At some point or another, anyone with a job has been exposed to work-related stress. It doesn’t matter how much you love your job or what you do, there is always a pressure to deliver results or engage with a client or coworker that can try your patience.
Many people can deal with stress rather well on a short-term basis, but chronic exposure to stress can be overwhelming, as well as both physically and emotionally damaging.
Sources of Work-related Stress
The environment where you work can be a source of stress, but so can the morning and evening traffic commute to get there. There are several common sources of work-related stress. Low salaries can contribute to financial strain at home and low morale at the office. Excessive workloads complicated by team members that don’t seem to pull their weight are taxing both mentally and physically.
Dead-end jobs or feelings of little hope for advancement or promotion can lead to unhappiness and lack of fulfillment, just as can menial work that doesn’t engage or challenge the mind. In spite of a work environment where you are surrounded by people, it can be socially isolating to sit confined to a desk or on a phone with unhappy customers or without a chance to productively engage with another.
Confusion over instructions or unclear expectations can have you in a constant state of doubt or anxiety. A lack of autonomy or the feeling that you are being micromanaged can impact productivity, and therefore hurt your self-confidence and sense of control.
The Effects of Stress
Even though you may leave the office at the end of the day, for most people, the stress goes home right along with them. If stress isn’t dealt with in a healthy and productive way, it can have an impact on your health. Many people experience headaches, or more severely, migraines when feelings of stress and being overwhelmed start to creep up. Mood disturbances, such as short tempers, depression, and anxiety, are common, as are insomnia and interrupted sleep patterns.
Chronic stress has been linked to a weakened immune system and a higher risk of developing heart disease, obesity, and mental health issues. Poor coping strategies lead to unhealthy diets, substance abuse, and potentially suicide for those who have severe issues with depression.
The Ways to Manage Stress
There are productive ways to manage stress, reducing your risk of poor physical or mental health. Don’t feel like you are the only one that deals with stress, either. Many know exactly how you are feeling and have found the following ways useful in addressing stressful situations.
- Develop a Healthy Diet: Balanced nutrition, whether through healthy meals or supplements like liposomal vitamin C, gives your body the strength it needs to fight off the symptoms of stress.
- Create Time for Exercise: When you exercise, your body releases chemicals and hormones that combat the chemicals released by stress responses. Walking, jogging, or yoga can be ways to give your body the activity it needs to produce more endorphins.
- Identify Your Stressors: You can probably identify which coworkers cause you the most stress or which traffic route has you frustrated and overwhelmed on your commute. By isolating the stressors in your life, you can proactively learn to adapt to the situation or come up with an alternative to avoid it altogether. Track your responses to your stressors and develop a list of better responses that you can start to incorporate or work on.
- Create Boundaries: You need to learn to say “no” and prioritize your needs. You don’t have to take on every extra project. Decide where you can be better about setting boundaries to avoid being pulled in too many directions.
Don’t let stress ruin your health. Take proactive steps to address and manage your stress responses.