Work Stress: How to Cope - Counselors Work Stress: How to Cope - Counselors

Work Stress: How to Cope

If you’re currently working, you probably know what it feels like to be stressed on the job. A must-do project arrives without warning. Three emails stack up for each one you delete. Phones ring, meetings are scheduled, and a coworker drops the ball on a shared assignment.

How to cope with stress at work

There are a number of steps you can take to reduce both your overall stress levels and the stress you experience at work and at work, including:

· Take responsibility for improving your physical and emotional well-being.

· Avoid pitfalls by recognizing knee-jerk habits and negative attitudes that increase the stress you experience at work.

· Learn better communication skills to facilitate and improve your relationships with management and employees.

Employee stressed out due to work

Tip 1: Detect warning signs of excessive stress at work

If you feel overwhelmed at work, you lose confidence and can become irritable or withdrawn, which can make you less productive and effective in your job and make work seem less rewarding. If you ignore the warning signs of work stress, they can lead to bigger problems.

In addition to work performance and satisfaction disorders, chronic or intense stress can also lead to physical and emotional health problems. Below are warning signs of stress.

Signs and symptoms of excessive stress at work

· Anxiety, irritability, or depression

· Apathy, loss of interest in work

· Sleep problems

· Fatigue

· Problems concentrating

· Muscle tension or headache

· Stomach problems

· Social retreat

· Loss of sex drive

· Coping with alcohol or drugs

Common causes of excessive stress at work

· Fear of being sacked

· More overtime due to staff cuts

· Performance pressure to meet rising expectations, but without increasing job satisfaction

· The pressure to work at an optimum level – all the time!

Tip 2: Reduce stress at work by taking care of yourself

When stress at work affects your job performance, your private life, or your health, it is time to act. First, take care of your physical and emotional health. If you take care of your own needs, you will be stronger and more resilient to stress. The better you feel, the better equipped you will be to deal with work stress without being overwhelmed.

Taking care of yourself does not require a complete lifestyle overhaul. Even small things can lift your mood, boost your energy levels, and make you feel like you’re back in the driver’s seat. Go one step at a time, and if you make more positive lifestyle choices, you’ll soon notice a reduction in your stress levels, both at home and at work.

Get moving

Regular exercise is an effective way to reduce stress, even if it may be the last thing you want to do. Aerobic exercise – and activity that increases your heart rate and makes you sweat – is an extremely effective way to lift your mood, increase energy, sharpen focus, and relax your body and mind.

Make food choices that keep you going

Low blood sugar can cause anxiety and irritability while eating too much can make you lethargic. A healthy diet can help you get through stressful workdays. By eating small but frequent meals, you can help your body maintain an even blood sugar level, maintain your energy levels, stay focused and avoid mood swings.

Enough sleep

Not only can stress and worry cause insomnia, but sleep deprivation can also make you vulnerable to even more stress. If you are well-rested, it is much easier to maintain your emotional balance, a key factor in coping with stress at work and at work. 

Tip 3: Reduce stress at work by prioritizing and organizing

When workplace stress threatens to overwhelm you, there are simple steps you can take to regain control of yourself and the situation. Your newfound ability to maintain a sense of self-control in stressful situations is often welcomed by employees, managers, and subordinates alike, which can lead to better relationships in the workplace.

Here are some suggestions to reduce stress in the workplace by prioritizing and organizing your responsibilities.

Time management tips for reducing stress at work

· Create a balanced schedule. Analyze your schedule, your responsibilities, and your daily tasks. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Try to find a balance between work and family, social activities and lonely activities, daily responsibilities, and downtime.

· Avoid overburdening yourself. Too often, we underestimate how long it will take. If you have too much on your plate, distinguish between “shoulds” and “musts.” Place tasks that are not really necessary at the bottom of the list or delete them altogether.

· If you’re a commuter, try to leave earlier in the morning. A mere 10-15 minutes can be the difference between frantically rushing to your desk and having time to ease into the day. Don’t increase your stress levels by running late.

· Plan (and take) regular breaks. Take short breaks throughout the day to go for a walk or to sit back and clear your head. Also, try to get away from your desk or work for lunch.

Task management tips to reduce stress at work

· Prioritize tasks. Make a list of the tasks you need to complete and tackle them in order of importance. Tackle high-priority items and unpleasant tasks first. This will make the rest of your day more enjoyable and less stressful.

· Break big projects down into small, manageable steps. Focus on one manageable step at a time, rather than taking it all in at once.

· Delegate responsibility. You don’t have to do everything yourself. If other people can do the job, why not let them? Let go of the desire to control or supervise every little step. In so doing, you let go of unnecessary stress.

Tip 4: Reduce stress at work by improving emotional intelligence

Learn to recognize hidden stress

Even if you work in a profession where the environment has become increasingly stressful, you can maintain a high level of self-control and self-confidence by understanding and practicing emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and use your emotions positively and constructively. When it comes to satisfaction and success at work, emotional intelligence counts just as much as intellectual ability. Emotional intelligence means communicating with others in a way that draws people to you, overcomes differences, repairs hurt feelings, and reduces tension and stress.

Emotional intelligence in the workplace

Emotional intelligence in the workplace has four main components:

· Self-awareness: The ability to recognize your emotions and their effects while using gut instinct as a guide to your decisions.

· Self-management: the ability to control your emotions and behavior and to adapt to changing circumstances.

· Social awareness: The ability to feel, understand and respond to the emotions of others and to feel socially comfortable.

· Relationship management: The ability to inspire, influence and connect with others and manage conflicts.

Learn how to cope with anger:

The Five Key Skills of Emotional Intelligence

There are five key skills you need to master to increase your emotional intelligence and manage stress at work.

· Recognize when you are stressed, recognize your particular stress response, and become familiar with sensory cues that can quickly calm you down and provide you with energy. The best way to quickly relieve stress is through the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. However, everyone reacts differently to sensory impressions, so you need to find things that are calming for you.

· Stay in touch with your inner emotional experience so that you can appropriately control your own emotions. Your current emotions influence your thoughts and actions, so pay attention to your feelings and consider them in your decision-making at work. If you ignore your emotions, you will not be able to fully understand your own motivations and needs or communicate effectively with others.

· Recognize and use non-verbal cues and body language. In many cases, what we say is less important than the way we say it or the other non-verbal signals we send out, such as eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, gestures, and touch. Your non-verbal messages can either evoke a sense of interest, trust, and desire for connection – or they can cause confusion, mistrust, and stress. You must also be able to read and respond to the non-verbal cues that other people send you at work.

· Develop the ability to respond to challenges with humor. There is no better stress reliever than hearty laughter, and nothing reduces stress in the workplace faster than shared humor. But, when laughter comes at the expense of others, you may end up with more, rather than less, stress.

· Resolving conflicts in a positive manner. Solving conflicts in a healthy, constructive way can build trust between people and reduce stress and tension in the workplace. If you are coping with emotionally charged situations, focus on the present by ignoring old wounds and resentments, connecting with your emotions, and hearing both the words and the non-verbal cues used. If a conflict cannot be resolved, decide to end the dispute even if you do not yet agree.

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