Stress in the Workplace

With ‘Stress Awareness Day’ on Wednesday and stress in the workplace reportedly on the increase some tips and hints to help you reduce your stress levels.

  1. Identify the issue. Reportedly, although it’s supposed to be helping us all be more effective and efficient, technology and the number of platforms we are required to work across can in fact be contributing to increased stress rather than reducing it. If you are finding managing multiple devices, applications and communication methods stressful, let your manager know this. Ask them for help to prioritise the technology platforms for you to focus on for a short time. This approach might enable improved proficiency on some key platforms to enable your more bandwidth to expand on to others confidently at a later date.
  2. Make a deal with yourself. What about a promise that you can give 100% at work only when you give 100% to your personal time and family commitments. Then focus on re-striking the balance. Oftentimes guilt for not spending time with family or lack of time to yourself to go to the gym or self-indulge can increase stress levels and have a detrimental effect your sense of well-being.
  3. Look at what you need to be more effective at work. Are you doing tasks that you are not good at and/or don’t enjoy? Often this can cause stress. Is there someone better in your team that can do this for you and you do some of their tasks instead? Best to discuss any finalised or trial period with your manager so they know what you are proposing. However, this tactic can relief stress quickly, demonstrate you are solutions orientated and improve team working all at the same time.
  4. Be disciplined. Switch off the work mobile out of hours. You can notify key people that you are going to do this, even if you have never done this before and spell out to these key people that you won’t be checking emails, or Slack or voicemails or whatever your key stressor might be. Do the old fashioned thing and nominate someone to take charge if you need.
  5. If the above point ‘stresses you out’ take a step back. This could be highlighting one of your biggest problems contributing to your stress. If you don’t have a colleague or subordinate you trust to ‘take on the mantel’ in your absence you need to flag this and/or do something about it. It could be training an individual to enable you to hand over work confidently or recruiting a new person or finding an alternative back up plan.
  6. Even if you don’t believe you are seriously ‘stressed’ often a career counsellor can help you re-evaluate your priorities, identify any blockers and help you learn more about your own work style strengths and weaknesses.
  7. Download an app for destressing… There are many apps available now that incorporate mindfulness to help you de-stress and relax.
  8. Book a massage and some ‘me’ time or whatever floats your boat. When you feel relaxed you will be most able to make resolutions that might help you address the stressors in your life longer term.
  9. Go for a walk in the woods. The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.
  10. As Julia Roberts’ character discovers in her Italian leg in the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ based on the novel by Elizabeth Gilbert, the Italians have a concept known as “La Dolce Far Niente,” . This expression mean, ‘the sweetness of doing nothing’. Get comfortable with the calmness of doing nothing and schedule this in to your weekend. Sit in your gownie or robe (it feels even more liberating) with no phone and do nothing or at most watch your children play, your partner read, your kettle boil.

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conflict at work