Stress is a part of life and does not discriminate. We all have it, some more than others. Many of us face stress on different levels. Whether it’s juggling job responsibilities while raising a family, going to school, dealing with an illness or caring for elderly parents, stress has a way of making its way into our lives. It’s learning how to manage stress and maintain balance that will allow us to navigate life in a healthy, non-stressful way.
There are countless studies that report job stress as the major source of stress for American adults. A 2017 study by the American Psychological Association, for example, showed 61 percent of American’s are affected by workplace stress. What’s more, this type of stress has escalated progressively over the past few decades causing both mental and physical well-being problems such as heart concerns and anxiety. According to research conducted by Labor Force, 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016-17.
With companies becoming more “lean and mean,” many employees have become oh so familiar with upheavals like downsizing, layoffs, mergers, bankruptcies, which contribute to their stress. Others face different pressures like managing a heavier workload (for the same pay), reporting to a new boss and receiving fewer benefits, which adds undue stress to their lives.
Acknowledging what keeps you up at night is the first step in eradicating or, at least, managing your stress. Don’t let the stressors of work eat at you, rather, adopt effective strategies to reduce your stress at work and maintain balance.
Here are proven stress management techniques to implement into your life:
Review Your Values
Make sure the work you do is a good fit with what is important to you. If it’s not, review your priorities and develop an action plan. We all have control of our happiness, and as the saying goes, nobody on their deathbed ever said, “I wish I spent more time at work.”
It’s not always the answer to quit a job when things get tough, and we know the grass is not always greener. Acknowledge your challenges with your boss and work to resolve them in a way that’s a win-win for both. Your boss may not realize the amount of workload you’re carrying and will likely appreciate you coming to him/her for support.
Add R & R
Rest and relaxation are good pressure release strategies. Ensure you get ample sleep and build activities that bring enjoyment to you each week. Lunching with a girlfriend, watching a movie, reading a book or sitting on your patio listening to Mother Nature are examples of enjoyable activities to build regularly into your work week.
Think of exercise as an investment in you rather than another task on never-ending your to-do list. Make it a priority to lace up your sneakers and take a walk around the block during lunch or wake up earlier than usual to go the gym. Exercise is such a healthy part of balanced living, and when you exercise, you release endorphins, which relieve stress in a natural way – and it feels good!
Commit to Reducing Worry
If you tend to worry a lot, make a conscious effort to improve. Enroll in a class or work with a counselor to reframe your thinking to help make things more manageable. One technique is to face your fears and ask yourself what is the worst that can happen in a situation and work through it constructively to help relieve those worries. Understanding your worries will help lead to solutions.
Stay One Step Ahead
Establishing a plan to stay organized can greatly decrease stress at work. Commit to developing a system that works for you and allows you to stay on top of deadlines and priorities. This way you remain in control of your schedule rather than feeling the schedule is controlling you.
Start Your Day Strong
We have developed a tendency to wake and automatically check our emails, texts or current news. This can stimulate an immediate response from us to reply to messages or think about them before we get out of bed. Instead, start your day strong, without outside influence by taking deep breaths and thinking positively. This five-minute exercise puts the intention into starting your day on your terms.
Laughter is powerful medicine to stress. Nothing feels better to bring your mind and body back into balance than a hearty laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, connects you to others and keeps you grounded, focused and alert. Laughter has many health benefits, too!
About the Author:
Nancy Schnoebelen Imbs is an empowering professional development consultant, dynamic motivational speaker and author. Highly dedicated and results-oriented, she has the skill and passion for helping individuals become more confident and successful in business and beyond. She and her company Polished help clients focus on key adjustments that result in meaningful impact and effectiveness.