Let's face it, stress is terrible. It can make you feel anxious, tired, and overwhelmed. Workplace stress, in particular, not only affects your mental and physical health but also spills over into your personal life. The effects of work-related stress can be felt in every aspect of your life, from your relationships to your ability to enjoy leisure time and it might create mental health issues. On top of that, chronic stress is really bad for your health.
Stress at work on a practical level
The good thing about working on stress management on a practical level is that some of these tips are very easy to implement and have an effect quickly.
It's important to remember that everyone responds to stress differently, so finding what works best for you may involve some trial and error. However, with the help of a coach or mentor, you can identify specific stressors and develop effective strategies to manage them.
1. Take regular breaks: This mind sound like a no-brainer, but it's so easy to forget about breaks. Whether it’s taking a short walk, stretching or simply getting up from your desk, taking regular breaks throughout the day, including a proper lunch break, can help reduce stress levels. These breaks can help you recharge and refocus on your tasks, allowing you to be more productive in the long run. Have you heard of the pomodoro technique? It's great for taking regular breaks (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique).
2. Time management: Having grip on what to do and when is one of the keys to having less stress. So use a good time management system. There is no best way to this, but take time to figure out what works for you. Personally I like to use bullet journal (bulletjournal.com). There are also many apps that work, like todoist (todoist.com) or omnifocus (https://www.omnigroup.com/omnifocus/)
4. Coaching: Many companies offer coaching for employees dealing with stress. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of this resource if it’s available to you.
5. Get physical: Physical activity, such as going for a run, can be an effective way to manage stress. Exercise releases endorphins, which help to reduce stress levels and boost mood. Find a good daily routine that works for you!
6. Cultivate healthy relationships: Spending time with colleagues who are supportive and understanding can help reduce stress levels in the workplace. Looking for opportunities to build meaningful connections at work is important for reducing stress. Also conflict at work can be a big source of stress, and having healthy relationships, can help avoid conflict.
Stress on a psychological level
When it comes to stress management in the workplace, it's easy to rely solely on practical tips. However, the source of stress may not always be something visible or tangible - it could be rooted in your emotions, your thoughts, the way you look at the world. That's why it's important to dig deeper and examine the psychological factors contributing to your stress levels.
Stress can come in many forms, such as feeling anxious or angry. These emotions can be difficult to address on your own, which is where coaching for stress management can come in handy. A coach can help you identify the root causes of your stress and work with you on techniques to manage stress on a deeper level. By addressing the psychological factors contributing to your stress, you can take steps towards more lasting solutions and a healthier, more balanced mindset.
Are you feeling anxious?
Are you feeling anxious at work? You're not alone. People don't really talk about how anxious they really are, but I get to see a lot of anxiety in my coaching practice. So what can you do?
1. Fear of job loss
If you're worried about losing your job, you may feel anxious and overwhelmed. To help manage this stress, focus on what you can control. Work hard, meet your goals, and communicate with your boss about your job performance. It's also important to have a Plan B in case you do lose your job, such as having savings or a backup plan for income.
2. Fear of bad reviews
Performance reviews can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you fear getting negative feedback. To help manage this stress, take control of the situation. Ask your boss for feedback throughout the year, not just during the review process. This will help you understand your strengths and areas for improvement before the actual review. Also, remember that reviews are meant to help you grow and improve, so try not to take criticism personally.
3. Fear of being inadequate
If you feel like you're not good enough at your job, it can lead to stress and anxiety or sad. To manage this stress, focus on developing your skills and taking on new challenges. Set goals for yourself and track your progress. Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and it's okay to ask for help when you need it. Also, try to focus on the positive feedback you receive rather than dwelling on any negative feedback.
Remember, anxiety is a normal part of life. Fighting anxiety is probably going to make it worse. With a coach you can work on accepting your fears, and in plain daylight, they most likely won't look as bad as in the darkness.
Are you angry?
1. Conflict with colleagues
Conflicts with colleagues are a common cause of stress in the workplace. They can be frustrating and emotionally draining, especially if they seem to drag on without resolution - you would be surprised how many people avoid trying to solve the conflict. Communicate with your colleague or team member in a calm and respectful manner. Try to find common ground and work towards a mutually beneficial solution.
