Methods to cope with stress at work.

Stress affects us in almost every area of our lives.  The greatest source of stress for many people is the workplace.  Having too heavy a workload, infrequent breaks, or tasks that don’t use employees’ abilities can create stress.  Relationships at work can be stressful due to lack of teamwork or assistance from managers and coworkers.  An employee worried about keeping his or her job or being frustrated about lack of opportunity to advance in the field can feel stressed.

Signs of stress include feelings of anxiety or depression, the loss of interest in work or loss of desire to go to work, and having trouble concentrating at work.  Aches and pains and using alcohol or drugs to cope with work problems are also indicators of stress.

While at work, there are many techniques one can employ to control levels of stress.  Start your day on a positive note.  Eat a good meal, get up ten minutes earlier so you can leave the house early or on time, and listen to music on the way to work.  This can help you enter the office with a bright outlook.  Tailor your workday to include breaks and time away from  your desk.

Try to prioritise work tasks.  List your assignments or tasks in order of priority.  Complete the unpleasant tasks first so the rest of your day can be more enjoyable. 

Take a walk at lunch.  This can give you a change of environment as well as some physical activity, which has been shown to reduce effects of stress on the body.  Exercising outside of work can lead to stress reduction at work.

Throughout the day, eat food that will keep you satisfied and full and that will help maintain your blood sugar level.  Try to eat a balance of carbohydrates and protein as opposed to candy from the office sweet dish.

While at your desk, try to focus on only one task.  Multitasking sometimes feels necessary at work, but it can be unproductive.  Try allotting a chunk of time for one activity.  For example, set aside thirty minutes to work on a project without interruption.  Then move to another task for a period of time before returning to the first project.  You may find that you work more quickly when you don’t allow yourself to be interrupted by phone calls or other tasks that arise.

Practise good communication skills.  When your boss overloads you, ask him or her what the highest priority is, so you do not feel the stress of trying to do too much.  Find ways to delegate when possible.  If you have the opportunity to train someone else to do your tasks, think of it as an opportunity to help him or her grow and the opportunity to lighten your workload and make room for more challenging tasks in the future.

Take responsibility for changing the things that are within your control.  When you focus on what you can do to affect your workplace, you can stop yourself from being frustrated by other factors.  

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com

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