Dealing with Stress at Work
Are you among the many who are finding the workplace mighty stressful? According to one study, 40 percent of employees reported their job as very or extremely stressful, and 25 percent viewed their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. In another study, 26 percent reported that they are often or very often burned out or stressed by their work. And in a third study, 80 percent reported feeling stress on the job.
The percentages vary from one study to another, but it’s clear that an awful lot of people feel stressed at work. Of course, stress in infrequent or small doses can be energizing. But when it’s prolonged or excessive, it can take a psychological and physical toll.
If you experience stress at work, think about the warning signs, such as feeling apathetic, anxious, irritable, or depressed. Sleeping might be difficult for you, and you might also feel fatigued, have trouble concentrating, and have headaches or stomachaches. Of course, a stomachache may not mean you’re stressed—it could be due to that extra piece of pizza last night—but if it persists, something is wrong.
To identify the factors causing your stress, consider following these guidelines for keeping a stress inventory. Of course, there are things you can do even without a stress inventory, such as starting your day off right. You’ll be more likely to react to stress later on if the day begins with stress. If you start the day with a nutritious breakfast, adequate planning, and a positive attitude, you’ll be better able to cope with stress once you’re at work.
Other things you can do include avoiding multi-tasking and its split-focus impact, taking a walk during your lunch break, and listening to music on the way home. Don’t try to be a perfectionist; the attempt will only add to your stress. Just do the best you can and give yourself credit for your accomplishments.
And when the physical symptoms of stress overtake you? Restore your body to a neutral state by breathing in and out slowly for five to ten minutes. As you’re doing this breathing, try focusing on a positive mental image; doing this can help restore your emotional balance. Aim to spend fifteen minutes every day in quiet positive reflection.