Updated: Sep 16
In today's fast-paced and demanding work environments stress has become a common occurrence. The workplace can be a significant source of stress impacting both mental and physical well-being. In this article we will explore effective strategies for managing stress in the workplace promoting a healthier mind and overall well-being. By implementing these strategies individuals can better cope with stress, improve their mental resilience and create a more harmonious work environment.
Recognizing Signs of Stress
Stress: A state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. It is a natural response that prompts us to react to the challenges and threats in our lives.
Every workplace has its stressors and being able to recognize what they are for you will help you not only be able to take care of yourself but you’ll be in a better position to support others.
What are some of the common workplace stressors?
Work demand, tight deadlines, last minute client changes, interpersonal conflicts, and organizational changes a lot of these things are out of our control adding to the overall stress compounding in missed time from work, withdrawing from social activities.
How do these stresses usually show?
Increased irritability, decreased job satisfaction, difficulty concentrating, withdrawing from activities like taking breaks with colleagues. Increase consumption of caffeinated products or energy drinks, increase in vaping or smoking.
Stress generally affects our communications skills first, verbally we tend to be curt, our communication is in short burst, auditorily our sense become overwhelmed and noise can begin to highly irritate us (think about being lost while your driving, radio blaring)
Lack of quality sleep our minds generally can’t unwind and in the evening when we try to go to sleep we toss and turn counting down how many hours of sleep we can get if we go to sleep right now.
Some of the first warning signs for myself is a headache due to my jaw clenching or biting together harder than usual.
If I notice I am becoming aggressively sensitive I will practice a mindfulness technique to bring me back to the present, breathe deep.
Promoting a Supportive Work Environment
Being in a place you feel safe enough to share your concerns has a profoundly positive effect on one's mental health. Having an “open door” policy is a fantastic start to promoting a supportive work environment, but people need to know what’s said when the door is closed and will stay behind closed doors. Being able to express your concerns, seek help, and provide feedback are pivotal pieces to a mentally safe workplace.
How can we start building more supportive work environments?
We can start by understanding there needs to be a better integration between work and life, with realistic workloads and flexible schedules. Having space for honest, open communication and feedback, without the fear of being reprimanded is an absolute must. Promote teamwork but also education so teams have the confidence to work out their problems.
Encourage each other to take the time off regularly. We need to be away from work to appreciate it, this includes your daily breaks. Studies are showing there is only so much our brains can handle; it needs regular rest from working all the time.
Effective Stress Management Techniques
Mindfulness, self-care, time management are all crucial pieces of being able to effectively manage your state to prevent stress.
Take time management for example and an area I currently struggle with but I know when I am dialed in I tend to be less stressed. When I am not diligent about managing my time my time ends up managing me. I find myself over committed, desperately trying to multitask in a sea of priorities. I have no idea where to start. But it’s not just about writing stuff down on a calendar, you have to be able to chuck your time into manageable chunks or you won’t be disciplined enough to stick with it.
Physical activity I am a big advocate of exercise and stress relief, I also know staying committed to regular physical activity can be hard especially when the mind gremlins remind you it’s raining or 450 out. If we take Jordan Peterson’s advice and aim low enough we can find something that works for us.
Prioritize self-care. A lot of us get stressed out because we don’t prioritize the things we really need to get done. Self-care is not all just rest, relaxation, and unplugging. Some of the more important things we tend to avoid that just add to our stress. Take a look at some of the things you have been avoiding, investigate why you have been avoiding them, outline a plan to get them done.
Building Emotional Resilience
Resilience the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.
Times are different from before. Now more than ever individuals have to have skills that help them understand the situation and be able to know and believe they will get through.
Managing stress in the workplace is crucial for maintaining mental well being and overall productivity. By understanding the causes of workplace stress, promoting a supportive work environment, implementing effective stress management techniques, and building resilience and coping skills, individuals can navigate workplace stress more effectively. Remember, managing stress is an ongoing process that requires self-awareness, practice, and a commitment to prioritizing mental health. By incorporating these strategies, individuals can cultivate a healthier mind and thrive in their professional lives.