STRESS MANAGEMENT

STRESS MANAGEMENT

 

Stress is part of our life, from simple things such as paying a bill to major events such as changing jobs, moving house, or going through a divorce. The key to stress management is to get control over your life, thoughts, emotions, and problems. Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.

 

IDENTIFYING STRESS

Questions to ask Yourself:

  • Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breath?

  • Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”)?

  • Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

The goal of effective stress management is to feel less under pressure and more in balance. Healthy strategies include keeping a journal to help you identify stressors in your life. Notice patterns and common themes. Write down what may have caused your stress, how you felt physically and emotionally, how you acted in response, and what you did to make yourself feel better. Exercise, time management, healthy diet, good sleep, and reducing caffeine and alcohol are also positive ways to manage stress.

THE FOUR A’S – AVOID, ALTER, ADAPT & ACCEPT

  • Avoid unnecessary stress and learn how to address situations that do need attention. For example, how to say no, how to prioritise your life, avoid people who cause you stress.

  • Alter the situation if you can’t avoid it by expressing your feelings instead of bottling them up, being willing to compromise, and creating a balanced schedule.

  • Adapt and change yourself if you can’t change the stressor by adjusting your expectations and attitude with reframing skills (looking at problems in a different way), looking at the bigger picture, adjusting your standards, and practicing gratitude.

  • Accept the things you can’t change or avoid such as the death of a loved one. Don’t try to control the uncontrollable, look for the upside, learn to forgive, and share your feelings.

 

COMMON CAUSES OF WORKPLACE STRESS

Workplace is normally not controllable but we are not powerless to adapt. With the right tools, we can prevent excessive stress from interfering with our productivity and performance, impacting our physical and emotional health, and affecting our relationships and home life. Causes of stress at the workplace include:

  • Fear of being made redundant

  • More overtime due to staff cutbacks

  • Pressure to perform to meet rising expectations but with no increase in job satisfaction

  • Pressure to work at the optimum level at all the time!

  • Lack of control over how you do your work

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

  • Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed

  • Apathy, loss of interest in work

  • Problems sleeping

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Muscle tension or headaches

  • Stomach problems

  • Social withdrawal

  • Loss of sex drive

  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope

TIPS FOR STRESS RELIEF IN THE WORKPLACE

  • Cultivate supportive relationships at work and beyond by turning to co-workers for support, lean on your friends and family members, and build new satisfying friendships.

  • Make time for regular exercise.

  • Make smart food choices.

  • Don’t skimp on sleep.

  • Improve time management by creating a balanced schedule, leaving earlier in the mornings, planning regular breaks, establishing healthy boundaries, and not over-committing.

  • Include task management skills such as prioritising tasks, dividing projects into manageable steps, delegating responsibility, and being willing to compromise.

  • Break bad habits such as limiting perfection, reversing negative thinking, cleaning up your act, looking for the funny side, and not trying to control the uncontrollable.

  • Talk to your employer about workplace stressors, clarifying your job description, if necessary request a transfer, ask for new duties, and taking time off.