Job stress is a fact of life. Whether you love your job or aren’t so happy with it, all jobs create some degree of stress, at least periodically. While it’s rarely possible to eliminate job stress completely, there are many things you can do to help reduce and manage the amount of stress you deal with every day on the job.
Unmanaged job stress is a common health complaint, and work is often ranked as a higher stressor than financial troubles and family problems, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Many employees and small business owners experience stress due to heavy workloads, pressure to perform and conflicts with co-workers. Knowing this, here are some of the things you should know about stress and some of the things you can do to keep your job stress at a manageable level.
Acknowledge Job Stress
Look out for early symptoms of stress and take steps to relieve them quickly. If you let them go unchecked, these symptoms can develop into more serious health complications, such as heart problems, depression and anxiety. Be wary of the following stress symptoms:
- Apathy or loss of interest in work or other activities
- Back pain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased errors
- Insomnia or fatigue
- Job dissatisfaction
- Muscle tensions or headaches
- Short temper
- Social withdrawal
- Trouble concentrating
- Upset stomach
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope
Focus on Your Personal Life
Part of successful stress management is being able to balance your work with a personal life. All work and no play not only makes “Johnny a dull boy” is also increases the potential for job stress and stress-related problems.
- Make time for friends and family, as spending time with those you love will help you unwind.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, eat well and sleep at least eight hours a night.
- Spend time on outside hobbies, interests or passions. This will help you detach from the work environment and reduce your stress.
- Leave work at the office. While there may be occasional emergencies, break yourself of the habit of taking additional work home with you to complete in evenings and weekends. Separating your home and work life can significantly reduce stress.
Changing the way you work can help to relieve some sources of stress. Consider these tips:
- Begin with your most important or pressing tasks. Concentrate on other tasks only when you have finished. Set realistic deadlines and recognize when a project is taking longer or not progressing as expected, so you can adjust accordingly.
- Make sure you are clear about the definition of your role and responsibilities. Ask your supervisor if you have any doubt.
- Stay organized. A clean office can often give you more clarity.
- Anticipate possible disagreements with co-workers and plan how you will calmly deal with them.
- Take planned breaks. Working through breaks and lunches can increase fatigue and errors, increasing stress. Taking a regular break and leaving your workstation for a healthy snack or lunch, to go outside for fresh air, take a short walk or do some stretching to relieve muscle tension can all help relieve stress and keep you on top of your game.
- Some jobs tend to require employees to be more detail-oriented than others, causing stress to intensify when dealing with a frustrating problem. Walking away for five minutes, a lunch hour, or until the next work day is sometimes what it takes to clear your head and eventually solve the problem. When you come back you may have the new perspective you need to find a solution
Reassess your working environment. If the stressors of your current position are too much for you, consider transferring to another department of the facility. Talk to your supervisor or HR department to discuss resources available and ways they can help you combat stressors in your specific situation.
There are many factors that contribute to job stress. When you face impending deadlines, demanding tasks and challenging goals, you may begin to feel overwhelmed. When you do not take steps to address stress, it may develop into a more serious health condition.
Learn to recognize your symptoms of stress and take steps to manage them before they make you ill or create other problems for you. Learning to recognize, manage and control your job stress will increase your work satisfaction, your life satisfaction and your health.
For more information and resources on controlling and managing job stress, contact your Roper Insurance account executive today at 303-721-1145.