Many people underestimate the effects of work related stress but it can cause many detrimental issues. Stress can affect your job performance. This may even become a vicious cycle of more stress if you receive poor evaluations from your supervisor and/or you are passed over for promotions. Stress can also seriously impact your health. It is well known that stress weakens the immune system making you more susceptible to catching the flu and other diseases. It also puts you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Work related stress can bleed over into other areas of your life too such as negatively affecting the relationship you have with your family and friends.
Reduce Stress Before You Go To Work
If you are already stressed out when you get to work, things that would normally not bother you at work may stress you out. Therefore, it is important to develop strategies for reducing your stress level before you get to work. 5-10 minutes of exercise can work wonders. Listening to your favorite music as you travel to work can also help a lot. You may want to learn some basic deep breathing yoga techniques and practice these a few minutes before you step into the workplace.
Define Your Job's Expectations More Clearly
Studies have shown that a significant source of stress in the workplace is due to uncertain job expectations. This type of uncertainty can prevent you from knowing if you have performed well on your job even when you are trying very hard to do so. The best way to eliminate this source of stress if to talk candidly with your supervisor and make sure that you clearly agree on what's expected from you.
Avoid Workplace Conflict
Interpersonal conflicts between co-workers is another significant source of job related stress. You can take steps to minimize these conflicts by being careful about how you interact with your co-workers. For example, you can avoid controversial topics of conversation such as political or religious issues. Also, while it is perfectly acceptable to joke around with your co-workers, be sure not to take the jokes too far as this could cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Be Nice To Your Co-Workers
Building on the old adage, "You can catch more flies with honey," making a special effort to be nice to your co-workers can create a more amicable work environment with less stress. This does not mean that you have to fake it. Just make an effort to treat your co-workers with kindness and respect. Genuine compliments are remembered for a long time. Kind gestures such as bringing in fresh vegetables from your garden to share or perhaps providing fresh cut flowers for the break room or your co-workers' desks can also help create a pleasant stress free work environment.
Keep Your Workspace Well Organized
If your personal workspace is cluttered and disorganized, this will be a source of stress. The good news is you have control over this source of stress and you can remedy it yourself. If you use a computer at work, making sure your desktop and your file structure is organized will also help reduce stress.
Find Ways To Reduce Physical Pain
Physical pain in the workplace is quite common and can create mental stress without you even realizing it. If have a desk job, your chair may cause back pain, neck pain, and discomfort in other areas of your body`. You can reduce this pain by replacing your desk chair with one that is more ergonomic or perhaps just adjusting the one you have. Sometimes, changing the height or angle of your computer monitor can be very helpful. If you stand a lot on the job, make sure you have an ergonomic mat under your feet to reduce the pressure on your feet, knees, and hips. If your job entails repetitive motions, make sure you take enough breaks and/or determine if you can perform the same task with a slightly different motion. Eye strain is also common in the workplace. Occasionally re-focusing your eyes on a distant object can help minimize this problem.
Make the Most Of Your Breaks
This importance of this point cannot be over emphasized. Even if you only have a 15-minute break or a half hour for lunch, there are things you can do during that time that will greatly lower your stress at work. If your job is sedentary, try doing something physical on your breaks. If nothing else, take a brisk walk. If you can find the space, you can do some simple exercises. Find ways to de-stress and get totally away from your work environment, even if this just means going out to your car, closing your eyes, and listening to your favorite music. You may also want to find a simple respite a short distance away from the workplace such as feeding the birds or just walking a block and filling your lungs with fresh air.
Take a Professional Stress Management Course
Taking a professional stress management course can help you in a number of ways. Many people do not recognize the early signs of stress. A professional stress management course can help you learn to recognize the early signs of stress and deal with them effectively so they don't fester and grow into bigger problems. A professional stress management course can also help develop a custom plan to deal with your specific source(s) of work related stress.