How To Reduce Stress At Work?
A recent survey by Nuffield Health revealed that 52% of UK workers feel more stressed since the beginning of the economic downturn, whilst 41% feel more pressure at work and 23% feel more stressed about work when they are not even at work. 47% said they had less time with their family and friends due to poor work/life balance and a similar number were more short tempered and less tolerant with family and friends. To cope with stress at work 25% use alcohol and only 23% use a gym or exercise outdoors.
So what can you incorporate into each day to minimise the stress you feel? Here are some ideas to try:
Be focused, plan and take action. Stress may arise because you have no plan for your day, you are unfocused and you are not taking action. Decide what you want to achieve, realistically plan what you are going to do, stay focused on your business goals and take action.
Manage your time and don't procrastinate. Another cause of stress is not getting things done, getting distracted too easily and procrastinating. This is extremely challenging in these times of instant communication, smart phones and social media. Use time management techniques that work for you, minimise distractions and don't procrastinate.
Accept that change happens and be adaptable. Stress can be caused by changes that impact on your plans, as well as you resisting change. Change happens and unexpected things arise each day. Accept that change is part of life, reschedule as a result of change and adapt accordingly.
Don't try and control the uncontrollable. Many people get stressed by things that are not within their control e.g. the economic situation, the weather etc. Understand what is within and outside your control and stay focused on the things that you can control. You will be surprised at how this will quickly reduce your stress levels.
Manage your mind and think positively. Stress can arise because of how you think about things because the way you think influences how you feel and behave. Step back and understand the way you are thinking and, where your thinking is unhelpful, look at changing the way you think. Also thinking positively will significantly help you to reduce stress.
Celebrate what has gone well, value what you have and learn from what has not gone so well. You will increase your stress levels if you always focus on what has not gone well and beat yourself up about it. It is important to celebrate success as well as keep moving your business forward by using what has not gone so well as learning experiences. Also value what you have and regularly remind yourself of what you have achieved.
Resolve issues as and when they arise. By letting issues get on top of you or fester you will find yourself getting very stressed. One of the biggest issues in the workplace can be poor relationships with others, which if left unresolved will create a lot of stress for you. Accept that the issue has arisen and find a satisfactory resolution quickly.
Ask for help when you are struggling. Stress levels can rise when you are struggling with your work on your own. Speak to your boss, fellow workers, your shareholders or to experts when you find that you are struggling. If you need a sounding board or general business and personal support or want help with specific business challenges, problems or issues consider business mentoring or business coaching.
Take regular breaks. If you never leave your desk, work long hours and don't eat and drink properly you are likely to feel very stressed. Take regular breaks throughout the day, eat a proper lunch, stay hydrated and get away from your working environment by going for a walk or just taking some fresh air. Also make sure you take your annual leave and keep your working hours under control.
Value your leisure time and make the most of it. Working too much will impact on your private life and increase your stress levels as the survey shows. Build leisure time, family and friends and exercise into your day and get balance into your life. You schedule business meetings into your diary so why not do the same for your personal life - schedule it in. You will feel much better if you have a more balanced life.
Enjoy work, life and have fun. It is easy to take life too seriously which can lead to stress. Communicate with your work colleagues, enjoy the moment, have fun and laugh. You will soon see your stress levels fall.
Hopefully by following some or all of the above you will feel less stressed at work and in your life. If you are finding it difficult to cope with high levels of stress and want support then you may want to use our stress management services.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: May 2012
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