Do you have a heavy workload? Have you ever had a physical reaction at work, such as bad stomach aches or headaches before coming in each day? Have there even been times when your heart rate might increase or your breathing quickens?
If so, it might be because your body went into fight-or-flight response due to work stress.
While it can feel overwhelming, work stress can be addressed successfully using the methods discussed below. Read on to learn about stress management techniques, and the role that online therapy can play in the management of your mental health.
How Does Stress Show Up At Work?
Many people might respond to a stressful situation by working steadily until they finish all the work before them, perhaps out of fear of losing their jobs. Other people might deal with it by backing down and retreating. Regardless of what kind of job you have, it can be vitally important to manage stress on and off the job.
Stress Can Affect Your Mental Health And Wellbeing
If you’ve ever paid attention to your body when you’re stressed or afraid, you may have noticed some physical changes that become noticeable. That may be because stress and fear can have a purpose in our biological imperative of survival.
There can be a disconnect, however, when we are reacting to survival instincts when there is no need to do so. For example: When we experience intense emotions, our bodies can give off a surge of energy. Sometimes the surge is so strong that it can cause us to go into a state of fight-or-flight, even if we are not in grave danger—we may simply be experiencing a bout of work stress.
Stress at work that’s constant can lead you down a path of burnout. The warning signs of occupational burnout can include overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism and having a sense of inefficacy.
Burnout can come about in a seemingly innocent way, sneaking up on you even in moments of perceived calm. For example: When you enter your work, knowing that you have more work than you can complete for the day, stress can begin to build before you even enter the facility. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as in the case that you have an overbearing boss, or an overwhelming workload.
Tensions can also occur in the workplace when there is an environment of disrespect or unfairness among co-workers. Those tensions can build further if there are incidents or threats of sexual, physical or verbal harassment.
Physical Symptoms Of Stress
Stress at work can manifest in a range of physical symptoms. High levels of work stress, (along with the everyday pressures in other areas of your life) can compound the effects of physical and mental stress.
Severe stress that occurs repeatedly can disrupt your immune system and increase the potential for developing autoimmune disorders, and heart problems, and can bring on Alzheimer’s disease. Not sure if stress could be the underlying cause of your symptoms? You may take a moment to consider what your life was like before you became inundated with stress at work. If you ate a healthy diet, exercised regularly, and slept well and all that has changed, it might be time to figure out how to manage stress better—as it may be taking root in your everyday health and lifestyle. A few changes in your routine can be just what you need to alleviate harmful stress.
How To Manage Stress At Work
In many cases, it can be possible to learn how to manage stress at work. Many stress-reducing strategies cost little or nothing, and they’re often things you can do right at home or even while you’re at work. We’ve summarized a few strategies for your convenience below:
Guided relaxation can be a good way to combat stress at work. If you’re interested in therapy, this is something that therapists might also often use in conjunction with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Progressive muscle relaxation is generally known as a process that takes you through alternating tensing and relaxing of each muscle group while focusing on relaxing thoughts. Just a short session can help many to feel rejuvenated and recharged.
Logical problem-solving can be especially helpful for those who believe that they are naturally skilled at problem-solving. Using this method, you can try to narrow down the issue that’s causing you the most stress and brainstorm potential solutions. You can then rank your solutions from best to worst and come up with an action plan for reducing stress.
Mindfulness or guided meditation is also becoming a popular way for many to reduce everyday stressors. Practicing mindfulness is an experience that is defined by many as an activity through which you can pay attention to the current moment and your thoughts with curiosity, openness, and acceptance.
By truly feeling and experiencing the current moment, you can reduce worries about the past and future without engaging in negative self-talk.
The APA notes that several studies are thought to currently highlight the benefits of mindfulness. Mindfulness can help to reduce stress, boost your working memory, reduce rumination, increase your focus, improve your relationships, and increase your cognitive function.
Your ability to practice mindfulness can improve with practice. Essentially, mindfulness can train your brain to break harmful habits. It can be fairly easy to find books, articles, apps and videos on mindfulness, and many of them are free. These can be helpful resources to reference as you continue your journey in mindfulness.
