Workplace Stress - Manage It Efficiently

In: How To

Today’s workplace is impossible to imagine without stress. Excessive workloads, demanding management and the necessity to multitask keep us tense during the working day. Due to the expansion of internet and technology we are more productive – on the contrary, we have to do more and more work in the same period of time. As a result, feeling stressed becomes almost inevitable. Stress can be useful in small doses – for instance, when you need to report in front of a large audience or complete the assigned project on time. This kind of stress eventually contributes to your professional development (to learn how to secure your personal development at the workplace, see here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/importance-of-personal-development-in-the-workplace).

Ongoing pressure and stress, on the other side, (if not addressed at an early stage) can affect your productivity and your entire life. Lack of workplace inspiration, professional burnout, destroyed relationships with family and friends, and even physical and mental health problems – that’s not even a complete list of possible stress consequences. To minimize the influence of stress on all areas of your professional and personal life, read the guidance from our resume service online below.

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What causes stress at work?

Before dealing workplace stress, you need to understand where this stress derives from. Despite the mental conditions of each individual, it’s possible to distinguish the most common reasons that cause stress of various levels:

  • High workloads
    Heavy workloads with endless to-do lists tend to happen everywhere, especially in high seasons. However, if working in a rush is typical state of things in your company, you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed, stressed and burnt out in a matter of weeks. Running yourself ragged, even for the sake of future promotion, is never worth it. For ecological methods of getting paid more, see here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-get-paid-more-tips-from-professional-writing-service.
  • Unrealistic demands and goals
    The same goes for the situation when management sets goals which are hardly ever possible to reach (for instance, sales targets which are over the top). In this case, it’s better to change company in favor of the one with more realistic requirements. If you want to quit your job and maintain good relationships with your ex coworkers, learn how to do it right: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-quit-your-job-in-the-right-way.
  • Bullying, harassment and discrimination
    Don’t underestimate the importance of friendly and stimulating environment, since it ensures our piece of mind. Negative workplace conditions can make your labor of love totally unbearable and serve as a constant source of stress. Whether we like it or not, workplace discrimination exists and has many forms – for example, here you will find out about women constantly being paid less for the same job: http://resumeperk.com/blog/problems-of-gender-wage-gap-10-facts
  • Toxic coworkers or corporate culture
    We all make mistakes, however, in some companies people are afraid to admit making mistakes because of unhealthy work attitude and blame culture. Perfectionism isn’t the most effective approach to work, and constant feeling of fear is likely to keep you nervous. Sometimes stress and pressure comes from a specific individual working in your team. Toxic coworkers can keep the entire team unmotivated and unproductive.
  • Ineffective management
    Basically, there are two common problems with management. Your manager can leave you all by yourself, without giving you a direction and supervision that is beneficial for both you and the company. On the contrary, they might be on the top of you, managing all of your activities and not allowing you to be initiative. Both extremes are stressful and dangerous for your career in the long run.
    If you are facing problems with your boss, it’s high time that you created a career plan to identify whether your current job fits your needs: http://resumeperk.com/blog/planning-a-future-career-are-you-for-or-against
  • Poor physical environment
    The environment of our office affects our performance directly and instantly. Too cold or too hot office; poor lightening or noise from an old air conditioner can turn every aspect of our work into a constant stress. Physical environment affects our health heavily, so you shouldn’t get on with the uncomfortable conditions.
  • Lack of control over work activities
    Nobody wants to feel like a robot that is designed to do specific tasks in a pre-determined way. Highly motivated individuals want to be the active participants of the working process and influence the range of tasks they take on and the way they perform duties assigned. Lack of control over work activities (especially if you know more effective ways of doing them) lead to stress, say the resume experts of our service.
  • Insecurity about the job
    Sometimes companies don’t share the information about the current state of things in business, as well as their strategy and activities. This leads to employees feeling fear of losing their jobs, especially if there are rumors at the water cooler that things aren’t going well (by the way, here’s what should be done if you were fired: http://resumeperk.com/blog/what-to-do-after-youre-fired-tips-from-resumes-writing-com) .
  • Job interviews
    Interviews are huge source of stress for all candidates. Although there isn’t a cure from it, you can significantly minimize this stress by preparing thoroughly. You need to research the company and the prospective role to have a fruitful conversation with the hiring manager. Be sure to end the interview with the most effective interview questions. If you are being interviewed for a stressful or managerial role, prepare to hear the unexpected and odd questions during the interview. And, if you find yourself in a group interview, learn how to handle this challenge effectively.

