Stress seems to be an inescapable part of our lives, and work stress is no exception. According to the American Psychological Association, around one-third of all workers experience chronic job stress. This means that many workers suffer the negative effects of stress, such as sleep problems, irritability, anxiety, a weakened immune system, and health problems. Work stress can be connected with a low salary, excessive workload, lack of opportunities for growth or career advancement, a toxic job environment, lack of control over job decisions, conflicting demands and roles, and others.
Some factors may be unavoidable – we may have to deal with our workload or work a job that is not fully engaging or satisfying. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t make an effort to manage our work stress.
What can be done to manage work stress? First, you need to identify what are the causes of your stress. Do you feel overwhelmed by your workload? Are the expectations and demands unreasonable? Do you feel pressure to always be on call? Consider what are the issues that are the causes of your stress. You can try first seeing whether you can address them proactively. Talk to your supervisor or boss to see whether they can be reduced or changed. Some of these issues may be related to poor boundaries you set for yourself. For example, unless your job requires you to be available all the time, it may be better for you to set boundaries and not answer messages after hours or on the weekend, although whether you can do this may depend on your workplace.
In most jobs, however, you should be able to take more steps to improve your condition. You can take up exercising and good habits, like getting more sleep and eating healthier. This will help you better cope with stress. You can make time for your hobbies and relaxation practices like meditation. You can seek social support from family and friends. If job stress is hurting you, it’s a good idea to seek counseling to help manage work stress.
Overall, stress can be better managed by: setting boundaries, proactively trying to change stressful aspects of the job, having healthy habits, making time for fun and relaxation, and seeking social support to deal with stress.
APA. (2017). Coping With Stress at Work. http://www.apa.org. Retrieved 17 March 2017, from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress.aspx