Manage workplace stress
Experiencing stress on the job is common. According to the Washington-based American Psychological Association, causes of workplace stress include:
- Disproportionate, excessive workloads
- Little to no opportunities for growth
- Boring, menial work
- Unclear expectations
- Low salary
- Not having a say in your job decisions
Work-related stress can have serious physical and emotional repercussions. APA states that work-related stress can cause stomach problems, sleep issues, headaches and irritability. Long-term work-related stress can cause insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure and an unhealthy immune system. In certain cases, chronic stress can result in depression, weight problems and heart disease. To help manage stress, APA recommends seven steps:
- Keep track. Write down what happens when you get stressed at work, including how you feel, how you react and how you calm down. This can help you identify patterns among your stressors, APA notes, which may help you determine how you react to them in the future.
- Take care of yourself. Whether you exercise, read or work on creating better sleep habits, try and fight stress by making healthy choices.
- Create boundaries. Do not let work consume your life. APA recommends creating rules, such as not checking your work email at home or answering business calls at the dinner table.
- Take time for yourself. Have vacation days? Use them.
- Teach yourself to relax. APA advises looking into meditation and deep-breathing exercises to help you relax. Try these techniques for a few minutes each day.
- Reach out to your supervisor. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Let your supervisor know what is causing your stress and work together on an action plan to help resolve or lessen these issues.
- Get help. Reach out to family and friends for help if you need it. Also, find out if your employer has stress management resources, such as an employee assistance program.