Does your work make you happy? Perhaps. But work is not always gratifying, is it? More often than not, work brings along with it an immense amount of pressure and stress. Pressure at the workplace is largely unavoidable in today’s day and age owing to the demands of the contemporary work environment. When this pressure becomes excessive or otherwise unmanageable, it leads to stress. Over a period of time, work related stress may result in a psychological syndrome known as a burnout. Certain work related stressors such as having too many work demands or pressures, too little independence, inadequate remuneration, mismatch between workplace and personal values etc. are closely linked with burnout.
How Does Work Related Stress Affect the Body?
Long term exposure to work-related stressors such as the ones highlighted above may affect both physical and mental health. Research has shown burnout to be linked with symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Another study shows younger people who frequently face heavy workloads and extreme time pressure at the workplace are more likely to experience major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. On the other hand, physical ramifications of stress include susceptibility to disease or lowered immunity, the likelihood of developing cardio vascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amongst others.
Looking for a quick fix for stress at work? Well, look no more! Listed below are the different ways by which you can promptly and efficaciously de-stress while at work-
1. Deep Breathing: Stress often causes our body to use more oxygen and we tend to breathe shallowly. Set a timer for two or three minutes and focus on your breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose as you count till five, hold for five counts, exhale for five counts, and repeat for the remaining time to feel stress-reducing and calming effects
2. Take a Brisk 10 Minute Walk: This increases oxygen supply to the brain and body. Research even shows that walking boosts creative inspiration.
3. Personalise your Desk: Place non-work-related objects and pictures which make you happy around your work desk. Plants and soothing colours such as yellow and blue have a calming and comforting effect on the mind.
4. Focus on the Project at Hand: When you are overwhelmed with work, it is helpful to keep all other tasks besides the one you are working on at the moment. This allows you to focus on one task at a time.
5. Appreciate your Accomplishments: Leave all your completed work within sight. This enables you to take a few seconds or minutes to appreciate what you have already accomplished.
In addition to the above, there are also certain long-term practices and habits which may be incorporated in everyday life to effectively cope with workplace stress-
1.Tackle your stress triggers by looking for ways to resolve it or changing the circumstances that are causing it.
2. Improve your time management skills by setting realistic goals, making priority lists, and protecting your time.
3. Maintain perspective by obtaining insights or suggestions from trusted colleagues or friends.
4. Set aside time for activities you enjoy.
5. Include physical activity in your daily routine.
6. Get plenty of sleep.
7. Eat a healthy diet.
8. Know when to seek professional help.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that successfully coping with work stress not only enhances your productivity but also leaves you in a better frame of mind to go through the rest of your day. Don’t let stress weigh you down and take control over your stress today!
Reviewed By- Dr. N. Nayak, MBBS, MD