Work is a big part of our lives. Most of us spend the majority of our days away from home at our jobs.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of many jobs, stress is a normal part of work for many people.40% of people report that their job feels “very stressful,” and 25% of people say that their jobs are the “#1 stressor” in their lives.
Excessive workplace stress can cause serious physical and mental health issues, and affect your overall well-being. So how can you recognize when you’re in a work environment with a lot of stress, and what can you do about it? In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know.
Understanding The Common Causes Of Work-Related Stress
Every job is different, but there are a few common causes of work-related stress that are usually universal, no matter what field or career you may be in. A few of the most common causes of work-related stress include:
- Fear of being laid off/job insecurity
- More overtime or work due to staff cutbacks with no additional assistance
- Pressure to meet rising expectations in your job, with no increase in pay/job satisfaction
- Management expecting you to work at optimum levels of performance at all times
- A lack of control over how you do your work, or your schedule
- Tight or unrealistic deadlines for major projects
- Bad relationships with your coworkers or managers
- Excessive demands that impair your personal life/work-life balance
- Harassment or discrimination
Naturally, these causes of work-related stress may vary based on where you work, and your workplace environment. But overall, the main stressors are related to long hours, poor working environment, your efforts going unnoticed, and other similar factors.
Recognizing The Top Signs Of Work-Related Stress
Wondering if you may have a stressful work environment? Sure, you may not always love your job – but it’s probably not affecting your health, right? Well, that may not be the case. Here are a few of the top signs of work-related stress that you should look out for.
- Fatigue and muscular tension
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feelings of discouragement or inadequacy at work
- Feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope at work
- Difficulty concentrating & making decisions, and other cognitive difficulties
- Feelings of isolation in the workplace
- Diminished creativity and initiative, and disinterest in your work
- You become easily frustrated and feel impatient at work
- Your work performance is dropping
Workplace stress harms both your mental health and physical health. If you recognize some or all of the above symptoms, it’s important to get the help you need to reduce workplace stress, and maintain a better work-life balance. For more details about the common causes and symptoms of workplace stress, you can take a look at this article.
What To Do About Work-Related Stress – Our Tips & Advice
So, you’re feeling stressed out at work – what can you do about it? Here are a few basic steps you can take to help de-stress and relax.
Reach out and share your stress – When it’s bottled up inside, stress and feelings of frustration with work can become toxic. Simply just sharing your feelings and the situations that have happened at work with someone close to you can be very helpful, and allows you vent.
Close friends, family members, partners and spouses, and coworkers can all listen to you and help you think through the situation, and provide you with the support that you need to deal with a stressful work environment.
Fight back against stress with an exercise – It may seem crazy, but taking care of your body by exercising and eating right can help with stress. Exercise releases endorphins which help fight back against stress, and scientists have found that regular aerobic exercise helps decrease tension, improves mood, and promotes better sleep.
Get high-quality sleep – Speaking of sleep, you need to make sure you get enough of it – particularly if you have a busy schedule. You should get at least 7-8 hours per night. Sleep and mood are closely connected – inadequate sleep can contribute to feelings of stress, irritability, and unhappiness.
Establish work/life boundaries – It’s a good idea to establish firm work/life boundaries. If possible, for example, you can avoid answering emails or work-related phone calls at night, or on the weekends. Having a clear division between “work” and “home” can help decrease feelings of workplace stress.
Speak to HR or management – Bringing up workplace issues with HR or management may be helpful in some cases. If you have too much work and need help, can’t keep working overtime, or are having other work-related issues, they may be able to offer a solution.
You should also immediately go to HR if your workplace environment is toxic – for example, if you’ve seen (or been subjected to) discrimination, harassment, racist and abusive language, or other such things that violate workplace policies.
Consider a job or career change – Obviously, this is the last resort. But if you’ve tried multiple coping strategies and nothing helps, the problem could be with your workplace – or your career. Do not take this lightly, but start thinking about what kind of job may satisfy you – and cause you less stress.
Then, you can begin taking steps toward this transition, such as going back to school, applying for new jobs, or networking with professionals in your desired field. Knowing that you’re going to move on can help with stress in your current workplace environment – and help you feel more encouraged about your future.
Workplace Stress Is A Serious Issue – Get Help If You Need It!
Stress in the workplace is very common – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the help you need. If you’re seriously stressed at work, it may also be a good idea to get counseling from a qualified mental health professional. Do not overlook the importance of caring for your mental health – stress from work can be extremely damaging to your mental and physical health, and your career and personal life.