Stress has become a common issue among working professionals. Increasing workload, pressure to meet deadlines, uncertainty about the future, and other professional life issues tend to take their toll on mental health. Chronic work stress leads to a number of physical and mental health problems.
Stress due to work can cause a short temper, persistent headache, stomach ache, difficulty in concentration, high blood pressure, insomnia, and even metabolic disorders and heart problems. Instead of restoring unhealthy coping mechanisms to combat Work Stress, such as overeating, alcohol consumption, and doing drugs, it is necessary to adopt some effective strategies which reduce stress considerably.
Effective Ways to Handle Work Stress
Create Work-Life Balance
The ability to balance the demands of professional and personal life is necessary to manage stress. Work and personal commitments should run parallel to each other and not overlap. To this end, proper time management and a healthy lifestyle are required. You need to prioritize tasks each day and schedule them as per their importance. A healthy lifestyle ensures that the quality of your life is good, which further helps in striking a balance between work and personal life.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
Physical health has a profound impact on mental health. Poor physical health increases the risk of developing workplace stress. Thus, it is important to maintain your physical health in the best possible state to avoid work stress. The two pillars of good physical health are exercise and proper nutrition.
Exercise not only keeps you physically fit but also improves your mental health. This is because endorphins released during exercise help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, by focusing on your body movements during an exercise session, you can take your mind off work-related thoughts. This exerts a calming effect on the mind.
Proper nutrition means a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. To achieve this, including vegetables, whole wheat bread, and other sources of complex carbs in your diet. Consume fruits rich in fibers. Avoid or drastically reduce the consumption of pizzas, burgers, cheese, red meat, and other food items loaded with salt or sugar. This is because such food items cause lethargy and worsen work stress. Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeinated drinks because they enhance stress and anxiety.
Identify Self-Imposed Stress
Self-imposed stress is the stress you subject yourself to buy your own behavioral and emotional responses to certain situations. Examples of self-imposed work stress include self-loathing on not being able to complete a task, setting unrealistic goals and putting yourself under pressure to achieve them, fear of making a mistake even though you are well prepared, not studying for an exam or preparing for a presentation beforehand and staying up all night before the D-day and more.
Identify the situations which act as triggers for self-imposed stress. Thereafter, try to react differently to such situations. For example, instead of haphazardly mixing up tasks which leads to stress, prioritize your tasks into immediate, important, and non-critical. Complete the tasks accordingly.
Find Some Time for Yourself
Engaging in an activity that pleases your mind relieves the stress that your brain underwent during work. An effective way to ease work stress Is dedicating a few hours each week to any hobby or activity of interest outside work. Hobbies can be music, art, pottery making, book reading, gardening, etc. Even surveys have shown that people who indulge in their hobbies apart from work are more satisfied with their jobs.
Take Time Off to Recharge
Chronic stress at work causes burnout and is detrimental to work performance. Thus, taking a vacation from work to rejuvenate is necessary. Taking time off from the office for a certain number of days is a common employee burnout strategy.
It is imperative to cut off completely from the workplace during the vacation. During this period, your brain must be free of work-related thoughts to de-stress properly.
Interruptions in the form of emails, messages, phone calls, and urgent deadlines can lead to stress. The best ways to eliminate interruptions are prioritizing emails and reading them at a fixed time, turning off mobile notifications, and planning a work schedule accounting for urgent tasks before office hours.
Re-Evaluate Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts refer to the tendency of making instant negative judgments based on observations. It becomes difficult to handle work pressure If your mind is filled with negative thoughts. This, in turn, leads to stress and more negativity in your mind. It is necessary to eliminate the propensity to jump to negative conclusions.
Keeping a positive bent of mind and avoiding negative thoughts makes life easier at the workplace and prevents Stress.
Talk to Your Supervisors
Taking the help of supervisors to reduce work stress Is a prudent course of action. You can talk to your supervisor about the factors in the office environment causing stress and how to eliminate those factors. You can also make suggestions regarding improvements in the office environment to promote better mental health.
It is incumbent upon the supervisors to create an environment that encourages the employees to put in their best efforts and protects them against Stress.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques have a calming effect on the mind and relieve stress. The most effective relaxation technique is meditation. Meditation helps cope with stress and anxiety, reduces blood pressure, and enhances energy levels. Yoga also relaxes the mind and eliminates stress while keeping the body fit.
Thus, you can consider enrolling in meditation or yoga sessions before or after office hours.
Seek Professional Help
Seek counseling from a mental health professional if you cannot manage stress on your own. A trained therapist helps you identify stressors and instructs you on how to reduce work stress.
Managing work stress is important to maintain your professional career and personal life in the best possible state.
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