Reframing Negative Thought Patterns At Work Or At Home
Constant worry can be a byproduct of stress at work, which can cause you to view most situations through a negative lens. Reframing and reappraising negative thoughts are other strategies that can reduce the stress that may stem from your workplace.
The goal for most who choose to use reframing techniques is to successfully address negative or invasive thoughts as hypotheses rather than as facts. As stressful thoughts begin to enter your mind, you can then try to change your inner dialogue from how stressful the situation is to the fact that the situation is challenging—but it can present new opportunities for you to grow and learn. Reframing situations can help to shift your mindset and can help you approach the task with a fresh and renewed spirit.
As you begin to address stress in your life, it can be helpful to consider that work problems don’t have to be yours alone. Instead of tackling things completely on your own, it can be okay to ask for help once in a while. A pair of fresh eyes on a tough issue may be just what you need to reduce stress and make progress. Additionally, working together as a team can improve your collaboration skills and may improve the morale of your teammates as well as your own.
How Can Online Therapy Help Those Who Are Experiencing Stress At Work?
People experiencing stress at work may not believe that they can leave for any reason. This can lead to stunted emotional growth and burnout over time.
If you are concerned about taking time off work to go to an in-person session, then online therapy may be the solution. You can log onto a session while you’re in your own office, from home, or from anywhere else with an internet connection. This can reduce several possible barriers to entry that may be harming stressed-out employees and team mates over time.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
A licensed online therapist can be an effective resource for helping you work through things when times get tough. Several clinical studies have shown that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy when it comes to treating anxiety disorders, as well as a wide array of other mental health conditions that can be caused by work stress.
How do you handle stress during work?
You can handle stress during work in various ways. For example, deep breathing exercises for a few minutes may help provide immediate relief. Some people may find that organizing their workspace to minimize distractions and create a comfortable environment can help manage stress. If stress becomes overwhelming, consider reaching out to an employee assistance program for professional support.
How can I reduce stress and tension?
You may be able to reduce stress and tension through different mental and physical strategies. Many find regular physical activity boosts their well-being and helps alleviate chronic stress. A balance between work and personal life can also help manage excessive stress. In your home life, you may find that relaxing activities or spending time with family members is helpful.
Why is it important to reduce stress at work?
Reducing stress at work can be important for overall physical health and preventing mental health problems. Chronic stress can lead to negative effects like burnout, high blood pressure, and decreased productivity. A comfortable work environment may help improve overall job satisfaction and work performance, even in stressful situations.
How do you handle pressure?
Everyone experiences and manages stress differently, so the most appropriate approach can vary depending on what works best for you. In general, you may be able to handle pressure by actively staying calm and managing your time. You may find that avoiding judgmental self-talk and breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable steps can be useful.
How can I perform better at work?
Prioritizing the most important tasks and setting realistic goals can often help boost work performance. You may also want to stay organized in your physical workspace and ask for support or clarification when needed. A healthy work-life balance and positive attitude can also help prevent burnout and maintain your emotional health.
What is the first step in managing stress?
The first step in managing stress is to recognize what is causing the stress, whether in your work environment or personal life. Knowing what might be triggering your stress can help you develop a plan to manage the stress more effectively. Depending on what’s causing the stress, you can then make changes to your lifestyle, find support from a therapist, or use stress-reduction techniques, among other strategies.
How to relax your mind?
Calming activities, such as reading, listening to music, or practicing mindfulness meditation, may help relax your mind. Breathing and relaxation exercises can also help calm your mind, especially in moments of high stress. In addition, adequate sleep is important, as sleep disturbances can often worsen stress.
How do I calm my anxiety in the moment?
If you’re experiencing anxiety at a given moment, you can try focusing on your breath and being mindful of your surroundings. This type of focus can help bring your attention to the present, which may help calm the anxiety. It may also be helpful to remind yourself that anxiety is a temporary feeling and will eventually pass.
How can I relax after work?
Everyone may relax in different ways after work. However, relaxing after work typically involves activities that you enjoy and that separate you from your workday. Exercise like walking or yoga may help release the tension built up during the day. After work, you might create a relaxing routine, like reading or a warm bath, to signal your body that it's time to wind down.
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