Stress is something that has become a part of everyone’s lifestyle. At times, stress gets to us so much that every second of our lives seem to be influenced by it. Stress at work can have a snowballing effect and affect our personal lives too. Let us find out what the causes of workplace stress are and how it can be reduced.
What are the common causes of work-related stress?
Some causes of stress go hand-in-hand with stress at work. Some of these include:
- Excessive workloads.
- Low salaries.
- Lack of opportunities for career growth
- Lack of challenging or engaging work
- Lack of social support.
- Unclear performance expectations.
What can stress lead to?
Well, we all know that stress is not good for anyone. It can take a huge toll on our health and well-being.
Work-related stress unfortunately doesn’t just disappear when we head home after work. A stressful work environment can contribute to problems such as headache, sleep problems, stomach ache, short temper and inability to concentrate.
Prolonged stress can lead to insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure and even a weakened immune system. This can further contribute to conditions such as obesity, depression and heart disease.
A lot of people undergoing stress tend to deal with it unhealthily by overeating, eating junk food, cigarette smoking, alcohol or even substance abuse.
How to Manage Stress
1. Make time for exercise everyday
Any aerobic exercise (activity that increases heart rate and makes you sweat) is a great way to lift up your mood. It will also help to increase energy, improve focus, and also relax the mind and body. Any rhythmic movement such as walking, dancing, running and even drumming is especially soothing for the nervous system. For better stress relief, try to involve in at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days.
If you find that stress is building up at work, you can try to take a quick break and move away from the stressful situation. Taking a stroll (physical movement) outside the workplace possible can help you regain your balance.
2. Eat Smarter
- What you eat can affect how you feel during the work day. Make sure to eat small, healthy and frequent meals can help in maintaining blood sugar at an even level. This will help to keep your energy up and also prevent mood swings. Low blood sugar can make you feel irritable and anxious while eating too much can make you sluggish.
- When in stress, you may crave for sugary snacks or comfort foods such as chips or fries, or even cheesy stuff like pizza but these “feel-good” foods can quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy.
- Same rule applies to foods such as caffeine, trans fats, alcohol, trans fats, food high in preservatives and hormones as these can adversely affect your mood
- Try to include foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet as this can give your mood a well-deserved boost.Some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acid include fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies), flaxseed, seaweed and walnuts.
- Removing nicotine from your life will help combat the situation better. Smoking when you are stressed can seem to be calming but it is a fact that nicotine is a very powerful stimulant that can lead to higher anxiety levels!
- Similarly alcohol only reduces stress temporarily but on wearing off it can cause anxiety. So drink in moderation.
3. Get your 40 winks!
Try to aim for 8 hours a night, every day of the week, yes even on weekends. Avoid changing schedule in the weekends. Turn off your screens at least an hour before bedtime. Melatonin production can be affected by the light emitted from tablets, TV as well as smartphones and can severely disrupt your sleep.
Most importantly, avoid stimulating activity and situations that can lead to stress such as catching up on work just before bedtime. You can focus on soothing things such as listening to soft music or reading keeping the lights dimmed.
4. Prioritise and organise
When job and workplace stress threatens to devastate you, you can follow simple steps to regain control over the situation. Improved sense of self-control will also be perceived by others as the strength it is, resulting in better relationships at work. To reduce job stress, you can try to prioritize and organise your responsibilities. Here are some tips:
- Create a balanced schedule to help you chalk your day out.
- Leave earlier in the morning and avoid the rush.
- Plan regular breaks during work; chat up with friends for some time, you will feel refreshed.
- Don’t over-commit yourself – goes without saying, do not burden yourself.
Last but not the least, get some support
You can manage stress better if you accepting help from trusted friends and family members. You can also avail counselling from mental health professionals if required. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by work stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist, who can help you better manage stress and change unhealthy behaviour.
This article was contributed by Hridya Anand from GetDoc.