In today’s world and the hectic pace of life we are all leading, some level of stress is inevitable, as one is constantly juggling with pressures from different quarters – work, home, financial pressures, children etc. Added to those are sometimes the bad habits we tend to develop such as unhealthy eating, late nights and smoking which all contribute to multiplying the stress levels in the long run.
Life can never be totally stress free. At an acceptable level stress is something which keeps us on our toes, challenges us and even helps us to grow in our careers. But when it starts to reach excessive levels, begins to have an impact on our productivity levels and ultimately starts to have an effect on our health.
It’s important that we realize what is happening and take action before it reaches that stage.
COMMON REASONS OF WORKPLACE STRESS :
- PERFORMANCE PRESSURES: In the challenging workplace of the pressure to deliver keeps rising. Meeting performance goals, timelines and working late hours to complete ones work all contribute to stress.
- HEADCOUNT PRESSURES: Most organizations focus on keeping a lean setup. Saving costs and moving towards automation to increase productivity also contributes to work pressures.
- MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS / LAYOFFS: In a bid to obtain business synergies and reduce costs and headcounts, mergers and acquisitions are an everyday occurrence. These events also create a lot of pressure on employees with added workload and job uncertainty.
The above factors have an impact on your emotions maybe causing you to feel pressured, moody, anxious and frustrated. If you are stressed it will have an impact on the quality of your relationships and interactions with others. However if you are aware of your stress level and learn to manage it effectively you will be able to exert a positive influence on your own behavior as well as have a positive effect on those around you. Apart from that, the pressure and stress exerted by other people will also not affect you negatively.
When the stress level at work starts to impact your ability to perform at work and manage your personal life you need to take action. You can start by taking some small steps and the better you start to feel, the better equipped you’ll be to manage things.
SOME BASIC STEPS :
TIME MANAGEMENT : Feeling pressured by a lack of time is one of the greatest causes of stress. Effectively managing your time can help you to control your stress levels tremendously. (Read my article ‘Work SMART – Not Hard’). Try to maintain a balance between work and family life, also including social activities and other interests in your life to be relaxed and more able to deal with what comes up. Never over commit yourself by accepting too much to do. Try to take short breaks during the day to clear your mind and spend a few moments with colleagues. Doing so will help you relax and recharge your batteries.
REGULAR EXERCISE : The benefits are manifold and its very important to take out the time to do some Aerobic exercise. It is a very effective way to lift your mood, increase your level of energy and also helps to relax the mind and body. Walking is the simplest and most cost effective manner of exercise – all you need is a pair of shoes and some open space. You should aim for at least 30 minutes of walking on most days of the week which may even be broken shorter segments if that’s easier for you to manage. ENJOY YOUR WALK.
SHARE YOUR CONCERNS : Just talking to someone you trust be it a friend or a family member and sharing your thoughts and concerns helps to calm you and at the same time relieve your stress. You may think that the other person cannot “fix” your problems; but that’s not the purpose, he or she just has to be a good listener and just this role will have a healing impact on you. A supportive friend or family member can be a buffer against stress at work and in other areas as well. On the other side, the more lonely and isolated you are, trying to keep your problems to yourself; the more susceptible you are to stress.
HEALTHY EATING : Healthy eating habits can help you get through stressful work days much more effectively. Someone with a healthy and balanced diet is likely to be far less stressed than someone who has a habit of eating a poor diet. Tea, coffee and energy drinks should be avoided when stressed. They may be refreshing and pick you up when tired but they contain caffeine which heightens stress. Soft drinks and sugar should also be avoided as high stress levels cause an increase in blood glucose levels already. Reducing stress is all about a balance of the correct vitamins and minerals, so it’s highly recommended to avoid eating fast foods and takeaways.
It’s not all bad news, as there are plenty of foods that are good for helping to reduce stress. Fresh fruit and vegetables provide an array of vitamins and minerals that are great for reducing stress, so try to incorporate at least 2-3 servings in your diet daily. Further also include fish which is a good source of omega fatty acids, good for the heart and a great memory booster, a few times a week. Nuts are a good source of minerals as well and a small handful of almonds or mixed nuts does you a lot of good as well. Further, yoghurt provides minerals including calcium, essential to maintain well functioning nerve impulses. LAST BUT NOT LEAST DRINK A LOT OF WATER …….
ADEQUATE SLEEP : Not getting a good nights sleep can leave you vulnerable to even more stress. When you’re well-rested, and get up fresh in the morning it’s much easier to keep your emotional balance, a key factor in coping with everyday and workplace stress. Try to keep a regular sleeping schedule and aim for 8 hours of sleep every night.
So, take control of your life and be happier and healthier.