It’s that feeling as soon as you leave for work in the morning to the moment you get home in the evening: the thought of piles of projects and approaching deadlines; of having to please clients and avoid cash shortfalls; of hassles, frustrations and demands that cause constant aches on your body and overwhelm your mind. We have all experienced it, and stress is increasingly becoming an epidemic in the work environment.
There are many triggers that contribute to stress. For example, you probably feel stressed at work if you have to rely on others to complete a project. This lack of control creates feelings of anxiety and worry. Or maybe you have a hard time saying no to additional responsibilities. Eventually, you have accumulated too many tasks that you’re pulling your hair out and working extra long hours to get everything accomplished. Stress can also result from a lack of job satisfaction, where you don’t take pride in what you do. With so many factors contributing to stress in the workplace, it is important to be aware of what these are so you can better control your emotional and physical well-being.
While some workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can interfere with all areas of your life, including productivity, self-esteem, health concerns, relationship and family issues, and even result in serious emotional problems such as anxiety and depression. Your ability to deal with stress can mean the difference between success and failure. Although it sometimes seems like there is nothing you can do about the increasing stressful environment, you actually have more control than you think. In fact, the foundation of positive stress management is realizing that you DO have the ability to control it. You can protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking charge-of your thoughts, emotions, schedule and the way you deal with problems-to reduce its harmful effects. So, stop pulling out your hair, unclench your fists, take a deep breath and follow these simple tips:
- Identify and tackle your stress triggers: For a week or two, record the situations, events and people who cause you to have a negative physical, mental or emotional response. Once you’ve identified your stress triggers, consider each situation or event and look for ways to resolve it.
- Communicate: Speak up calmly and diplomatically if you have too much to handle. Role-play with a friend/spouse and practice saying NO, so when job demands are too unreasonable, you are willing and able to decline additional projects.
- Practice time management: Make to-do lists and prioritize your work. Schedule enough time to complete each task or project and leave gaps in your day for a quick 5-minute walk outside and enough time to eat lunch. Don’t forget to allow extra time to travel to and from meetings and for short breaks between conference calls so you are not feeling rushed.
- Plan and prepare: Get started on major projects as early as possible. Set mini-deadlines for yourself to avoid leaving big, complicated projects until the last minute. Try to anticipate problems in advance and work to prevent them.
- Set boundaries: Maintain a good balance of work/personal life and maximize (and enjoy) your time off. Try not to bring work home with you and resist the need to check your work email or voicemail after hours.
- Learn and practice mindfulness: Meditative tools like yoga, breath awareness and other mindfulness-based practices can support your efforts to reduce and manage the stress response. Spa Gregorie’s new state-of-the-art “Meditation Stations”, found in our quiet relaxation rooms, provide the opportunity to calm your mind and re-focus by practicing your own personal meditation.
And most important of all:
- Take care of yourself: Make your health and well-being a priority. Eat well, exercise regularly and surround yourself with people and environments that contribute toward the best you. One of the best ways to take care of you and reduce on-going stress is by receiving regular wellness treatments. Not only does Spa Gregorie’s provide a calm and tranquil atmosphere to help soothe and conquer any stress-filled day, but regular spa treatments such as massage and hydrotherapy can improve your overall health. Massage helps to improve the quality of your sleep, to prevent fatigue and provide energy to handle the stress of the next day. Studies have also shown that receiving a massage can significantly lower heart rate and crotisol and insulin levels-all of which help reduce stress. A hydrotherapy soak reduces stress-related illnesses that can cause a wide range of physical and psychological problems, such as high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
A completely stress-free workplace may not be realistic, but you can take actions to reduce any unhealthy levels of stress in your life. Remember that you have control of your well-being and it starts by taking little steps.