Stress management in the workplace is an extremely important issue, as work related stress affects more than 65% of all working adults. From the crunch of deadlines to the pressure to increase profits to the aggravation of dealing with a workplace bully, there are any number of triggers that can cause stress on a regular basis. The key to staying healthy and productive is knowing how to properly manage that stress.
Dealing with stress is crucial because it can take a serious toll on your health. It can lead to a range of ailments from headaches and digestion problems to insomnia, high blood pressure and even heart attack. And stress in the workplace usually doesn't remain in the workplace. Most people have a tendency to bring the effects of stress home with them, allowing it to affect their interactions with loved ones as well.
In order to prevent these negative effects, proper stress management in the workplace is key. There are several steps you can take to break the vicious cycle of stress and improve your working conditions. The first is identifying the problem. That sounds simple, but in most cases of workplace stress, particularly where it involves bullying, the natural instinct is to either ignore the problem or blame it on yourself.
That kind of reaction will not get you anywhere, at least not anywhere healthy. You need to recognize that there is, in fact, an external cause and it is not your fault. One way to do this is to keep a journal recording your stressors. Seeing it in print may help you to better recognize and identify exactly what is causing the problem for you. It can also help you to move to the next step, which is recognizing your response to stress and finding a way to change it. It's not enough to say, "the bully is causing my stress." What can be done to mediate the situation or use tools like mindfulness meditation to help you control your own mental reactions to the bullying?
Most people respond to stress by either avoiding it entirely or by becoming short-tempered or overly anxious. Stress management in the workplace must involve making a conscious change in your response. People who are under a considerable amount of stress will often begin to lash out at those around them, stop communicating altogether, or begin engaging in unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, or using drugs to self-medicate.
Not only are those reflex responses improper work behavior, they can also be very bad for your physical and psychological health. The sooner you can recognize your personal response to stress, the sooner you can begin to change it into something much healthier. You can do this through relaxation techniques like yoga or deep breathing, by engaging in your favorite hobbies or simply by talking through your problems with someone you trust.
One of the most important methods of stress management in the workplace is creating a clear boundary between work and home life. You don't want work issues affecting the rest of your life, so you need to make a concerted effort to leave them behind when you leave work. That means not only physically walking away from your workplace but unplugging from electronic communication as well and putting your focus solely on your personal life.
These are just a few small steps you can take to help combat workplace stress, but you'd be surprised at just how effective they really are. Whatever you choose to do, the important thing to remember is that what is happening in your workplace does not define who you are. Overcoming stress begins with owning yourself and making an active choice not to let the negative energy get the best of you.