Late hours, deadlines, an overflowing email box, and a demanding boss—who doesn’t experience stress at work? Combine these pressures with a busy home life or challenging child- or elder-care issues, and there’s no wonder your blood pressure has spiked.
Don’t despair. Though you may never be able to eliminate stress completely, there are viable ways to cope. Check out these tips on how to deal with workplace stress.
Seek The Source
Identifying the problem is a necessary first step to solving it. Triggers for your stress may include:
- A particular supervisor or colleague.
- Too much work to be completed in a short period of time.
- Work that continues outside scheduled hours with no apparent limits.
- Time management issues related to home responsibilities or a long or congested commute.
- Worries about job security.
- An insufficient salary to meet your financial obligations.
- Trouble with the equipment, your computer, or the physical environment.
Tackle The Triggers
Try addressing the issues you can most easily change.
Call A Pro. If you’re dealing with a failing computer, don’t hesitate: Call in IT and let your supervisor know that it’s affecting your productivity.
Shift Hours To Save Time. If your commute happens during peak rush hours, talk with your supervisor about shifting your scheduled arrival and departure times so you can ensure traffic won’t be a cause of a missed meeting.
Be The Early Bird. If your to-do list never gets finished due to phone interruptions or meetings during the day, consider arriving at work an hour earlier to get that work done before the fires start.
Set Boundaries. If work bleeds into your family time, don’t hesitate to set work-related boundaries for yourself, like shutting off your work cell phone after a mid-evening hour.
Look To The Future. If salary is a serious issue, consider where you’d like to be in a year or two and then take positive steps in that direction. Keep your eyes open for other opportunities or take classes toward a new degree or vocation that will pay better. Anticipating a better future may help you cope with the present.
Have The Hard Conversation. Dealing with a tough boss or an uncooperative co-worker requires diplomatic skill. Check out these techniques on how to manage difficult colleagues in a positive and constructive way without increasing conflict.
Learning how to cope in a healthy way begins with taking care of yourself. Check out these Dos and Don’ts.
- DON’T use crutches like alcohol or illegal drugs to “relax.”
- DON’T eat lunch out of a vending machine.
- DO eat healthy, even if it means taking the time to pack your own lunch.
- DO take breaks from work. You need short breaks to clear your mind and long vacations to regroup.
- DO exercise, even if it’s just a twenty-minute lunchtime walk.
- DO learn relaxation techniques, like deep breathing and meditation.
- DO keep up with dentist, vision, and general health appointments to keep yourself in peak physical condition.
Note that chronic long-term stress can be the source of many health-related issues such as sleep disruptions, insomnia, panic attacks, blood pressure issues, and a weakened immune system. If chronic stress is affecting your health, never hesitate to contact a trusted medical or mental health professional.