2. An unreasonable boss
Dealing with an unreasonable boss can be a source of constant stress. There are many types of difficult bosses. Read more about them in my blog about this topic: https://en.parquicoaching.com/post/deal-with-a-bad-manager
3. Unreasonable expectations
If you feel like you are expected to complete an overwhelming amount of work in a short amount of time, it's easy to become stressed, anxious, or even angry. One approach to managing this stressor is to have an open conversation with your supervisor or manager about your workload and available resources. If you can demonstrate that the expectations are unrealistic, then they should be adjusted accordingly.
4. Experiencing disrespect
Feeling disrespected can be incredibly frustrating and demoralizing, particularly if it comes from a colleague or supervisor. To manage this stressor, it is important to set boundaries and demand respect. Stand up for yourself in a calm, assertive manner and don't be afraid to involve HR or a superior if the situation escalates.
Are you disappointed?
Are you disappointed at work? You're not alone. Many people experience disappointment or frustration in their jobs from time to time. Here are some reasons why that might happen, and what you can do to manage your stress.
1. Expectations vs. Reality: One of the biggest sources of disappointment is when our expectations don't match up with reality. You may have had certain expectations about your job that aren't being met, which can leave you feeling unhappy. But before you jump ship, it might be worthwhile to try and reframe your expectations. Sit down and identify what might be realistic expectations for your job. Communicate these expectations with your boss and see if there's a way to meet in the middle.
2. Lack of Autonomy: Not having control over your workload can also contribute to stress. If you feel like you're constantly being micromanaged or don't have the freedom to make decisions, it can be discouraging. Speak with your boss about ways to increase your autonomy. This could involve delegating certain tasks, or allowing you more say in decision-making processes.
3. Limited Growth Opportunities: This might be the number one question I get in my coaching practice: why don't I make career? Feeling stagnant in your professional growth can lead to feelings of disappointment. Figure out with a coach what might be the source of your stagnation. Are you not visible enough at work? Do you deep down not believe that you are capable of a role with more responsibility? Create a professional development plan with your boss to attend conferences, take training classes, mentor younger colleagues, or introduce new job responsibilities.
5. No Work-Life Balance: Finally, for many of us, the line between work and home has become blurred by the rise of technology and without noticing we work many extra hours. It's important to carve out time for personal activities and recharge your batteries. Get used to closing your laptop and switch the email off on your phone at regular times. It's not just better for you and for your life, in the end it's also better for your employer.
Stress at work on an existential level
On an existential level we find out about meaning, and about values. It's crucial to find work that is fulfilling and meaningful. When we're in jobs that align with our values and bring us joy, work doesn't feel like work. It's something that we do because we genuinely enjoy it.
What do you really want?
If you're not clear on what's truly important to you, it's easy to get caught up in the demands and expectations of others, or in the never-ending to-do lists of work and daily life. This can lead to a sense of overwhelm and burnout, as you feel pulled in multiple directions and struggle to find a sense of purpose and meaning.
To avoid this, try to take some time each day to reflect on what you really want in life. This could involve journaling, meditating, or simply taking a walk in nature and letting your mind wander. Or find a coach. This subject is too important not to approach it seriously. As you become more clear on your values and goals, you'll be better able to make decisions and actions that align with these, and ultimately reduce stress and increase wellbeing.
What are your values?
Everyone has their own set of values that guide their decisions and actions in life. For some, these values might include honesty, kindness, innovation, or work-life balance. When you feel like the values of your company don't align with your own, it can create a lot of inner turmoil and stress. You might feel like you're constantly compromising your own values in order to fit in or succeed at work.
One way to address this is to take some time to explore and clarify your own values. What's truly important to you in life? What are your non-negotiables? Once you have a clear sense of your values, you can start to look for ways to incorporate them into your work. This might involve having honest conversations with your manager or colleagues about what really matters to you, or seeking out projects and opportunities that align with your values. Alternatively, you might decide that it's time to start looking for a new job or career path that feels more in line with your personal values. Whatever you decide, remember that you have the power to make choices that align with your values and create a more fulfilling, less stressful life.
A blog and a few tips might be interesting, but they won't solve your stress. A combination of finding out what matters with you, dealing with psychological issues and taking practical steps almost always will. As a coach I helped many people go through this process. Coaching helps.
Interesting? Book a free introduction session now.