In today's fast-paced digital workplace, work-related stress is fairly common.
Digital technology likely has you feeling like you're 'on' all the time! Constantly responding to emails and managing project updates and alerts. But long hours in the office - coupled with being available 24/7 - can lead to stress and burnout. That’s why it’s essential to manage work-related stress.
Stress your body's natural response to challenging situations. It triggers your body's fight-or-flight response.
Even though it's natural, when stress becomes chronic and continues for extended periods, you may experience anxiety, depression, and other negative side effects.
So how can you manage work-related stress? I've put together some expert advice to help you. You'll learn how you can reduce stress at work while also maintaining a healthy balance in life outside of the office.
Tips to manage work-related stress
Organize your workspace Take control of your work environment. Whether you’re in an office or working from home, take a few hours to organize your workspace. This will help you stay more focused and relaxed, reducing the likelihood of stress taking hold.
It may sound simple, but organizing your workspace is the first step to reducing stress. It helps remove the clutter and that feeling you have too much on your plate.
Start by getting rid of unnecessary items that have no place in your work area.
Additionally, make sure your workspace has plenty of natural light. Avoid working in areas that are dark or closed off. Your work environment should be welcoming and help you feel like you can let your guard down while you’re there.
Network and talk to your coworkers
Are you feeling isolated or neglected at work? You may be experiencing work-related stress due to a lack of social connection. Research suggests that social connection is one of the strongest predictors of mental health. Remember to reach out to your colleagues and maintain strong relationships that go beyond the workplace.
Find the right balance for you. You don’t want to be a recluse at work, but you don’t want to spend all of your time with your colleagues either.
Talking to coworkers about non-work related items can help alleviate stress and encourage a healthy, positive work environment. Find opportunities to talk to different people at work. Join a sports team or take part in a social event organized by your company. You may be surprised at how quickly you can befriend people when you open up about topics outside work.
Exercising regularly can help improve your core health and reduce stress.
Exercise can reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stimulating your body’s stress response.
Working out is a great way to relieve stress healthily, especially when you add meditation or breathing exercises. You don’t need to take up marathon running to benefit from regular exercise. Even 10 minutes of daily yoga or light walking can make a difference in your life.
Make sure you choose an exercise routine that fits into your lifestyle. Some people can benefit from a regular fitness program, but others find it exhausting and unproductive. Whatever exercise you choose, make it a habit, and don’t give up. Studies show that the best results come from consistent exercise.
Take a break
If you feel like your stress is getting out of control, take a break from work.
You don’t have to quit your job and go on an extended vacation to reduce stress. You can take a mini break from work and still benefit tremendously.
Taking a break from work may sound counterproductive, but it can be an effective strategy to reduce stress. For example, you might take a short walk outside or close your laptop and watch TV. Making changes to your environment can help you break free of stressful thoughts. You can also try writing down your thoughts. Writing a journal or a to-do list can help you gain clarity and relieve stress.
Being mindful can also help you reduce stress. Mindfulness is a technique used to stay focused on your current activity without being distracted. Many people use mindfulness in combination with meditation.
Manage work-related stress by knowing what your stressors are
Stress is a normal part of life, but it can take a toll on your physical and mental health when it becomes excessive and chronic. Fortunately, there are ways to manage work-related stress. The first step is to recognize the signs of stress in your life. Once you know what triggers your stress, it’s much easier to come up with ways to reduce it.
Simple techniques - from organizing your workspace to taking breaks throughout the day - can help you manage work-related stress. If you reduce your stressors, you can help make work more enjoyable and also reduce the risk of the negative side effects of long-term stress.