Managing Work-Related Stress
Give Me Support
Working in a supportive environment is something that most people want—and for good reason. A 2011 study published in Health Psychology found that those unhappy at work were more than twice as likely to die in the 20-year period studied than their happier colleagues.
Click through the slideshow to learn more about these study findings, and how to manage your work life and work relationships to keep stress in check in the office.
The Health Psychology study tracked over 800 people with an average age of 41 for about two decades. Employees who reported low social support in their workplace were 2.4 times more likely to die during that timeframe than those who reported a strong social support system at work. In fact, researchers found that a lack of emotional support at work was associated with a 140 percent increased risk of dying.
One of the fastest tracks to stress and burnout is to work too hard for too long, ignoring your needs. In order to do your best at work, you need to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. The Mayo Clinic suggests making sure to:
A chaotic workspace is a surefire recipe for feeling stressed out. As you get busy and your workload intensifies throughout the day, it may be tempting to let organization fall by the wayside. However, make an effort to file your papers, folders, and other materials as you use them to avoid stacks of clutter, improve your focus, and feel less overwhelmed.
Don’t Let Issues Fester
Some conflicts with colleagues can be nipped in the bud by addressing them head-on—in other words, by being more assertive. If someone is doing something that bothers you and affects your ability to do your job, speak up about it. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to the person directly, consider asking your supervisor for support. The Mayo Clinic reports that assertive communication can help manage stress, boost self-esteem, and earn others’ respect.
You may be tempted to prove your value by acting as department superhero. However, heroics can lead to burnout in no time. Instead of taking on extra work, explore handing off some responsibilities to others. Talk to your supervisor about creative ways to delegate or share tasks. Delegating some items from your to-do list can leave you with more time to focus on your core projects, which can help reduce your stress level.
Learn to Set Limits
It’s tough to say no when you’ve been asked to do something at work. But it can pay to push back if you’re being asked to do something that’s not practical or time-efficient. Saying yes to every request for your time will quickly make your workload unmanageable. Learn to recognize when enough is enough.
Take “Brain Breaks”
Research has shown that people who spend too much time being sedentary are at greater risk for a number of health problems. For example, a study conducted by the University of South Carolina found that people who sit too much have increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions. Though it may seem counterintuitive, getting up from your desk can actually get you further ahead. Taking regular breaks will allow you to stay mentally fresh and healthy.
Be Alert for Red Flags
Now that you know that limiting work-related stress and getting along with your co-workers may add years to your life, you may be motivated to make some changes. But no matter how hard you try to manage your stress by practicing the pointers and strategies above, some situations might be too difficult to resolve with these techniques. Be aware of such situations and be ready to make changes if necessary.