Constant overworking and workaholism lead to stress as well. There’s a huge difference between workaholic and hard worker, and if you’ve found signs of workaholism in you, you are at risk of stress and its consequences. Remember that even if you manage to get that bonus and promotion you strive for, your sleep problems, anxiety and stress aren’t the price to pay for it.

Possible consequences of workplace stress

  • Lack of productivity and focus
    Stress has negative effects on your mood, workplace motivation, memory and focus. In other words, you can suddenly forget the important information when you need to analyze the report or make multiple mistakes in it due to your poor concentration. Or, you may forget to complete an important task on time, which will reflect both on business and your professional reputation. If not addressed at this stage, stress can lead to a total professional burnout.
    If you are not stressed but just lack motivation to get things done, learn a plenty of ways to regain motivation.
  • Destroyed professional and personal relationships
    High levels of stress keep you tense and make you sensitive and vulnerable for everything going on around you both at work and at home. You can respond inadequately to constructive criticism or lose temper and yell at your wife (or your boss). You tend to take every neutral word on your stride and get offended or, on the contrary, start defending yourself. Such unhealthy interactions spoil your relationships at work and with your family.
  • Poor work-life balance
    As stress minimizes your productivity, focus and ability to effectively communicate with others, it affects your time management skills and work life balance consequently. When you feel overwhelmed and too tired, you’ll be unable to evaluate the scope of work, prioritize tasks and get things on time to allocate time to your hobbies, social life and healthy sleep.
  • Health issues
    Everyone knows that stress is hazardous for our health, but we don’t always see the connection between it and its possible consequences. For instance, here is not even a complete list of stress-caused health problems: headaches, blood pressure, putting on or losing weight, insomnia, heart and stomach problems, and many more. You’re not likely to do your best at work if you don’t feel well. Moreover, physical and mental health disorders tend to accumulate, which means that the consequences of the long-term stress are impossible to cure during a week’s vacation.

If not managed proactively, stress can make long-term effect on your health, well-being and your career. Our professional resume writers recommend that you reduce stress before it gets chronic. Here are a few actionable steps you can take to improve the situation:

Managing workplace stress efficiently

Reach out for support
One of the most effective ways to cope with workplace stress is to speak it out to someone who is a good listener and is willing to pay attention to your problems. It has been proven than those who have isolated life and doesn’t support social contacts are more subjected to stress and its consequences.

  • When something at work depresses you or drives you mad, you can talk about it with a coworker you’re in good relationships with (however, be sure to avoid taboo and private topics). Sometimes companies provide stress management resources or coaching – find out if there is something of this kind in your organization.
  • Speaking to your friends or family members is a powerful way to reduce stress too. Having strong social ties make you more stress resistant. Friends don’t need to help you finding new ways of stress management; still, they can help you unwind and distract from your stressors.
  • Talk to a therapist if you’ve been stressed for a long time and feel that self-help doesn’t bring results. Professional psychologist will help you identify your stressors, reduce inner pressure and teach you how to respond to the stress right.

Take care of your health
In a corporate rush it’s easy to start neglecting your health. Nevertheless, when you maintain a healthy balance and take proper care of yourself, you become more resilient to workplace stress. If you’ve never paid attention to nutrition and exercising, you can start small and go from there, growing stronger both physically and mentally.

  • Exercise regularly. It’s up to you to choose the type of physical activity you will enjoy, i.e. aerobics, cycling, jogging, yoga, dancing, etc. If your schedule doesn’t allow taking classes, stick to home exercise – but be sure to get active during no less than 30 minutes a day. You can also take 5-minute break to exercise during the day. Regular physical activity keeps your heart healthy and reduces stress levels.
    Moreover, if you commit to any athletic kind of sport, this can be used as another selling point for your resume. Learn how to present athletic experience during the interview.
  • Reconsider your nutrition habits. When we feel stressed, we often make unhealthy food choices and stay on sugary snacks, fast food or anything convenient and unhealthy. Needless to say that sugar and refined carbs doesn’t help us beat stress and makes us feel unhappier in the long run. Try consuming more fruit, fatty fish, and nuts – this food is healthier and keeps our mood positive.
  • Limit the stimulating food. Having a coffee or energy drink when you need a boost of productivity is okay, but doing so every day is harmful your heart and nervous system. Get rid of (or at least, limit the consumption) of any kind of stimulating food and drinks.
  • Avoid excessive drinking or smoking. Bad habits are often perceived as a way out from stress. However, by making us feel slightly better at the moment, they tend to stress our nervous system even more in the long run.

