If you have ever felt stressed, anxious, or tense because of your job, you are not alone. Workplace stress is often placed around the idea: the busier and more stressed you are, the more important and valuable you seem. But in reality, stress is one of the greatest public health challenges that everyone is facing.
As a matter of fact, since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, workplace stress has been steadily increasing, and the number of individuals who live a stressful life is only increasing.
While some levels of stress can be motivating and can help us reach our goals, excessive and chronic stress can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health as well as our productivity and job satisfaction.
Let’s understand the causes of work stress and how to manage them effectively.
Common Causes of Workplace Stress
Stress is our natural response to things that our mind finds challenging or threatening, and stress is something that we all feel from time to time. There are plenty of reasons to feel stressed, as life is filled with stress, both personal and professional.
Work-related stress is the stress that people experience because of their job or occupation, and it is something that employees in any industry or field can experience. When we consider the UK alone, there are millions of people who suffer high levels of stress, but it is often overlooked in comparison to any physical health concerns.
There are many different factors that contribute to stress in the workplace. A few of the most common reasons for work-related stress include:
- Having too many responsibilities in your job role.
- There is an increase in your regular workload.
- You are experiencing situations you have no control over.
- Getting the work done and stressing about the final result.
- Experiencing discrimination (favoritism by employers) at work.
- Fear of losing one’s job or being unable to find new employment can lead to anxiety or stress, which can ultimately impact the person’s ability to perform their job effectively.
These factors can make it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance and can leave individuals feeling overwhelmed and burned out.
How to Manage Work Related Stress
There are several strategies an individual can use to manage work related stress effectively, and a few of them are:
- Prioritizing Self care: Taking care of your mental and physical health is essential to managing work stress. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and practice stress reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
- Setting realistic yet achievable goals: Trying to accomplish too much in a short amount of time can lead to feelings of overwhelm and stress. Set realistic goals for yourself and break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
- Communicate effectively: Communicating with colleagues and supervisors about workload, deadlines, and expectations can help reduce stress and avoid misunderstandings. Additionally, communicating boundaries and expectations with coworkers can help avoid conflicts.
- Taking breaks that matter: Taking regular breaks throughout the day can help reduce stress and increase productivity. Take advantage of breaks to engage in rejuvenating activities like walking, reading, or listening to music.
- Connecting with others: If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be shy; reach out to your manager and let them know how it is affecting you. Additionally, in many workplaces, there are employee assistance programs that can provide resources and support for managing stress.
Many employees all around the globe are feeling the effects of workplace stress, and it is no surprise that more people than ever are experiencing conditions like burnout and other mental health effects such as depression and sudden emotion bursts.
It is no surprise that almost half of the workforce has considered a job change as a result of work related stress. Personally, I have been part of startups that were filled with toxic people and toxic cultures. I was expected to sit at the cubicle and work for 9 hours straight, and any moment I reported being late to work, I was warned of the consequences it could have on my salary. I was exhausted working at a place like that where minor mistakes have major consequences, and they expected me to work like a robot. It took some time to gather up the courage to quit the job, but it was the best decision of my life.
We have to start holding companies accountable for their toxic work culture if we want to change the way that our jobs and careers affect our mental and physical health. The companies are solely responsible for the rude behavior of the managers towards the employees or any other inappropriate rules that force us to work like machines.
Lastly, when workplace stress levels do start mounting, we owe it to ourselves to take a step back and take care of our own mental and physical health whenever and however possible.