Workplace stress is slowly gaining popularity all over the world. Stress has become an integral part of both personal and professional life. According to a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health more than 50% of workers around the world spend long hours in offices which has a crucial impact on their overall health, well-being, and quality of life. It can lead to physical, psychological as well as mental illness. To know how to avoid stress in the workplace, it is important to know about what is work-related stress.
Work-related stress in simple terms is a harmful reaction that is caused due to undue pressure and demands at the workplace, suggested a 2016 study in the British Journal Psych Bulletin. Moreover, a 2015 report by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stated that the prevalence of work-related stress is quite common with a rate of 1380 people per 100000 workers.
Stress in the workplace could be due to an exposure to a range of work stressors such as excessive workload, lack of social support, conflicting demands, fewer opportunities to grow, low salaries, or non-challenging job profiles. This, in the long run, can cause job dissatisfaction, absenteeism, accidents, voluntary unemployment, and finally lead to a decreased quality of life.
How To Avoid Stress At Workplace
Every one of us might have experienced job-related stress at one point or the other, even if you love your job. There are times when you feel pressure to meet a deadline or times when you have to take a challenging project. However, when this becomes a routine, it is known as chronic stress, which starts to affect you both physically and mentally. While you cannot completely prevent stress and tension at workplaces, knowing about tips on how to avoid stress at the office can help you fight stress and prevent its long term effect on the health.
Here are a few tips on how to avoid stress
1. Know your stressor: In order to know how to avoid stress, you must be aware of the stressor, a trigger that makes you feel stressed and anxious. There are numerous stressors at the workplace which range from an interfering colleague to your own behavior such as procrastination. So it is important to know your trigger at work to manage it and avoid stress.
For this, you can keep a journal for a month and jot down situations that trigger stress and how you tackled it. For example, you snapped at your colleague or junior, went for a walk or took a day off. It is important to note your reaction as well as to know how you react and how can you avoid such situations in the near future.
2. Have a buddy at the office: Did you know some workplaces have an internal evaluation where they ask their employees if they have a ‘best friend’ at work? This may come as a surprise for many however, it is a way for the organization to know if they have a close friend at the workplace to share their feelings and thoughts. This is very much needed in the current scenario where most of us go through a lot of stress both at home and office. If you have a buddy at the office, you can not only hang out at work (and after work as well) but more importantly, you can share your feelings and stress related to work with your buddy. They not only give you insights but also help you out with a few tips and tricks to excel in your job and help you to avoid stress.
Remember having a close associate at work can make your life easy at work along with helping you to deal with everyday ups and downs at your workplace. When stressed, just go for a walk with your friend or have chat over a tea/coffee to relieve your stress. Moreover, if you feel overwhelmed by work stress, then getting professional help is also not a bad idea.
3. Take mini-breaks to recharge: If you are stuck to your computer 24X7 or are glued to your chair and spend most of your day at the office, then you might be more prone to burn out. Instead of wondering how to avoid stress at work, all you have to do is take frequent breaks to replenish your mind and body and return to your normal levels of functioning. A mini-vacation can do wonders to help you relieve from stress. A break not only helps you to switch off from your usual routine but refreshes your mind by making you not think about work and work-related pressure.
You can even take short breaks during your usual course of the day to unwind and avoid being stressed. Get a quick boost by talking to your colleague, playing a game of chess or table tennis with your at-work friends or simply scrolling through your Instagram account for some enthralling pics.
4. Maintain work-life balance: In the current world, almost every one of us feels the pressure to be available all round the clock. And in an attempt to give our best shot at work, most of us tend to take our personal life for granted. The result is stress at work and home. So to avoid being stressed at the office and vice-versa it is important to maintain a perfect balance between work and life.
To deal with this, it is important to establish some boundaries at work. This could mean not checking your emails after you reach your home or answering a message in the middle of the night. This also includes not answering your phone when you are having your dinner or when you are on a vacation with your friends and family. Although there might differences when it comes to establishing such a strict rule with respect to work, this can help you to reduce and avoid potential work-life stress in the long run.
5. Develop healthy habits: The last but the most important of all the tips on how to avoid stress at the office is to develop healthy habits. This could mean not eating processed and fast food to deal with pressure at work or sipping cups of coffee to come up with creative ideas. Learn to keep your cool and practice meditation and yoga to help you deal with stressful situations at work. Allot some time in your daily routine to enjoy your hobbies such as gardening, reading, dancing or playing with your kids as these act as great stress-busting tips and prevent you from chronic stress. During weekends, spend some time with family by visiting parks, go for music concerts or play games with your friends as it can help you to rev up your life and kickstart your Mondays on a healthy note.
Remember to stay away from vices such as taking a puff or drinking alcohol to de-stress. Say no to excessive intake of coffee to keep you awake late at night. A healthy diet plus a good night sleep is all you need to stay healthy, wealthy and wise. Developing these healthy habits can help you to avoid stress and stay happy.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)
1. Soriano A, Kozusznik MW, Peiró JM. From Office Environmental Stressors to Work Performance: The Role of Work Patterns. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Aug 2;15(8).
2. Bhui K, Dinos S, Galant-Miecznikowska M, de Jongh B, Stansfeld S. Perceptions of work stress causes and effective interventions in employees working in public, private and non-governmental organisations: a qualitative study. BJPsych Bull. 2016 Dec;40(6):318-325.
3. Health and Safety Executive Work Related Stress, Anxiety and Depression Statistics in Great Britain 2015. HSE, 2015.