Get a full night’s sleep
Sleeping well at night ensures our high productivity, calmness, positive spirits and ability to focus. It’s considered normal that you sleep at least 7-8 hours a day. If you have sleep issues that prevent you from having a full night’s sleep, the resume experts from our company suggest that you try the following:

  • Go to bed and get up in the same time every day. You need to develop a routine to help your body function properly. Falling asleep in the same time will help you sleep as long as you need and feel better. If you are used to working late in the evening, consider changing your schedule to have a proper rest.
  • Limit the use of smartphone and computer at least one hour before bedtime. Avoid consuming any stimulating or stressful information such as watching news or participating in the web discussions prior to going to bed. Otherwise, you’ll have problems falling asleep.
  • Create a ‘time to sleep’ atmosphere by establishing a set of calming rituals before going to bed. Here are a few hints: dim the light, listen to relaxing music, take a bath or have a good read. If repeated regularly, these rituals will set you in the right mood for sleep and increase the quality of your sleep significantly.

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Set the boundaries between work and life
With today’s availability via e-mail and smartphones, it’s a real challenge to disconnect from work even in non-working hours. Nevertheless, it’s a must if your work serves as a source of stress. Here’s how to organize your activities to help your mind relax during non-working hours:

  • Develop a set of rules that would determine your new professional routines. For example, you can create a rule not to check your inbox in the evenings (or, if you’re too busy, at least 2 hours before the bedtime). This simple trick will help you distract from work stressors and help you mentally relax.
  • Have a lunch outside or at least not at your desk. Avoid the temptation to work during lunchtime – lots of work and no breaks will damage your productivity. Use the lunchtime to have a walk, chat with your coworkers or connect with friends.
  • Don’t try too hard to meet unrealistic requirements or work late hours to get noticed. It’s been proven multiple times that overworking rarely leads to career promotion. A little stress before the deadline or important task is even helpful, but no career purpose is worth constant stress and pressure.
  • Take your time to reload and relax. Don’t neglect taking vacations – a week abroad or by the seaside can work wonders on your productivity and motivation. Even the weekend that is totally free from resolving work issues and checking your mail helps you to come back to work positive and full of energy. Remember that your ability to build healthy work-life balance will contribute to your career success in the future.

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Learn relaxation techniques

Switching off from work helps a lot, but what if your planned vacation is far ahead and you feel stressed right now? In addition to organizing your life, learning how to relax during the busy day will help minimize stress levels.

  • Plan breaks during the day. If possible, allocate several 5 to 10-minute breaks in the middle of the day. You can devote this time to breathing exercises, meditation or a short walk. The main rule is to completely distract from work activities and focus on the current process (even if you are simply watching out of window or drinking tea).
  • Master deep breathing techniques. Despite the simplicity of simply breathing in and out for a few minutes, it’s an effective cure against stress. If you need to refresh your thoughts or recharge after communication with a difficult client, few minutes of deep breathing is what you need to restore balance and work productively.
  • Eliminate distractions. Fast-paced environment of the modern office means that you are being distracted all the time – work chat, e-mail from your boss or a colleague visiting you for clarification. But what to do if these distractions naturally freak you out? Try switching off sound on your smartphone or using “do not disturb” sign in chat if you’re busy doing an important task. Thus, you’ll set yourself free from non-urgent tasks. And, to be sure that you are not bothering or stressing others, learn the rules of modern office etiquette.
  • Control your thoughts. The habit of focusing on negative side of things can be pretty stressful itself. Negative thoughts lead to low energy levels, so develop the habit of thinking positively. Try to see the bright side of every situation you face and look for humor in it. When you train your mind to focus on solution rather than problems, you’ll find it much easier to cope with stress.

Talk to your boss

Sometimes it’s tough to cope with workplace stress on your own. If you feel that your stress is caused not by internal factors such as lack of motivation or poor time management skills but rather by external ones, it’s a wise decision to talk to your boss. However, avoiding just breaking into their office with complaints and moaning about the working conditions. By doing so, you’ll have yourself an image of someone who doesn’t cope with the job responsibilities.

