6 Ways to Beat Work Stress
Stress is always difficult to deal with where ever it comes from. But work stress can be particularly gruelling. After all, most of us need to earn a living. And preferably, we would like to do so in a job that we enjoy at least some of the time, and not somewhere that makes us dread Monday morning.
Work-related stress is defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as; “…depression or anxiety defined as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work.” **
Work can be stressful. We all know this. Sometimes it is because you have too much work or too little work or your boss expects too much from your or you’re bored stiff. The reasons can be numerous but the result is the same.
Most jobs have some stress involved in them and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Some work stress is normal and helps us perform. But excessive stress is destructive to our physical and emotional health and detrimental to our success at work.
Work stress increases when the economy is on an economic downturn and jobs – especially good ones – are not easily come by. Therefore, with little job security, ever increasing workloads, poor management, lack of support and unrealistic targets workers stress levels inevitably hit the roof.
Common causes of excessive workplace stress
- Fear of being laid off
- More overtime due to staff cutbacks
- Pressure to perform to meet rising expectations but with no increase in job satisfaction or pay
- Pressure to work at optimum levels—all the time!
- Difficult colleagues.
- Stigma of reporting stress at work
Reactions to work stress
People react in different ways to stress at work. This can range from crying in the toilets, temper tantrums, increased time off sick to excessive drinking or drug taking. All these reactions are detrimental to your health.
Work stress tends to affect not just your working life but also your free time – weekends and holidays can be ruined by feelings of dread and anxiety about going back to work.
Stress is the leading reason for people being off sick. In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of work related ill health cases and 43% of working days lost due to ill health*.
Work stress often result in physical symptoms such as:
- Headaches and nausea
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Listlessness and apathy
- Insomnia and problems sleeping
- Problems with anger management
What you can do about it
Understanding that you have some power to influence how you feel can be liberating. You are not powerless and can take action yourself to improve your working environment.
Here are a number of things you can do to help reduce stress at work.
- Take care of yourself
Ensure you get enough sleep. Eat a healthy diet and take regular exercise. It is important that you take a lunch break whenever possible. Use the time to go for a walk or to the gym if you have time, but get away from your desk. Make sure you do not resort to junk food at lunchtime or when you get home. If time is limited find a healthy alternative that can be cooked quickly and with a minimum effort.
2. Disconnect from work at the weekend
Give yourself time to destress and wind down so you can start the next week energised instead of stressed.
3. Improve communication
Improve your own communication skills so you can best deal with management and co-workers. Deal with issues as they come up instead of letting things fester. If you are unsure of anything ask. This way misunderstandings can be avoided. Talk to your boss and if they are not sympathetic then talk to a member of HR. Make sure you put your point of view across in the most positive way you can.
Accept that people are different and that others are probably suffering from work stress as well. Try to see both sides of an issue. Talk to people. You may find out that people are going through a tough time at home or that they are also pressured at work.
Talk about work stress to people outside of work, friends, relatives, partner or any other caring listener. Just make sure you do not overburden one person.
4. Take responsibility
You are the person best placed to look out for your own needs so do so. Make sure you are managing your time in the best way. This includes work and break times. Recognise where and when work is most stressful and plan and prioritise your projects accordingly. Don’t overcommit or insist on perfection for yourself or others and don’t be afraid to delegate. Allow yourself to have an ‘off day’.
Make sure you take a break when you are feeling stressed. Get a cup of tea or coffee (but not too much caffeine!) and snack on healthy foods. Make sure you are not rushing to get to work in the mornings by giving yourself extra time if necessary.
5. Break bad habits
Habits such as bitching with colleagues may seem beneficial at the time, but ultimately it is a destructive response to events. Negative feelings and emotions are contagious. Instead of feeling better negative attitudes usually make you and everyone around you feel worse and are emotionally draining. Identify what triggers negative feelings and address them as best you can before they become a problem. Act on potential issues before they become a problem rather than reacting negatively later on.
6. Learn to relax
Try yoga, meditation, mindfulness or any other form of relaxation. This can help you deal with difficult stressful periods and concerns.
Hypnotherapy can also help*. It teaches you how to deal with the pressure by identifying the underlying causes of the stress. The hypnotherapist will then discuss with you what you want to achieve and how best to realise your goals using a number of different techniques.
Each person’s treatment will differ depending on their goals and their reactions to treatment. Treatment usually takes between 4 and 6 sessions.
If you are interested in finding out more about hypnosis for anxiety and stress read my blog post on Anxiety Help in Clevedon.
If you are suffering from any type of anxiety or stress please phone me on 0770 235 2363 or 01275 873362 for an informal chat and for more information on how I can help you with hypnotherapy.
I will aim to get back to clients within 24 hours on working days.
*Disclaimer. Results cannot be guaranteed as this is a therapy and each person is unique. All I can promise is that I will do my best to help you.
** Information from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/
What can I help?
Hypnotherapy can help a range of issues including the ones listed below:
Fears and Phobias
Insomnia and Sleep Problems
Motivation and Goal Setting
Virtual Gastric Band
and many more……