Five Simple Ways to Manage Professional Stress
Everyone has experienced professional stress in some form throughout life. Yet the term is such a varied one that it can be difficult to define based on the unique individual experience. Therefore stress sources that affect people throughout every minute of every day. However you define stress, when pertaining to you as an individual. There is no doubting the disturbance it can cause within your professional environment if not recognised and managed effectively. Here we show some simple steps to alleviate stress within the workplace.
What is Stress?
Stress is a natural human instinct that occurs as a bodily reaction to difficult situations as they arise. The definition of difficult in this context is totally down to the individual person. There is no hierarchy of difficulty when it comes to a stressful situation. As the same reaction can be caused by a one on one meeting at work. Or even giving a presentation to a room full of people. The severity is in context to the individual reaction. An individual over the course of experience will become familiar with their own unique stress triggers and reactions.
Professional Stress in excess can be caused by:
- Working longer hours
- Working to excessive targets
- Fear of job cuts and redundancy
- Taking on tasks outside of skillset
- Pressure to perform at high levels all the time
These are common causes of stress on an extreme level. However it is important to point out that stress contains many facets.
Stress can be Positive
Not all stress reactions cause us to fall into a chasm of negativity. For some, daily stress is something to thrive on. This is used as a motivator for the enhancement of productivity. Embracing change in daily life and accepting new challenges as they occur.
The importance for a person is to understand the level that they can attribute to positivity and enhancement and when that level increases to such a point that it becomes a wholly negative experience. This increase in levels can cause a body reaction that leads to a disruption in everyday living and more seriously can contribute to a variety of disorders and disease.
Stress can be Negative
Extreme bodily reactions to high levels of stress can severely hamper life in both a professional and personal capacity that can lead to severe consequences, encompassing a variety of different physiological and psychological disorders. Some of these include:
- Chronic headaches
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Eating Disorder
- Substance Abuse
All of which can have a significant effect on both the internal mind of a person and the external life they lead.
Here are some simple ways to reduce and manage stress in the workplace:
Recognise the Early Signs of Professional Stress
To prevent the symptoms of stress reaching the levels mentioned above it is vital to recognise the early warning signs. Recognition that stress may be starting to affect your professional life. When you begin to feel a little overwhelmed in work and find that you are losing the ability to cope. It begins to affect confidence levels, productivity and have a negative effect on working relationships. Both internally with co-workers and externally with clients and customers.
A sample of stress signs to look out for are:
- Low concentration levels
- Loss of interest in work and home life
- Sleeping difficulties
- Stomach anxiety
- Increased use of stimulants; alcohol, drugs
- Loss of sex drive
- Social apathy
Recognising these early signs of stress and acting on ways to alleviate the same will lead to increased fulfillment in both work and day to day life.
Know and Manage your Internal Emotions
The person most familiar with your mind and body is you. The higher the levels of emotional intelligence, the better it will be when managing the stress triggers and drivers so that the negative side of stress can be alleviated. The more aware we are of the way our body reacts and the mechanisms that relieve stress within us, the greater control we will have over the management of this on a day to day basis.
Have an awareness of your external body language, expression, tone of voice and eye contact. These non-verbal cues can dictate the perception of the level of ability and standing you have within the workplace. Focus on improving these cues as, the more they are utilised in a positive way. As a result the greater effect they have both externally with others and internally with one’s self.
Try breaking the working day down.Split into simple, smaller tasks. This will have the positive effect. Eliminates the feelings of being overwhelmed. You create smaller situations in which you have the ability to take greater control over and this perception of control will be viewed in a positive and productive way by co-workers and clients.
Balance work with focused breaks where relaxation is key to maintain a clear mind and focus when on the task at hand. Regular breaks away from the hustle of the work environment will allow the mind to regroup on thoughts and increase concentration levels for the rest of the working day.
Prioritise tasks so that you do not overcrowd yourself with the minutiae of inconsequential work. Make sure that your daily plan is realistic and delegate when appropriate. These changes will increase confidence levels . Especially as each task is completed and the work gets done.
A Healthy Body and Mind
A healthy body and mind is a positive attribute in all aspects of living. Yet it is sometimes not given the importance. Especially when referenced in a work capacity. When you maintain a healthy lifestyle and a positive work/life balance. Sress will most certainly be minimised.
Sleep is an important factor when it is correlated with working ability. A lack of sleep causes poor focus and irritability. Whereas a good night’s sleep of seven hours or more will provide for a more emotionally balanced and focused mind.
Exercise, even for small intervals a day will relieve stress and lift the mood. Especially exercise that raises the heart rate. Try to schedule at least a daily half hour of exercise that enables you to concentrate on yourself and your body rather than the stresses of work.
Eating the right foods at the right time can also contribute to stress alleviation. Avoid foods that make you feel sluggish and lack focus and concentrate on the foods that slowly release energy throughout the day. Ensure that the foods you consume keep the blood sugars balanced to avoid triggers of feeling irritable and anxious too.
Meditation and the Mind
The art of acknowledging the present without judgement or perception is an enlightening experience in which you are truly aware of the ability to control that moment in a positive way. Using meditation in a professional work environment can give clarity in decision making and creativity and enable stress reduction which in turn leads to enhanced productivity.
There are many ways you can use meditation in the workplace. Whether it be using simple breathing techniques or using a break to close your eyes and apply relaxing meditative practices to restore balance and energy. There are many ways to experience meditation which can be explored on this site. Employ whichever way suits you best in order to optimise the experience for the benefit of your working life.
What ways do you relieve professional stress ? We would really like to know!