How to cope with stress in the workplace
“It’s not the stress that kills us, It’s our reaction to it.” Hans Selye
Stress in the workplace is more common than you might think. Worryingly, close to 60% of people feel stressed at work (1).
4 out of every 10 people reported that stress as a result of work was making them sick (2).
Those in finance, government and healthcare are reported to experience the highest level of stress.
Alarmingly, stress at work has been unearthed as the biggest cause of stress, followed by family pressures and money worries.
In my case, I ended up with 3 chronic illnesses as a result of work-related stress. I was lucky enough to have found help in the form of alternative therapy and coaching.
These techniques, not only helped heal the illnesses, they also gave me a method to have a healthy work-life balance as well as a serene sense of calm and peace.
But first, let’s explore what are the main contributors to stress in the work-place.
What causes stress at work and how to cope with it?
Stress at work can happen due to a variety of different reasons and according to a survey conducted in 2017 the most important are the following (3):
- Higher than manageable work-load –an employee will feel stressed if the amount of work they have to complete is over-whelming versus manageable
- A feeling of being unsupported – an employee feels un-supported if they are under-valued, unfairly treated or their contribution un-rewarded.
- Changes at the work – unexpected changes at work and an inability to cope with it can cause stress.
- Bullying, violence, and threats – understandably experiencing any form of abuse is unacceptable and causes heightened levels of stress in some cases leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Feeling uncertain about your role–employees will feel anxious at work if they do not know where their role fits into the
What can you do to cope with work-related stress?
Some of the solutions to help you cope better with stress at the workplace are to be able to
- Prioritise your work-load and develop an ability to say “No”
- Initiate a conversation with your manager to resolve matters
- Become more comfortable with change as a part of life
- Get clear on what you want at work
- Stand up to any abuse and get professional help as required
- Find a method that will help lower your stress level
There are many different ways to lower stress from talking about it to taking a break from it as well as having a regular routine that manages stress pro-actively.
Below are some of the things you can do, even when you are at work:
- Conscious Breathing – when it gets too over-whelming take a step back and breathe. Even if you are just sitting at your desk, just take a moment to breathe. That is right, breathe in for 6 counts and out for 6 counts.
- Daily exercise – engage in a regular exercise routine be it walking, a yoga practice or gym routine. You can also take a walk during your lunch break or even a walk from one department to another.
- Tapping – tapping is also known as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) which involves tapping on energy meridians on the face and upper body to lower stress, anxiety and tension. It is clinically proven to lower stress. Once learnt you can even apply it to yourself even at work. You can learn EFT in a 3 day program.
In closing, stressful situation will occur in life and the secret is to have a daily routine to cope with it and to learn to let go.
Love Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD)
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