Stress is simply defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope. According to Wikipedia, Stress management refers to the wide spectrum of techniques and psychotherapies aimed at controlling a person’s levels of stress, especially chronic stress, usually for the purpose of improving everyday functioning.
Occupational stress is a major hazard for many workers. Increased workloads, downsizing, overtime, hostile work environments, and shiftwork are just a few of the many causes of stressful working conditions. This factsheet addresses some of the causes of workplace stress and solutions for change. Stress comes with numerous physical and mental issues but the ability to effectively manage it is paramount.
The kids won’t stop screaming, your boss has been hounding you because you turned a report in late, and you owe the IRS thousands of dollars you don’t have. You’re seriously stressed out.
Stress is actually a normal part of life. At times, it serves a useful purpose. Stress can motivate you to get that promotion at work, or run the last mile of a marathon. But if you don’t get a handle on your stress and it becomes long-term, it can seriously interfere with your job, family life, and health. More than half of Americans say they fight with friends and loved ones because of stress, and more than 70% say they experience real physical and emotional symptoms from it.
CAUSES OF STRESS
Everyone has different stress triggers. Work stress tops the list, according to surveys. Forty percent of workers admit to experiencing office stress, and one-quarter say work is the biggest source of stress in their lives.
Causes of work stress include:
- Being unhappy in your job
- Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility
- Working long hours
- Having poor management, unclear expectations of your work, or no say in the decision-making process
- Working under dangerous conditions
- Being insecure about your chance for advancement or risk of termination
- Having to give speeches in front of colleagues
- Facing discrimination or harassment at work, especially if your company isn’t supportive
There are several ways an individual can effectively manage stress in a workplace. They include:
- Treat yourself – this involves taking time out to relax, go one vacation, schedule a massage therapy etc. You don’t have to wait until you go on leave or the holidays come. That is why we have weekends to ourselves.
- Delegate – one of the reasons why people experience high levels of stress at the workplace is due to their insistence of getting things done themselves. Some leaders do not trust their employees to do their jobs properly. In order for one to manage stress effectively, they need to learn to delegate tasks.
- Write it down – you may not believe this but writing out all your tasks for the day before the start of work can help one manage stress effectively. When you have all your tasks written down, you know which ones you have down and which ones you have left hanging. This will also help to keep you relaxed while you work.
- Engage in a mindless activity – After work each day, take time out to relax by watching television, movies, basically any activity that requires less exertion of the mind.