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Coping with Stress at Work

Regardless of what field your career may be in, at one point or another everyone has felt the pressure of work-related stress. Even if you love what you do, any job can have stressful aspects. In the short-term, stress may be caused by a deadline that must be met, or a demanding project. However, when work-related stress becomes part of a daily routine, it can be extremely overwhelming and very harmful to our physical and emotional well being.

Although work-related stress is very harmful to our health, it is very common to experience it in today’s day and age. According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual Stress in America Survey, during the year 2012, 65% of Americans cited work as their top source of stress. Only 37% of Americans surveyed said they were doing an “excellent” or “very good job” managing their stress.

Below you will find some common sources of work-related stress, the negative effects work-related stress may cause & various steps one can take to manage their work-related stress:

Common Sources of Work Stress

Low salaries
Exorbitant workloads
Insufficient opportunities for growth/advancement
Work that isn’t engaging/challenging
Lack of social support
Not have enough control over work-related decisions
Conflicting demands/unclear expectations

Negative Effects of Uncontrolled Work Stress

When stress persists, it can take a toll on our health & well-being. Short term, a stressful work environment may cause various problems such as headaches, stomachaches, disturbances while sleeping, short temper & difficulty concentrating.
Chronic stress can result in anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, weakened immune system, depression, obesity & heart disease.

Taking Steps to Manage Work Stress

Track your stressors According to the APA, it is suggested to keep a journal for 1-2 weeks to help identify what situations cause the most stress and how you are responding to them. Record all thoughts, feelings and any information about the environment. Did you raise your voice? Get a snack? Get fresh air? Taking notes on all of this may be helpful in finding patterns among stresors & reactions to them.
Develop healthy responses Instead of attempting to fight stress with fast food or alcohol, make it a mission to make healthy choices when the tension rises. Any form of physical activity can be beneficial and is a great stress-buster. Make time for hobbies and favorite activities. Build healthy sleep habits by limiting caffeine intake late in the day.
Establish boundaries Establishing work boundaries will allow you to set aside time to yourself, and not worry about what is going on at work.
Recharge yourself In order to avoid negative effects of stress and burnout, set aside time to replenish your body, mind & soul. Recover from the stressful work atmosphere by “switching off” from work mode and have set periods of time when there is no engagement or thoughts regarding work. Take time to relax and unwind and you will feel reinvigorated and relaxed.
Learn how to relax Methods of relaxation may be different for everyone, but be sure to find what works for you. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness can help melt stress away.
Get support Accepting help from trusted friends and family can improve your ability to manage stress. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by work related stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist, who can help you better manage stress & change unhealthy behavior.

Maintaining your stress levels at work can be an important part of keeping yourself healthy- physically & emotionally. It is important to work in a stress-free environment as well as a safe work environment. If you or someone you know has had a slip and fall or other workplace related injury, contact our team to see how we can help you today.