Most of us experience some stress at work. Smaller levels of stress can actually be beneficial for productivity but in higher doses, stress can lead to physical pain, reduced motivation and feelings of overwhelm.
Employers have a responsibility to reduce stress in the workplace environment as much as is reasonable, but there are things you can do as well.
Here are 5 stress management tips you can get started with today.
1. Rethink your routine
If you’re heading out the door in a scramble, chances are you’ll be more sensitive to stressors at work. Rethink your morning routine to help start your day with calm.
Things like exercising, doing a 10 minute meditation or eating your breakfast mindfully are all great ways to start the day.
You might also find it helpful to spend 10 minutes planning the day ahead. As long as you keep it realistic, knowing what you want to achieve and when can help you feel more in control.
Think of other areas in your day where you can introduce routine. It may help relieve some stress by removing the number of choices you need to make. When your body knows the motions, it can give your mind a break from any intrusive thoughts.
2. Prioritise your work and manage your time
When your to-do list is getting out of control, it can be a huge source of stress, especially if you’re short on time.
Try these tips to help you manage your tasks with less stress:
- Prioritise the most important tasks.
- Say no to things that aren’t important.
- When you have a big task in front of you, try breaking it down into smaller steps.
- Try single tasking instead of trying to do everything at once.
- Find a task management app that works for you.
- Set time aside to rest and recharge.
3. Set boundaries
Since the pandemic, many people have started working from home and found that it can be really hard to switch off at the end of the day. Having your work things and personal things all in one space can blur the boundaries between work and life.
Whether you work from home or not, it’s important to create ‘lines’ around your work so that it doesn’t overtake family time, personal commitments and rest. If you don’t create boundaries with your work, you might find yourself working longer hours or thinking about work in your down time.
Here are some boundary ideas:
- Don’t take any work home with you.
- Only work between 9am and 5pm (or your required hours) on weekdays.
- Mute notifications outside of work hours.
- If you’re working from home, pack away your work things at the end of each day.
4. Look after your physical health
What you do with your body can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing and stress levels. Everyone’s body is different, so it’s important to listen to yours and find solutions that work for you.
In general, stay away from foods high in sugar and saturated fats. You might also want to reduce your caffeine consumption. Look for protein-rich foods and wholegrains.
Physical exercise is a great way to get out your stress at the end of the day, but it can also be a good pick-me-up in the middle of the day. Try squeezing a walk in during your lunch break or cycle to work to start your day with a burst of energy.
Create healthy routines around sleep so that you get enough every night. Look for ways to improve your sleep quality like reducing screen time before bed, installing black-out curtains or playing white noise.
5. Invest in your relationships
Social connection is one of the pillars of good mental health. If you’re feeling stressed out, look for ways to have positive experiences with others in your team. Talking about how you’re feeling can help make your problems feel smaller.
Plus, there might be others in your workplace who are also feeling stressed out too. You might be able to put your brains together to find ways to reduce stress in your workplace or support each other when you need to.
Should you look for a new job if you’re stressed out at work?
Almost every job has some level of stress wrapped up in the role, however some jobs are more stressful than others.
For people living with a mental health condition, work-related stress can have a detrimental effect on symptoms and recovery.
If you’re finding it hard to cope in your workplace, try reaching out for support. Your employer may be willing to make changes in the workplace to help you do your job in a safe and healthy way.
You could also be in a position where you want to move to a less stressful work environment or make a change in your career.
How to find a low stress job
A good place to start is by reading articles related to your situation, such as low stress jobs for people with anxiety or best jobs for people with bipolar.
You could also try reaching out to someone who already works in the field to see what the job is like in the day to day.
Once you’ve had a good brainstorm, it’s a good idea to speak with an employment consultant who can help you think through your options and what career pathways might be best suited to you.
If you’re living with a mental health condition, consider speaking to a consultant that specialises in finding jobs for people with an injury, illness or disability. They can help you access workplace modifications and special equipment to help you feel confident in the workplace.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it
Living with high levels of stress can have a huge impact on your day to day life and your wellbeing. If you’re finding it hard to cope, it’s important to reach out for help.
Whether that’s talking to friends and family, speaking with your boss or seeking advice from your GP – you don’t have to do it on your own.