you have a good relationship with your manager this is perfect as they can help and offer support. If not, a colleague, or if it is something you’d rather not share speak to a friend or family member. Getting it off your chest is the only solution and it will leave you feeling much better.
Avoid unnecessary interruptions
During a standard working day it is almost impossible to avoid all interruptions, as things will crop up that need your attention whether that be an urgent phone call or even birthday cakes in the kitchen. Too many interruptions eat away at your time and can lead to a struggle in completing your work, which in turn creates stress. Constant interruptions also affect your concentration levels which lead to errors and simple tasks taking longer due to mistakes.
In order to avoid disturbance and keep focused on the tasks in hand, turn off your emails for an hour, turn off your mobile phone, close your office door (if you have one) or perhaps find a quieter area to work for a short time. Allowing you to concentrate fully on the work you have, after some time you can go back to working normally. The lack of intrusions during that time will have boosted your workload and make the rest of the day easier.
Take a break
We’re not condoning completely downing tools during a busy period at work, however regular breaks during long periods of concentration are vital. These should be included in your daily schedule, allowing you mind to have its own rest. This may seem like a bad idea when you have so much to do, however a short break will actually improve your productivity when you return.
So, your break arrives, don’t pull out your mobile phone and catch up with gossip or sit at your desk and see what’s happening on Facebook. Take this opportunity to completely clear your head; stretch your legs, get some fresh air, allow yourself to escape from the work environment for that short spell. When you do return to your desk, it will be with a clear mind and you can hit your next task fresh and good to go.
It is widely known that individuals who exercise regularly enjoy a boost in their mood and health. So, choosing a form of physical activity that you enjoy is the perfect form of releasing stress. You could join a gym, go jogging, a local sports team or anything that keeps you active. You don’t have to be the next Mr Universe or Heavyweight Champion of the World, even choosing to cycle to work has been proven to boost your endorphins which in turn alleviates stress and depression.
Eating and Sleep
If an individual suffers heavy stress at work, this sooner or later follows them home. When someone is working beyond their capabilities and long hours, this usually leads to them not eating properly. Grabbing a pasty or fast food as and when they can or skipping meals altogether which then leaves you feeling worse. Making sure that you have a well balanced diet at work and at home means that your energy levels throughout the day are high and maintained allowing you to work to your best ability.
Sleep deprivation is another problem for people struggling with stress; it is easy to say, try not to let this happen, but it is hard for the individual to put this into practice. Individuals usually bottle their stresses up and end up thinking about them before they go to bed (the time when they can do nothing about them). So, the stress gets worse, they sleep less, the stress gets worse, they sle…….. Hopefully putting into place the ideas above will alleviate the stress.
If lack of sleep is the main problem this can also be dealt with. You need to create as relaxing environment as possible before you go to bed. Turn off all laptops, phones and tablets at least an hour before you go to bed. Try not to think about work when these have been switched off. Perhaps read a book, breathe deeply and try to talk about things that make you happy. Go to bed in the best frame of mind you can and as relaxed as possible.