Stress in the workplace is a common trend. It comes with serious implications for both the employee and the company. It can’t be emphasized enough that all concerned need to work together to reduce stress at work.
In today’s fast-paced and demanding world, it seems doing more in lesser time is the only way to survive. A NIOSH report shows that 75% of workers believe there’s more on-the-job-stress now than in past generations.
Keep reading to learn effective ways you can reduce stress in the workplace. This information will restore your mental wellness as well as boost your productivity.
Stress at Work is Worse Than We Think
While this is not an attempt to get you worried, it is important to know the risks involved in working under stress.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers it an actual hazard. 75 to 90% of doctor’s visits are said to be stress-related complaints.
65% of American adults say that work is the major cause of their stress. So, you can rest assured we’re not just hating on work.
To be fair, stress is not entirely a bad thing. It can be a good source of motivation, albeit at the right dose. Let’s clear this up, shall we?
There are 2 types of stress. Eustress is the one that gets you pumped and charged as you rocket towards the finish line. Distress, on the other hand, is draining and can often be associated with too much Eustress than one can cope with.
Signs Your Stress Level is Too High
Prevention, they say, is better than cure. The following are telltale signs to let you know when to spring to action with stress management.
· Loss of sleep and repeated daytime fatigue
· Difficult to focus
· Apathy – Loss of interest in work
· Irritability and withdrawal
· Nose-diving libido
You’re probably wondering what to do when your body starts giving you these cues. Don’t worry, we’re here for you. Here are 5 ways to reduce stress without a doctor’s appointment.
Studies have shown that exercising can significantly reduce stress and improve sleep. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which are known to be a mood booster.
Desk jobs today can be categorized as of the sedentary lifestyles that scientists say can shorten one’s life. Long hours of sitting with minimal movement can tell on the body.
Alternating sitting and standing is another way you can adopt to inculcate exercise in your work hours. Standing desks, ergonomic chairs, anti-fatigue mats are great office furniture to help you put in your best work without risking burnout.
2. Eat Healthily
Junk foods and sugars are quite popular with offices. It’s also common for people to turn to unhealthy “comfort foods” to escape feelings of stress.
These kinds of food only relieve the cravings caused by the stress hormone cortisol. However, they add to the problem as they eventually make you feel lethargic.
Your brain is 60% fat with half of that being a kind of Omega 3. Fatty fish such as trout, sardines, and salmon are great sources of it. Omega 3 builds nerve and brain cells which are critical for memory and learning.
Asides that, this fatty acid improves your mood and prevents your brain from decline. So, slowing down on junk foods and eating right is doing yourself and your productivity a massive favor.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Restful sleep has become a luxury in today's world. Most people hardly get enough sleep and even the little they get is not quality enough for the body to recuperate.
Poor sleep and stress go hand-in-hand. A Harvard Medical School research shows that lack of sleep is a contributing factor to stress. When you don’t get enough sleep, your ability to cope with stress significantly reduces. Even Eustress starts to feel like distress.
Some ways to improve your sleep time and quality are as follows:
· Expose yourself to light during the day. This will reset your circadian rhythm, your body’s sense of time. Studies have shown that exposure to bright light during the day increased sleep duration and quality in insomnia patients.
· Say no to caffeine late in the day. While caffeine is great for focus and concentration, it can disrupt your sleep cycle. Taking it close to bedtime will keep your nervous system active and prevent the body from naturally relaxing into sleep.
· Limit blue light exposure at night. Simply put, avoid TV, computer, or smartphone screens at night. The blue light from these devices tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, thus, preventing you from sleeping. You can wear glasses that block blue light or download apps that do the same on your devices.
4. Organize your work
When you feel overwhelmed, you’ll often respond with feeling stressed. One great way to avoid this is to organize your workload and tackle it one after the other. That way, even a lot of work will seem surmountable.
First, clearly state the goal you want to achieve, then you can highlight what activities you need to do to get there. Secondly, arrange the activities in order of priority, that is, which ones are critical to achieving the goal. Next, set a deadline for each activity and commit to it.
This approach will make your work easier to deal with and not burn out or be overwhelmed.
5. Form a good relationship with your colleagues
This might take some time, especially if you’re new at work. A study shows that you might need to spend up to 200 hours with someone before they consider you a close friend.
Don’t let that deter you though. You don’t need to be close friends before you get the stress management benefits of a good relationship. To encourage you to open up to colleagues, Gallup says that people who have a good friend in the workplace are more likely to be satisfied.
As you can guess, job satisfaction has a positive impact on productivity. Moreover, having a good friend you work with can help you prevent work-related stress.
It is unfortunate that an important aspect of our lives, work, is a huge contributor to stress. Preventing and managing this ‘hazard’, when it occurs, rests on the individuals and the company they work for. One cannot do it alone without support from the other. We’ve stated what individuals can do. Companies, on the other hand, can support them with ergonomic office furniture, realistic expectations, and opportunities to work remotely where applicable.
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