Did you know that approximately 7.7 million Australians spend one-quarter to one-third of their waking lives at work? It’s not surprising, therefore, that workplace stress is emerging as a major cause of physical illness and psychological disorders.
However, stress is not necessarily a negative phenomenon. Some stress is positive and helps keep us motivated and focused. However, if stress is intense, continuous and repeated, and if the person is unable to cope, then it can have adverse effects and may undermine performance.
Can you relate to any of the following key workplace factors which may be causing you stress?
- work overload;
- restructuring or management “downsizing”;
- interpersonal conflict;
- poor management practices;
- job insecurity or redundancy;
- shiftwork and arising fatigue; or
- bullying, aggression or harassment and trauma.
Tips for alleviating the effects of work-related stress
Identify what your workplace stressors are then consult your manager or someone you feel comfortable talking to, such as an HR/personnel or OHS counsellor. It may also help to develop a plan to help tackle the stressors.
If the work stressors are out of your control then take action at a personal level to help minimise the stressor effects. Try these stress-relieving tips:
Start the day with a healthy breakfast and pack some energy-boosting foods to help you through the day. Where possible, try to avoid working through lunch and other meal breaks.
Start or end the day the day with a work-out and notice the positive effects this will have on your mindset. This will certainly help you cope by reducing the psychological symptoms associated with stress. It will also help you to sleep better.
Rest and relax
Just 10 to 15 minutes a day of relaxation/meditation is enough to start reducing blood pressure, heart rate and other stress responses. Find yourself a wise and peaceful meditation teacher in your local area and enrol in a regular class.
Get a good night’s sleep
Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night is preferable. Try getting to bed earlier and avoid caffeine and other stimulants close to bedtime.
Family and social life
Spend time with family and friends and make time for hobbies and other non work-related activities to help you unwind.
Reflection and introspection
Every so often just stop and reflect. Ask yourself some fundamental questions, such as “Is the work stress affecting my quality of life, relationships and/or general happiness?”. If so, make plans to change the situation.
Source: Good Health Magazine