You know that feeling when your to-do list starts to get too long to do anything about? Not only do you have yesterday’s tasks you didn’t get to, but now you’re adding more things to your list. And they’re all important.
Without regularly stressing that stress with healthy coping skills, you’ll keep building up your mental, emotional, and physical to-do lists.
In this article, we’ll review the causes of workplace stress, along with ideas to address each of them.
Tips for Overcoming Workplace Stress
No one is a stranger to stress—especially workplace stress.
When it comes to finding ways to deal with stress, it’s important to note that it’s not stress that’s the problem. It’s chronic stress.
Chronic stress is your regular everyday stress that never gets dealt with.
In other words, it’s normal to feel a little pressure to do well on a project or to complete your work on time. It’s that extra push of stress that can keep you focused on what you need to be doing.
The problem comes when that little bit of stress is compounded daily. And when you jump from one slightly stressful environment to another, without any downtime or outlet for relaxing, that’s when stress becomes chronic.
What Are the Causes of Workplace Stress?
Below are some everyday stressors that people experience at work.
Mental Stress at Work
- Mental overstimulation and information overload
- Too much work or responsibilities to handle
- Lack of organization
- Lack of clarity
- Inability to focus
- Constant back-to-back meetings
- Frequent work interruptions
Emotional Stress at Work
- Poor relationships with coworkers, managers, or clients
- Negative self-talk
- Low sense of self-worth
Physical Stress at Work
- Repetitive motions
- Sitting/standing for long hours
- Impact of keyboard or mouse on wrists
- Heavy lifting
- Typical risk of injury depends on the nature of work
- Lack of sleep
How to Deal With Work Stress
Whether it’s mental, emotional, or purely physical stress, there are many ways to address workplace stress that touch on all three sources.
Studies show that a few minutes of meditation or mindful breathing techniques can cause a near-instant change in stress levels. These exercises are a great stress-reliever because they’re free and don’t require any supplies.
A 15-minute chair massage can profoundly affect stress as well. This includes the physical discomfort of tight muscles and desk job pain as well as the mental and emotional stress of feeling overwhelmed.
Related: The Benefits of Massage
Taking a walk (outside if possible) is another excellent way to hit the reset button on workplace stress. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or park further away from the office door. It doesn’t have to be hard to add more physical activity.
And you can’t forget a good 30-60 minute workout to calm the mind and loosen up physical stress.
Job Stress Prevention
Preventing Mental Stress at Work
Creating a customized, complete organization system is a must. Any system that helps you keep on top of your incoming messages, data, ideas, projects, etc., is going to help you keep your head clear.
Make sure you are clear about your work responsibilities.
This may seem like an obvious point, but it’s not as straightforward as you’d think. Job responsibilities can shift and change over time, so make sure you (and whoever you report to) are clear on what’s expected.
Create a list of daily goals—no more than three items—that must get done each day. Focus on giving those tasks priority, and then whatever comes your way throughout the day can get attention without derailing your plan altogether.
Preventing Emotional Job Stress
For self-created stress (pessimism, self-esteem, etc.), a little reframing can go a long way. There are resources to help with this.
When it comes to interpersonal stress, another tactic is required. Many personal problems between coworkers can be due to a simple matter of miscommunication.
Keeping a handle on your work-life balance as much as possible can help in this way too. Monday morning is always a little easier to handle after a weekend full of activities you love. If there’s any way to create a flexible work schedule, go for it. Even a couple of days a month working from home can make a difference.
Avoiding Physical Stress on the Job
The physical stress you face at work will depend on what kind of work you do. Physical stress is best prevented through regular physical exercise and bodywork. These activities work in different ways to move stagnant fluids through muscles and soft tissues.
This keeps new blood moving through the body and helps prevent muscle knots and tension.
Though both fitness and massage do similar things, you’ll get the best results incorporating both.
For more ways to reduce work stress, check out these articles:
- 5 Major Signs of Employee Burnout and How to Address Them
- How to Prioritize Self-Care and Your Mental Health
- Stress Management Tools and Techniques
Learn About the Power of Self-Care
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