Instead, take your time to identify what exactly causes your stress and what can be done to reduce it. For instance, you can ask them to be assigned different type of tasks or change the physical conditions of your workplace. As a rule, management is interested in productive and effective employees, so your constructive suggestions are likely to be accepted.

Respond to stress proactively

In addition to building healthy work-life balance and taking care of your body and mind, you need to learn how to respond to stress and become more stress-resistant. Here are a few key tips for those who regularly face workplace stress:

  • Identify what causes your stress. Easier said than done, especially if you work in a fast-paced environment and feel overwhelmed all the time. Maybe, you’ll need to track your condition for a week or so to understand what stresses you most. Are these the rude clients or toxic coworker that makes you feel tense all the time? Maybe you don’t get on well with your boss or he/she takes credit for your work and ideas? Or, you feel insecure about the future of the company? As soon as stress is identified, it’s much easier to manage.
  • Respond to stress productively. Instead of avoiding stress or getting upset about it, try developing healthy responses to everything that causes your stress. For instance, if dissatisfied customers are what stresses you most, prepare the list of possible solutions you would offer them straightaway. If you feel frustrated about the necessity to work longer hours, consider showing off early in the morning so you could get things done until 5 pm. Do you have bad relationships with boss or coworkers? Don’t waste the energy fighting with them – learn the basics of conflict management or wonder if it’s possible to change the department.
  • Learn to prioritize tasks and manage your time. Even if it’s not the excessive workload that is your main stressor, getting things done on time significantly reduces stress and work dissatisfaction. To secure this, establish the rule of completing the top priority tasks in the morning and only then get to secondary duties.
  • Get rid of perfectionism. Of course, there’s nothing wrong about the desire to make things at their best. However, the uncontrolled striving for perfection (such as changing logo design for 20 times or spending the entire days making minor correcting in the report) takes a lot of time and causes stress as the perfection can’t be reached. Most of the cases, things need to be ‘just good’.
  • Beat procrastination. If your stress is caused by procrastination, it’s high time you found the way to cope with it. If the task seems too big and tough to get started, break it into small, manageable steps and get started. Don’t know how to approach the project? Seek the assistance and guidance from co-workers or your boss. Keep in mind that the longer you procrastinate, the bigger stress you’ll face as deadline approaches. If you are a writer by trade, your stress can be caused by one of the bad writing habits – learn how to get rid of them.

Signs that you need workplace stress counseling

In its light forms, stress at work can be managed without professional assistance. By using our tips above, you can cope with most of stressful situation at the workplace. Nevertheless, there are the cases when seeing a therapist is necessary. Here are the warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored:

  • You experience unexplained physical symptoms. Such symptoms as recurrent stomach aches, headaches, frequent colds or similar ones can indicate the chronic stress. If such symptoms have arisen from nowhere and appear from time to time, keep in mind that stress can manifest itself this way and this situation needs to be addressed professionally.
  • You’ve started taking alcohol or drugs. A few cocktails on Friday night is considered normal; however, if your alcohol consumption has gone far beyond than that (i.e. you drink every other day to relax), this is the sign that you need professional help. This is especially true if you have started taking drugs. 
  • The quality of your work has dropped. Sometimes symptoms of stress are hard to follow, especially if you are busy all the time. However, when the others say that your productivity and quality of your work is significantly lower than it used to be, it can indicate a huge hidden stress.
  • You face workplace bullying or harassment. Offensive workplace situations are hard to manage. If you have to function in unhealthy environment at work and face bad attitude, consider seeking help of a therapist. With professional help, you’ll be able to develop healthy responses to these situations or get the motivation to change the job.

If your current workplace is causing huge stress, you might want to get your resume updated and search for a new employer. You might be interested in learning why people typically leave their jobs as well. 

Conclusion

Stress at work is inevitable in our turbulent environment. However, by organizing your life and setting priorities it is possible to cope with stress and prevent its consequences. In most of the cases, taking care of your body, prioritizing and organizing your daily duties and positive communication with coworkers and boss are enough to handle stressful environment.

However, if for some reasons you want to quit your job and find a less stressful one, start with getting your resume done professionally. Our writer can create a unique resume for you at an affordable price and release you from job-search stress. If you already have a resume, there’s a resume proofreading service for you that will ensure your resume is 100% error-free.

Do you face workplace stress often? How do you handle stressful situations?

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