Whether it's simply because of a heavy workload, long hours or the working environment (and people!) around you, we can all, at times, feel that workplace stress is getting on top of us. If you take the right actions to handle it, however, then it is far less likely that things will escalate, and you can reduce your stress levels in no time at all. Here are my top tips to manage workplace stress.
1. Make a to-do List
When you feel that you just have too many things to do and too short a time to do them in, then make a detailed to-do list so you can easily see the tasks you have in hand. It will all be much less daunting when you have it set out clearly in front of you, rather than feeling overwhelmed by different bits of paper and a tonne of emails, and you can even tick things off as you go along and count your achievements, which will help to keep you motivated. Setting out a list can also help you prioritise tasks if it is simply impossible to get everything done to. Good standard on time.
2. Improve Your Working Environment
If you work from home, make sure you have created a peaceful, but business-like space to work in. It sounds obvious, but if you have the right mindset when you start work then you will achieve so much more. If you are parenting while working, and finding this stressful, invest in daycare if you can afford it. This does not have to be full-time: it could be a couple of hours a day, or maybe one full day a week when you are guaranteed peace and quiet.
If you work outside of the home it can be a little harder, but smaller businesses will probably be quite receptive to you making some minor changes to an office or even retail environment. Ask if you can bring some flowers and plants if that's your thing, or maybe rearrange the furniture a little. In, for example, a large, open-plan office, you can see if you can listen to some music on an MP3 player as you work. This won't distract anyone else and can help to block out unwanted distractions. Whether this is possible, however, does depend on your line of work.
3. Speak to Your Manager
Many of us would not want to approach a manager to admit that we are feeling just a little too stressed, for fear of how they may react, or that we wouldn't be taken seriously. However, most managers will appreciate your honesty, and they would much prefer you to be honest straight away so that measures can be taken to help you than allow you to carry on as normal until you have a full break down and have to take a lot of leave. Your manager is not a mind-reader: they will probably have no idea how you’re feeling unless you tell them. If you are unlucky enough to have a manager who is not very understanding, at least you will have the satisfaction that you have done what you can to help and if the worst comes to the worst and you end up taking sick leave, you know it isn't your fault!
4. Be Sociable
You know that you shouldn't chat all day when you should be working, but having a quick chat while you're waiting for some photocopying to finish and even a good natter over lunch is a great stress reliever. If you have friends at your workplace, you are less likely to get that feeling of dread when you wake up on a Monday morning.