We've all been there. You're juggling a million different things, and the pressure is mounting. You feel you're about to snap. It's easy to let stress take over in these situations, but it's important to manage it so that you don't end up burning out.
Stress is unavoidable, but that doesn't mean you have to let it get to you. In fact, not all stress is bad for you. A little bit of stress at work can actually be helpful in keeping you motivated and focused.
However, unmanageable stress can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. It can lead to headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and many other problems. The key is to find a balance.
If you're not careful, too much stress, or stress that you can't manage, can cause conflict in the workplace and in your personal life.
Too much stress at work can affect your performance
Not only can stress impact your health, but it can also affect your work performance. When you're feeling stressed, it's harder to focus and be productive. You might make mistakes, or struggle to meet deadlines. Stress can also lead to absenteeism and presenteeism (when you're physically at work but not mentally engaged).
Work stress can affect your personal life
It's not just your work life that suffers when you're stressed. Stress can take a toll on your relationships and make it hard to enjoy your life outside of work.
You might find yourself snapping at friends or family members or withdrawing from social activities. You might have trouble sleeping, eating well or exercising. Too much stress can also lead to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy.
This is why it's so important to find ways to manage your stress levels. If you don't, it could end up costing you both personally and professionally.
Reasons you might be getting stressed at work
- You're overwhelmed with tasks.
- Your work environment is too demanding.
- You're working long hours.
- You're not getting enough rest at home.
- You don't have a good support system.
Find out what's causing your stress. Is it a specific task? Is it your workload in general? Once you identify the source of your stress, you can look for ways to manage it.
Here are our 5 best tips for managing stress in a tough work environment:
1. Take a break
Sometimes taking a few minutes to yourself is all you need to stay calm and focused. Step away from your work area and take a walk, or just sit in silence for a bit. This will help clear your head and give you some much-needed perspective on work issues that are overwhelming you.
2. Talk to someone
Ever heard the saying “a problem shared is a problem solved”? Chatting to someone you trust about what's stressing you out can be incredibly helpful. Even if they can’t offer advice, having someone to verbalise your problems can help you understand what’s bothering you and why.
3. Find a healthy outlet
Doing something that allows you to blow off steam can be really beneficial when you're feeling stressed. If you like exercise, go for a run or join a team sport. If that’s not your thing, try hobbies you do enjoy – like playing an instrument, painting, or joining a local Men’s or Women’s Shed to build crafts with like-minded people.
4. Organise your thoughts
Sometimes the reason we're stressed is that we feel like we're all over the place. Writing down your problems can help you see your situation more clearly and come up with a plan to tackle it.
5 Tackle challenging projects one step at a time
When you're feeling overwhelmed, it's easy to get ahead of yourself. Try to focus on completing your tasks one step at a time. You'll find that it's not as daunting as it seems.
When you learn how to manage stress, you can get through even the toughest of environments. But if you find that even after managing stress, you’re still unhappy, it might be time to look for a career that you’re more passionate about.