Work stress is accepted by many as ‘normal’. It is considered as inevitable fallout of professional life. Work stress may be due to excessive workloads, low salaries, no social support, not having control over decisions, anxiety etc. This stress can cause many health and behavioural problems like short temper, headaches, insomnia, depression, hypertension. Some people try to cope by smoking, overeating or binging on junk food and may even take to alcohol and drugs. But stress is manageable – read on to find out a few tips and ideas about how you can control your work related stress:
Don’t react, act
We are stressed when we feel that things are not in our control. If it happens on a regular basis, it can affect your concentration, confidence and well-being. You should try to identify the things you can control, so stay in control of that and let go of things which you do not have control over, whether it is work or a colleague’s behaviour.
Do not make yourself available for work day and night. It’s important to have a good work life balance and that is possible only when you choose not to check work emails or complete projects from home. When at home, concentrate on your family and talk and cook or eat dinner together. This is a great stress buster, and you will feel refreshed.
Learn to relax
If you’re one of those who are perpetually working, you may not even know how to relax. Learn some relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing techniques, practicing mindfulness, walking or enjoying your meal without distraction can help you relax.
Talk to people close to you
It’s important to unburden your worries which may be causing you a lot of stress. Talking to your spouse or girlfriend / boyfriend or a close friend, will make you feel better, instead of keeping it within yourself. Sometimes discussing things with others might help you come up with solutions or just help you cope better as you feel the stress disappear.
Control your tension
It’s normal to be overwhelmed by tense meetings and you might even get panic attacks. To get you thinking clearly, try deep breathing – breathe in for 5 seconds, and breathe out after 5 seconds. Doing this for some time can give you the same benefits as an hour long yoga class.
Get back to your hobby
Set aside some time just for yourself, doing what you enjoy the most. Go to the movies, read books, play your favourite sports or paint – do whatever takes your mind off work. Take a morning walk in your nearest park, and be refreshed by the clean air and enjoy the natural beauty.
Talk to your boss
There might be certain things which only your boss can help you with – like helping you get support and resources from colleagues, changing your physical workspace ( if that is a cause of stress), tapping into your company sponsored wellness programmes and also clarifying what exactly is expected from you.
Don’t waste your vacation days. Go on short vacations near your city with friends or family or alone or take a long vacation with your family. It’s fun to plan vacations too, when all your family members or friends decide where to go and what to do. When you do get away, stay away from work consciously – do not check your mails or call your office. Just “switch off” and disconnect, and have fun seeing the sights, enjoying the food and relaxing.
You might think that by pushing yourself continuously for 8-10 hours without breaks, you’ll get more done. But actually, your stress increases as productivity decreases and you’re left with little or no energy. Take small breaks to walk, breathe consciously and do some stretching exercises. Studies show that after concentrating intensely for 90 minutes, you should set aside some ‘recovery’ time, and get back to work again.
It’s easy to manage stress when you know how, and make a conscious effort to reduce it in a healthy manner. Create clear boundaries between your work and home life and you will see how this breathing space allows you to feel rejuvenated.