Work can be a wonderful place for many people. They like their colleagues, feel challenged by their work but not overwhelmed, and they are in their preferred business environment, whether that be top of a fancy building with a great view or the corner office at their casa. However, other people feel the opposite. Even those first work lovers will have a few things here and there that stress them out – a deadline, a new boss, or having to pull late hours.
Understanding workplace stress is critically important to a healthy life both at work and at home. Shrugging it off can lead to emotional, mental, physical, and relationship problems. It can lead to bad decisions and even affect you financially. Let's talk about work stress, how it connects to personal stress, and most importantly, how you can reset stress triggers and manage stress.
What is Workplace Stress?As with all definitions of stress, there is no one way to define workplace stress. Work stress can be considered as negative or harmful emotional and physical responses in response to a person’s job demands or environment and how much control the person has in meeting or adjusting to them. There are many things which cause work stress including but not limited to: conflict or friction with colleagues or managers, threats to job security, job demands than can’t be reasonably accommodated due to time or skill, sexual harassment, physical intimation, a negative company culture, or an unsafe work environment.
What’s the Difference Between Workplace Stress and Personal Stress?Workplace stress has a very specific catalyst – work! Unfortunately, when you don’t manage stress, it manages you. Personal stress can be anything that makes you scared, anxious, nervous, or on edge. Work stress and personal stress feed off each other. Having a stressful day at work can turn into an even more stressful night at home.
Let’s consider this situation that plays out in thousands of homes across the world every night. You’re currently overwhelmed with work. You’ve absorbed additional job responsibilities and have been working late. When you leave work, you think about it on the way home (or in the case of people who work from home, walking into the next room). Your partner is sitting in the living room, ready to greet you and see what you want to do tonight. You feel even more anxious because you want to spend time with your partner, but you also just want to decompress and not worry about fixing dinner or going out.
The stress you're carrying home from work turns into personal stress once you cross the threshold. What happens? You get snippy and short, or if you bottle it up, you feel even more overwhelmed and stressed. You can also experience more headaches, full-body tension, suffer from insomnia, have heart palpitations, and raise your blood pressure if you carry it home. Work stress doubles down and creates even more stress.
To stop this ugly pattern, you need to learn how to not stress about work.
How to Deal with Stress at Work: Five Surefire Ways to Help You Stop StressingOkay, so that was all the “bad news.” However, let’s focus on what you can do to reduce or prevent work stress. Here are five strategies you can employ to not stress about work.
- Find an outlet for stress. You can turn it into fuel for boxing or a run if that interests you. Find a place you can channel that fear, anxiety, and worry into a positive outcome.
- Reduce your stress response while at work. When something gets stressful, stop and take a few deep belly breaths. You can also take a supplement like Calm which chills you out but also helps you focus so you can stop stress before it starts.
- Organize! Make a list of things that need to get done the next day (they won’t be spinning around in your head interrupting your ability to sleep). Put them in priority order and schedule them based on the times you feel most energetic and ready to tackle them.
- Prioritize Self-Care. Speaking of priorities…if you don’t take care of yourself, it’s hard to take care of others and your responsibilities. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and add meditation or yoga to reset stress back to zero (okay, maybe one). Self-care can also mean seeing a therapist to talk things out and find strategies and solutions you can use at work with your colleagues or managers.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Your body needs time to relax, rest, and rejuvenate! Stress affects three very important systems in the body, and without time to power down and make repairs, you won’t work as efficiently and happily as you would and guess what that does? Yep, it causes more stress! Power down with a supplement like Unwind to get you in that easy-breezy, mellow mood that prepares you for sleep.
Now that you know about it, reset your stress response with some of the tips above and manage it so it doesn’t manage you. After all, you have enough managers already, right?