Acknowledging and Preventing Workplace Stress

“Everyone who has had a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress.”

If you are:

  • Falling behind with your work commitments?
  • Snappy at home with loved ones and having trouble sleeping?
  • Working long hours yet not getting enough done?

Chances are you could be experiencing workplace stress.

And as we have learned this month, over time, the symptoms of workplace stress may become chronic, damaging physical and mental health.

In the workplace, stress results from pressures exceeding our ability to cope with them.

And whilst the highest performers can often survive and thrive in stressful environments, if we experience too much stress in the workplace, we become psychologically overwhelmed and unable to avoid the tensions found in our jobs which inevitably find their way into our home environments too.

Stress can be harmful to the employee, but it also has the potential to damage the company due to increased staff absence due to sickness, poor productivity, high turnover, low morale, poor motivation, and increased employee complaints.

So how can you prevent Workplace Stress?

Setting boundaries is crucial for maintaining your well-being and achieving a healthy work-life balance.

Here are some guidelines for establishing and maintaining boundaries:

  1. Identify your limits: Take time to understand your personal limits and what causes stress for you in the workplace. Recognize the signs of excessive stress, such as feeling overwhelmed, irritable, or experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or fatigue.
  2. Prioritize self-care: Make self-care a priority to manage stress effectively. This includes getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising regularly, and engaging in activities that help you relax and recharge. Taking care of your physical and mental health is essential for managing workplace stress.
  3. Set clear expectations: Clearly communicate your availability and boundaries to your colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates. Let them know when you are available for work-related discussions or tasks and when you need uninterrupted time to focus or recharge.
  4. Learn to say no: It’s okay to decline additional tasks or responsibilities if you already feel overwhelmed. Assess your workload realistically and be assertive in setting realistic expectations regarding what you can accomplish within a given timeframe. Be polite but firm when saying no and suggest alternative solutions if possible.
  5. Delegate and collaborate: If you can delegate tasks to others or seek assistance when necessary. Collaboration and teamwork can help distribute the workload and reduce stress. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed.
  6. Create boundaries around working hours: Define specific working hours and try to stick to them as much as possible. Avoid the temptation to constantly check emails or work outside of designated times unless it’s an emergency. Establishing a boundary between work and personal time is crucial for maintaining balance.
  7. Disconnect from technology: Take regular breaks from technology, especially outside of working hours. Limit your exposure to work-related emails, messages, and notifications. Engage in activities that allow you to disconnect and unwind, such as hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing personal interests.
  8. Practice stress management techniques: Develop coping mechanisms to deal with workplace stress effectively. This can include deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, physical activity, journaling, or talking to a trusted friend or therapist. Find strategies that work for you and incorporate them into your routine.
  9. Regularly evaluate and adjust: Monitor your stress levels and regularly assess whether your boundaries are being respected and are effective. Be willing to adjust and modify your boundaries as needed to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Remember, setting boundaries is not selfish but necessary for maintaining your well-being and long-term productivity. Respect your own limits and advocate for a healthy work environment that promotes balance and reduces stress.

In addition, you could also check out what support is available at your place of work. Is there a mental health advocate that you can talk to or get advice?

If not or you are uncomfortable with that option but would like to explore how to create your boundaries or put the building blocks in place to create your own work-life balance, then get in touch.

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