Stress is a feeling we experience throughout our day-to-day lives. You might think to yourself, “that’s life.” People often become used to it or thrive in stressful situations, but too much stress isn’t good for anyone. Instead of settling and telling yourself, “this is just how it is,” there are simple ways to combat how work triggers stress in our lives.
Let’s look at everyday stressful work situations and practical strategies to manage them.
Stressful Work Scenarios
Many things can cause stress in our workplace environments. For some, it’s an everyday occurrence, while for others, it’s a slow build-up. Mental health is heavily impacted by work-related stress and often bleeds into our personal lives. Working from home has further blurred the lines between our personal and work lives. There are plenty of benefits that come with working from the comfort of your own home, but they aren’t without their situational cons.
So what are some things that can cause us stress? Let’s take a look.
Stressful Situation: Long Work Hours
Many employers expect their workers to complete tasks to meet multiple deadlines with tight time constraints; this can involve longer working hours or mandatory overtime, leading to excessive tiredness, fatigue, and lack of attentiveness.
Solution: Focus your attention.
If you know you have a lot of work on your plate, working with as little distraction as possible is key to meeting your deadlines. Turn off your notifications or those that are least important. You can also let coworkers know you’re busy and need concentration to focus on your schedule. If your job doesn’t involve scrolling through Twitter or Instagram (We see you social media managers!), avoid internet distractions that will make your day longer.
Stressful Situation: Excessive Workloads & Tight Deadlines
Companies and Employers may enforce heavier workloads to increase productivity when meeting quotas, especially during peak seasons.
Employees often find themselves burdened with deadlines that are overwhelming for a single individual; this can cause the team and other employees to worry about being reprimanded by upper management for not completing a task on time; which can lead to working unpaid overtime.
This practice often leads to employees feeling burnout, increased absences, higher employee turnover, and disillusionment.
Solution: Work on staying organized, delegate and asking for help to prevent burnout.
Effective time management can decrease your stress by planning out your schedule for the day. Take some time to make a calendar of things you intend to get done in order of highest priority to lowest priority.
Working late nights at the office? If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed at work with unrelenting tasks, it may be time to ask for assistance. Sometimes it’s better to bite the bullet and have your team, coworker, or boss step in to lend a hand rather than drown in piles of work. Let them know if you are overwhelmed, there’s always a solution to a situation, whether it be sharing the workload or prioritizing responsibilities.
Learn the signs of burnout to avoid putting yourself at risk; you need just as much time as anyone else to recharge.
Stressful situation: Workplace Inequity
Discrimination can occur in the workplace amongst employees. This discrimination can include gender, age, class, ethnicity, religion, and more.
Your employer may also show favouritism towards specific employees while treating others unfairly. This can discourage staff and breach trust amongst a team.
Solution: Seek support, know your rights, and take action.
If you are a victim of discrimination in the workplace or are a witness to it, there are actions that you and your allies can take against it. There are laws and regulations put into place to fight and reprimand actions of discrimination and harassment that impact your rights as a worker.
Stressful situation: Job Insecurity
Unfortunately, we’re much less likely to enjoy the decades of job security offered to previous generations of workers, and many employees find their positions potentially threatened. Layoffs can happen to the best of employees when they are least expected.
Solution: Prepare yourself for career uncertainty.
You can reduce the anxiety of job insecurity by being prepared for potential layoffs. Keep your network active, never let it go stale. A connection could help you back into a working position immediately after losing your job.
You should always keep your professional profiles like LinkedIn up-to-date so that you have a higher chance of being picked up by a potential employer. Another key strategy is to broaden your skills so that you become more of an asset to your company. This makes it harder for them to let you go.
Stressful situation: Working from Home
Of course, you love your kids! But working from home can bring some stressful scenarios. Those little ones might make work seem like a zoo, especially when they realize mommy and daddy are always home. Zoom calls end up turning into comedy shows, which is something you want to avoid if your boss is on the call. Parents working from home with kids have to cope with the demands of trying to entertain and educate their children while also holding down a job.
Overall physical and mental health can deteriorate when working from home; this can be due to fewer social interactions, decreased physical activity and structured breaks like a lunch hour.
Mental health is vital to your overall well-being and should be treated as such. Workers struggling with mental health are becoming more common. While you may find yourself stressed from work, you’ll be happy to know there are solutions to these problems.
Solution: Add healthy habits into your WFH routine.
Incorporate physical activities into your routine to improve your physical well-being. Practice yoga poses and stretches to release tension in your body and improve your overall physical health.
If you have a job where you are sitting all day, there are exercises you can perform with just your chair! Try doing planks, running on the spot, or even chair squats. You don’t need to go to a gym to work out, you can do exercises on your very own floor. Sit-ups, push-ups, etc. are great ways to keep in shape at home.
Set up your environment to promote Well-being and productivity and use proven strategies to balance your work and family life.
Always remember to eat! Don’t let work distract you from eating properly. Nutrition is important for your body and overall health. This will help you work more effectively and keep your brain active. Create a schedule that includes taking small breaks to eat something healthy and avoid foods that increase your stress like extra servings of caffeine and sugary treats.
Solution: Prepare for a Productive Workday
When getting ready for the day, set yourself up with a scheduled routine before you start working. Give yourself enough time to get mentally prepared for the day ahead. Whether it’s a morning walk, making coffee, checking the news, or listening to music before checking your inbox, find something that will progressively bring your routine to your work, making the process of getting down to business quicker and easier.
Solution: Work in a More Colourful Space
Believe it or not, lighting can affect your overall mood (Get it? Mood lighting?).
Working under artificial light has made it harder to concentrate while working and can cause eye strain and headaches. Open your blinds, curtains, and windows, let some of that natural light in! Just like plants, we react better to natural lighting in our environment; this can be the perfect recipe to encourage growth and success in our workspace.
Stressful Situation: Balancing Work and Home Life
It can often be hard to manage your personal life from your work life. Working off-hours may seem great for catching up, but you’ll burn out much faster and resent your job. Bringing work home with you can also impact and put a strain on your relationships, whether it be with family or friends.
Solution: Create boundaries between your work and personal time.
If you notice things in your personal life are affecting your professional life, you may need to take some time off. Communicate with your team, and inform your boss what you’re going through so that they can understand the situation. It’s best to combat stressful situations so that your work is not impacted and production quality does not deteriorate.
Carefully scheduling your work and personal time has proven to be helpful when managing life balance. When it’s time to punch out, let that be your last call for work. Your time should be important to you, as that is your time to recharge.
Take the time after hours to relax and be with your friends and loved ones. This more often than not will alleviate stress not just for you, but also for them.
Your mental and physical health is essential. Proper self-care, time management, communication, and environmental awareness are important to ensure a solid work performance. Know when to take time off to recharge and enjoy a proper work-life balance to avoid dreading the start of each workday.
Make this your resolution to commit to heading into 2022. A New Year, a new you!