Did you know that one in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed, or mentally unwell?
When you think about what causes the greatest stress in your life, what comes to mind? For some, it could be financial, an upcoming project or presentation, bad traffic, a job interview, or social anxiety. If you can relate to any of these, you’re certainly not alone. In today’s busy world, it can feel like life is one big emotional roller coaster, and with things like redundancies and cost-cutting becoming all too common in the workplace, it’s no surprise that there’s been a rise in anxiety, uncertainty, and stress.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s natural to be anxious or stressed about an issue at work. However, according to a New Zealand based study, published in Psychological Medicine, by the age of 32, 14% of women and 10% of men with no prior mental health issues experience extreme pressure at work, and suffer from severe depression or anxiety.
Workplace stress can lead to very real health problems, ranging from minor (such as colds and flu) to possibly fatal (such as heart disease and metabolic syndrome). Occasional workplace stress is unavoidable, we’re all human and stress triggers can come from a variety of sources. The trick is to find ways to manage and minimise your stress and lower your anxiety. Here are some tips for stress management while you’re at work.
Take a Deep Breath and Relax
A few minutes of deep breathing can help to restore balance if you’re feeling overwhelmed or need to clear your mind after a tense meeting. Finding a stress-reduction method that works for you can help you cope with difficult situations and reduce tension. Some of the most successful techniques to de-stress include meditation, deep breathing, and muscular relaxation.
Eat Well and Exercise
Moving your body, drinking plenty of water, and eating nutritious meals helps you deal with stress more effectively. This helps you stay energised and focused and prevents mood swings. During the day, be sure to take a break from your desk to stretch or go for a 10-minute stroll.
Multitasking used to be thought of as the true path to productivity but attitudes to this are changing, with it now being believed that tackling one task at a time is the way to avoid overwhelm and stress at work. Working on one task at a time can make you feel more efficient, productive, and less stressed.
Ask for Help
When things are stressful at work and you are overloaded, it’s ok to seek assistance from your manager or co-workers. Asking for help from colleagues can alleviate your burden and build trust within the team. If you’re the sort of person who feels guilty asking for help, be sure to make it known that you’re happy to reciprocate, a collaborative team is a successful team.
The modern workplace often requires active participation from employees in meetings or team-building exercises. If this is something that makes you feel uncomfortable, try breaking the situation down into smaller parts. Make a goal of speaking with a smaller group of co-workers, or even just a couple of individuals to break the barrier.
Access Company Resources
To help you manage stress, many companies provide counselling through employee assistance programmes (EAPs) or can connect you to community mental health resources. You can check with your HR team to see if resources are available to help you through a difficult time. Though it may be quite intimidating to speak out about your stress or anxiety in the first place, when you take charge of your well-being, you take the first step towards feeling better, and being more successful at work.
Workplace stress can have a significant impact on your quality of life and health as it leaves you counting down the minutes until your workday is over. With everything going on in the world today it’s more important than ever to take charge of your workplace stress.