“How will I ever get this done?”
“When is this going to get easier?”
“Will I ever get a break?”
We all run the risk of getting stuck in the stressfulness of our daily work routine. While it benefits you to have a regular schedule, it’s also possible to get bogged down by repetition. There are a number of ways to avoid the negative consequences of work-related stress, and that’s what we’ll be covering here.
Stop sweating the small stuff and make use of some simple office stress relief tips. Discover super-useful strategies for managing stress in the workplace just below…
What is workplace stress?
What is workplace stress? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it’s “the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury.”
With that in mind, it may come as a serious concern to you that the CDC found that 40% of workers report that their job is “very or extremely stressful”. If that’s not shocking enough, they also report that roughly 25% of employees consider their job to be the number one cause of stress in their lives. As a matter of fact, they find that workplace stressors correlate more strongly with health complaints than all other life stresses, including financial and family issues.
While family issues are outside of our area of expertise, we can definitely help alleviate some of your financial stress. Business loans can help to take some of the load off of your shoulders, and Lending Express makes the process of obtaining one easy, simple, and quick.
It’s clear that stresses exist in the workplace, and their impact is not to be taken lightly. But what are the causes of stress at work? We’ll dig into that question in just a second – keep reading to find out.
Is stress in the workplace a good thing?
We’ve all heard the sayings, “you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet” and “no pain, no gain”. And while they certainly are way past their expiration dates, those sayings remain true.
How does this relate to office stress?
To put it simply, it’s not stress itself that causes all of the negative effects we so commonly associate with it. Rather, the real important factor in the stress equation is our own reaction to stress. There’s another saying that relates to this topic: “What determines where your boat goes is the way you set your sails, not the direction of the wind.” Don’t get blown around by your workplace stressors!
You might be thinking that’s easier said than done, and that’s true. The physical reaction to stress can be paralyzing for some people. But practicing mindfulness can help you learn to use that surge of adrenaline to work to your advantage. There are more office stress relievers to come, but first, we’ll cover the causes of stress at work.
Causes of stress in the workplace
Where do we begin? This list could be an entire article in itself. We’ll try and keep it short so we don’t add to your stress.
First off, there are two main schools of thought when it comes to defining causes of stress at work. One point of view is that what matters most is the individual worker’s ability to deal with the stress of the workplace. What will be stressful for one more person may not be stressful for somebody else; some people may have better office stress relievers in their tool belt, while others lack strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
The second point of view regarding the causes of stress at work is that work conditions are what matter more.
Harvard Business Review lists the following as top stressors at work:
- Low pay
- Over-demanding workloads
- Difficult commutes
- Annoying coworkers
So, from the second perspective, there’s not much you can do to find stress relief for the office, besides quitting and finding a new one! But we don’t necessarily subscribe to that point of view. We do believe there are ways to handle stress effectively, and we list those office stress relief tips below. Scroll down and see for yourself.
8 Strategies for managing stress in the workplace
You’ve reached the holy grail, at long last! No more beating around the bush. Here’s what you came for.
The best office stress relievers:
1. Learn to recognize stress
When you begin feeling the physical effects of stress (increased heart rate, sweaty hands, butterflies in your stomach, etc.) ‘press pause’ and identify what triggered that reaction.
2. Change your outlook
Typically the thing that stresses us at work is a task that is important, in one way or another. Focus on the value and usefulness you bring to the task of getting the job done, and use the surge of energy as fuel to pull it off.
3. Talk about what is bugging you
Whether with a colleague, friend, or family member, often times verbalizing the cause of stress at work is enough to reduce the tension. Speaking with someone also gives you an opportunity to get an outside perspective on things.
4. Create a list
Put the causes of stress at work in order according to how important they are. Be practical and realize that not everything needs to (or can) be done this minute. At this particular point in time, ‘file taxes’ may very well be at the top of your list. Once you read about tax-saving hacks, you’ll be able to cross that off.
5. Be an optimist, not a perfectionist
Nobody is capable of doing every work assignment all at once, so don’t set yourself up for failure. Be realistic, get done what you can, and don’t beat yourself up about the what’s left over.
While the exact physiological effects of exercise on stress are not entirely agreed-upon, it is clear that endorphins (feel-good hormones) are released while working out. They counteract cortisol (the stress hormone) within as little as 10-15 minutes of exercising, and the positive effects can last for hours. And, of course, the results will be even better if you exercise on a regular basis. Get moving!
7. Practice breathing and mindfulness
Your breathing has an intense effect on your body and mind in general, but specifically on the way you respond to stress. That’s one of the reasons why people very often take a deep breath and sigh when they are stressed.
Instead of allowing the causes of stress in the workplace to dictate your breathing pattern, you can consciously control your breathing to make the circumstances less stressful. Take 10-15 minutes when you wake up in the morning to focus on your breathing. This simple practice can also make you more aware of yourself, other people, and your surroundings throughout your workday.
8. Eat well
Many people don’t realize how their stomach chemistry affects their mood. Serotonin, one of the major ‘feel-good hormones’, is actually produced in the lining of your gut. Having a healthy balanced diet will improve your serotonin levels and your mood, while a poor diet will have a negative impact on your mood and your physical health. Stay happy, healthy, and energized by choosing to eat foods with nutritional value and not just what tastes good in the moment.
Stay calm, and work on…
There are many ways to achieve stress relief for the office. The 8 office stress relief tips above are just a few easy strategies for managing stress in the workplace. Don’t limit yourself to these methods, find what works best for you.
The most important thing is not to allow stress to define your relationship with your job, career, or business. Stressors will always be there; while avoiding extremely anxiety-inducing situations is advisable, it’s best to learn how to cope with the unavoidable causes of stress in the workplace.
Feel free to comment below and share your own favorite office stress relief tips!