Stress is a part of everyday life. Before you can effectively deal with workplace stress, however, it’s essential to know what workplace stress is.
“Workplace stress refers to the numerous pressures that are applied to the workplace environment by managers and co-workers,” says John A. Challenger , president and CEO of workplace consultancy firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. “These pressures may not be extreme enough to cause physical injury or immediate illness—but they are often intense enough to make us uncomfortable.”
The workplace is an obvious source of stress for many Americans because it factors heavily into their daily lives. For example, one study found that 59% of respondents experienced strain in their relationship with their spouse or significant other due to work-related demands, and 38% said workplace stress contributed to their decision to end a relationship.
Employee assistance programs (EAPs) provide resources for workplace stress management. Whether you’re facing high-pressure workplace demands, maintaining your composure during stressful situations, or recovering from an episode of job burnout, the professionals at an EAP are there to help. Professional counselors can give you insight on how stress is affecting your life, whether it’s positive or negative, so you can learn how to manage workplace stress better in the future.
“When employees are able to self-identify workplace stressors early enough in their development, they are more likely to take advantage of workplace coping mechanisms that could relieve the issue before it causes undue distress,” says Corinne Peek-Asa, director of the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of Iowa. “Making workplace stress visible is key to its successful management.”
The workplace can be a source of inspiration, creativity, and motivation. Workplace stress arises when workplace demands or other stressors begin to outweigh workplace resources available for dealing with them. It’s important to learn your way around workplace stress, so you know how to cope during challenging times.
Here are seven ways you can keep your cool at work:
1. Monitor workplace stress causes
Keep an eye out for common sources of workplace stress that often go ignored.
2. Create healthy boundaries between work and family life
Build in time during each day to break away from work.
3. Get organized
Use planning techniques, like setting goals and delegating tasks to stay on top of workplace stress.
4. Relax your mind
Unplug from work when you get home by listening to music or reading.
5. Practice smart time-management skills at work
These include prioritizing, organizing tasks into action plans, and following up.
6. Find workplace stress relief activities that suit your interests
The more you enjoy the activity, the longer you’re likely to stick with it.
7. Maintain a positive attitude about workplace stressors
Workplace stress is not entirely negative; in some situations, it can motivate us to change our workplace situation for the better.