Written by: Arthur Karp, M.Ed., Psychotherapist, Capital Choice Counselling Group
The struggle with workplace stress is a costly one. Workplace stress, difficult employees, constant deadlines, and burnout are all very real experiences that many people struggle with. They report a feeling of spiralling out of control, overwhelmed with completing what normally was a minor task, and fears of not meeting a boss’s expectations and of staff layoffs in an uncertain economy. Workplace stress is ultimately what happens when there is escalating conflict existing between what the job demands of us and the diminishing sense of control we may exercise over meeting those demands, thus ensuring workplace stress remains a hot topic. Reported absences due to medical stress leave is on the rise in
recent years and hugely impacts everyone. One third of our day is spent at work and 60% are reported to be unhappy in their jobs.
We are informed of the need for good work-life balance in order to effectively tackle workplace stress, yet the way to achieve it seems difficult. How can it not seem practically impossible to say no to considerable overtime as those rather daunting timelines emerge on a project being worked on? How will this be perceived by your co-workers and boss alike? Another contributing factor of workplace stress is the office gossip that for some is making life miserable. Who amongst us has not on occasion felt some perceived anxiousness or even a little paranoia due to the bullying tactics of a co-worker or boss?
Is there a solution for effectively coping with this chronic problem of workplace stress? Here are some tips that other people have found helpful in managing their stress at work.
- 1) Attempt to control only what you can, and let go of the rest. Make a list of what is truly in your control to help you create a boundary for yourself.
- 2) Practice more list making at the start of your day and prioritize your tasks. What can wait and what can’t? Start first with the high priority items.
- 3) Practice saying no to unrealistic expectations and deadlines.
- 4) Eliminate unnecessary interruptions.
- 5) Exercise and eat well – you’ll be amazed at how your eating and activity habits can help with clarity and focus at work, as well as managing stress.
- 6) Take several deep, calming breaths before tackling a heavy project or facing workplace conflict.
If you find that even with these tips that workplace stress is overwhelming you, counselling through programs such as the Management Assistance Program can be helpful. We can all benefit in this constant battle with workplace stress from learning ways of disconnecting from workplace demands and technology and becoming more present with your immediate surroundings.
Arthur Karp, M.Ed., Psychotherapist, Capital Choice Counselling Group, view his profile here.