How To Deal With Work-Related Stress
Stress in the workplace is a common concern, but it comes with a lot of consequences. It’s important to know how to deal with work-related stress to protect your mental and physical well-being as well as the longevity and success of your career. So, what exactly are the consequences of stress at work, and how do you deal with it?
Consequences Of Stress At Work
First, let’s cover some of the known potential consequences of workplace stress:
- Physical health detriments, which include but aren’t limited to long-term effects such as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and short-term effects such as sleep disturbance and gastrointestinal distress.
- Mental health detriments, which include but aren’t limited to higher rates of anxiety, substance use disorders, and depression.
- A loss of productivity, increased turnover rates, and absenteeism.
Many of the negative consequences of stress in the workplace act as a cycle. For example, someone may lack sleep due to workplace stress and being overwhelmed with tasks, which may impact the quality of their work in turn. The more ongoing stress in the workplace is, the worse the consequences. The good news is that it’s not a lost cause and that there are things you can do to manage your stress in the workplace.
Actionable Steps For Workplace Stress
Here are some ways to deal with work-related stress:
- Prioritize rest: It is imperative to get an adequate amount of sleep at night. Research shows that missing even 1 to 2 hours of sleep puts you at a higher risk of getting into a car accident, and it has a number of negative impacts on your cognition and mental health. Lack of sleep is associated with anxiety, depression, irritability, loneliness, and other mental health related consequences. With this in mind, making sure to prioritize getting enough sleep each night can help you feel better overall and navigate stressors in the workplace and in your daily life.
- Use your resources: Some workplaces have more resources available to their employees than others, and that is certainly something to acknowledge. If you have a boss that you can talk to, an employee assistance program that covers mental health support, or any other similar resources at hand, use them. Additionally, know your rights in the workplace, and make sure they are all in place. An example of this is making sure that you do indeed get the legally required amount of breaks while on the job.
- Establish a work-life balance: If you are the type of person who tends to take your stressors from work home at the end of the day, or if you work from home and have trouble disengaging at the end of the workday, prioritize working on building a work-life balance. This may mean looking at your schedule and actively implementing time for self-care activities, looking at where you overextend yourself in the workplace and changing it, or something else.
- Nurture your social relationships: Social support is an essential part of our mental and physical well-being, and the research is there to prove it. Make sure to reach out to your support system and make it a point to set aside quality time for those you care about. If you are working on building a better work-life balance for yourself, this may be a part of it.
- Focus on what is in your control vs. what isn’t: You may not be able to control your boss’s reaction or a customer’s reaction, but you can control the way you navigate things. Of course, this does not mean that you shouldn’t speak up or reach out when something’s wrong. Instead, it means using skills such as positive self-talk (saying to yourself, “my best is enough,” “all I can do is all I can do,” “this is not a reflection of me,” and so on) and implementing stress relief methods into your life, whether that is yoga, meditation, tech-free walks outside, or something else. You won’t be able to control other people, but you can take a proactive approach by doing the best thing that you can for your personal situation.
Therapy can help you cope with stress and navigate a number of life stressors, including those related to work. Whether you were seeking help for workplace stress or something else, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional. You can find a therapist by contacting your insurance company and seeing who they cover, asking your doctor for a referral, searching the web for a provider in your area, or signing up for an online therapy website like MyTherapist. Online therapy is often more affordable than traditional in-person counseling or therapy is in the absence of insurance, and that makes it easier and faster to find a mental health professional that works for you. Regardless of if you seek help online or in person, you deserve to get the support that you need and combat workplace stress.
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