Stress, unfortunately, is a feeling that we all experience from time to time. While it may just seem like a part of life, it can place a huge toll on your health, both mentally and physically. April is Stress Awareness Month, meant to educate the public on minimizing unhelpful stress. A common stressor can be your job or workplace, so we’ve compiled some simple ways to make your day-to-day less stressful.
- Keep track of your stressors – Take note of situations that cause you to feel stressed. Some common stressors at work can be low pay, excessive workloads, lack of social support, not having enough control over job-related decisions, unclear expectations, and more. For a week or two, record thoughts, feelings, details about the environment, and how you reacted. Find patterns in your stressors and your reactions.
- Develop a healthy response – Fighting stress with food, alcohol, or other habits can be counteractive to overcoming it. Instead, make healthy choices when tension rises, such as exercising, making time for your favorite hobbies, or getting quality sleep.
- Establish boundaries – A positive work-life balance is key to managing stress. While it may seem that you should be available 24 hours a day, sometimes your best work is after you’ve unplugged for a while. Not checking your email in the evening or turning off your phone during dinner can provide a healthy distance from the demands during an otherwise relaxing time. While every person differs on how much they can blend their work and home life, clear boundaries can reduce potential for conflict.
- Recharge – Chronic stress and burning out can cause negative effects on your health, so to get back to a pre-stress level, you’ll need to “switch off” from work. Disengaging from work-related activities and keeping thoughts away from work are difficult yet necessary. Use your vacation days to unwind so that when you return, you feel reinvigorated and ready to perform well.
- Learn how to relax – Use part of your off time to learn an important activity – relaxing. Meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness are techniques that melt away stress. Use a few minutes every day to focus on a simple activity such as breathing, walking, or enjoying a meal. Focusing on simple things without distraction will become second nature and help you to apply it to things like work as well.
- Talk to your supervisor – Healthy employees are normally more productive, meaning your boss has a reason to foster a work environment that promotes well-being. Be open with your supervisor about creating a plan that can manage stressors you’ve identified, so that you can perform your best. Avoid complaining; instead, enlist their help to improve your skills in time management, find wellness resources, clarifying expectations, and enriching your job.
- Get support – Accept help from trusted family and friends in order to manage your stress. Your employer may also have stress management resources available through an employee assistance program. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by work stressors, seek help from a psychologist to better manage your stress and any unhealthy behaviors.
Your job may cause stress from time to time in life, but by eliminating stress that is unnecessary and finding ways to deal with the tension that does arise, you will become more productive and even find yourself looking forward to your work day!