In Australia, the work-related psychological harm is the second most common workers’ compensation claim, after the manual handling injury. Psychological harm is usually the consequence of piled up stress. In Victoria alone, more than 11% of workers’ compensation claims are caused by work-related stress and similar claims are on the rise in all other states.
Work-related stress is caused by many different stressors, including: high work demands, poor levels of support, low levels of control and bad interpersonal relationships. These and many other stressors can cause severe psychological harm, especially if they’re backed by various work-life conflicts. In this article we’ve shared 7 very efficient ways for managing work-related stress.
Start writing a stress journal
These types of journals are very useful. They help you track your reactions in stressful situations and determine which stressors produce the worst effects. Your stress journal should include all stressful situations that occurred at work. You should describe your feelings and circumstances and write down all of the colleagues and superiors, who were involved. Review your journal at the end of each month and try to determine patterns that will help you to create smart and healthy responses for the stressors you encounter on a regular basis.
Since we all need to concentrate during our work, interruptions can easily distract us and raise our stress levels. Business people are constantly bombarded with phone calls, SMS, instant messages, e mails and urgent deadlines. While most of them can’t control their interruptions, they can control their responses. There are two ways you can answer every interruption during your work hours:
- Ignore it;
- Diagnose its importance and make a plan;
Many interruptions don’t require your attention right away. You should single out a special work-time hour for answering e mails and contacting people who tried to reach you that day. Urgent interruptions need to be answered right away, but even then you’ll have at least few hours to plan your response and to solve the problem.
Schedule frequent breaks
In the corporate world, most people think that if we work for 8 or 10 straight hours, we’ll get more things done. Actually it’s the other way around. Work without a break raises our stress levels and lowers our productivity. At the end of the day you’ll be completely distracted and you won’t have any energy left for your friends and family. That’s why you need to schedule frequent breaks during your work day, to eat, stretch, walk around your desk or do some breathing exercises.
Seek professional help
If your stress levels are high and you are worried for your physical or mental well-being, you should definitely visit a stress counselor or a professional, who will conduct psychological assessment for work-related stress. Psychologists and stress counselors usually try to get to the route of your stress and determine the most notorious stressors you’re dealing with. They will teach you how to battle your stress and relax after work.
Fast food, sweets and snacks can stress your system, even more than angry bosses and obnoxious colleagues. Most nutritionists recommend low-sugar and high-protein diets. Try to replace bagels, croissants and white bread with whole grain pastry and replace sweets with organic fruits. If cafeterias around your office building don’t have whole grain and organic food on their offer, start bringing your lunch to work in a small lunch box.
Australian Sleep Health Foundation determined that more than 20% of Australians suffer chronically from poor sleep and that at least 18% of Australians sleep less than 6 hours per night. Good night sleep is very important for managing work-related stress and that’s why you need to sleep at least 7 hours per night. If you have troubles with falling asleep you should try to lower your caffeine intake and do some breathing exercises, yoga or meditation before you go to bed.
Eliminate self-imposing stress
In a corporate environment people often impose stress on themselves, by seeking superiors’ and colleagues’ approval and trying to figure out how other people perceive them. Instead of trying to change other people’s perceptions, they should build their own self-confidence and shift attention to their work tasks. Ironically, in a corporate environment, most professionals get other people’s acclaim when they stop thinking about their opinion. When you eliminate these distractions, you’ll definitely have more time and energy to impress your team with good work results.
Finding a right way to deal with work-related stress is crucial for your productivity and well-being. Unfortunately, we’re often not able to avoid stressful situations at work, but if we live a healthy life and introduce some advance stress-relief methods, we’ll be able to decrease our stress level and stay focused.