Work stress can be considered normal when you’re under time pressure or when you’re
struggling to meet a target but when work stress becomes chronic and constant, it can take a toll
on one’s mental health. Although we can’t control the stressors at work, we can control how we
react to them.
Signs that you are experiencing work stress
- You barely have time for yourself
- You opt for fast food/ quick fixes to cope with stress and save time
- You have little to no patience with your team
- You isolate and withdraw yourself from others
1- Identify sources of stress
In order to combat the stress, you need to be aware of where it comes from. Is your work stress
stemming from a coworker that you need to draw boundaries with? Is it stemming from
procrastination and thus your inability to finish your workload on time? Or is it because you
aren’t getting enough physical rest? Knowing your stressors is important in order to know which
area you will tackle. You can do that by reflecting out loud with friends or journaling the
possible reasons behind your frustration.
2- Develop healthy habits
After identifying your sources of stress, it’s important to develop healthy habits to fight the
stress. When stressed, it might be easy to opt for fast food to save time and energy. In the long
run, this negatively impacts us physically and mentally. Make it a habit to wake up earlier to
pack healthy and nutritious meals for the day. A good rule of thumb for a healthy lunch is for it
to be as colorful as it can be. It’s also important to stay hydrated, and you can do that by carrying
reusable water bottles.
3- Get moving
If you are in a period where it feels difficult to set time aside for a workout, you can incorporate
any type of movement in your day. You can do that by choosing to take the stairs instead of the
elevator, parking a bit further than where you’re heading to, taking the longer route to the
bathroom, and moving around the office during your lunchtime.
4- Prioritize downtime
Work stress can stem from working long hours and taking on more work than you are able to
handle. If you don’t make time for yourselves and your loved ones, this can quickly lead to
burnout. Prioritizing downtime looks a lot like closing your notifications after working hours,
keeping your phones out of reach when we are with loved ones, engaging in hobbies after your
work routine, and getting extra sleep when needed.
5- Be honest with your team
Prioritizing your downtime will need to come hand in hand with being honest with your team.
It’s crucial for you to communicate your needs to others in your team, so you can be clear about
your expectations of them and their expectations of you. It’s not stemming from complaints but
from a place of working towards improving your mental health.
- What is my main stressor?
- Am I too consumed by work to the degree that it’s impacting my relationships with
friends and family?
- Is there a colleague I need to draw boundaries with?
- Do I take on more work than I can handle?