Stress Management in the Workplace

Pictures say a thousand words, I am sure we have all felt this way, completely overwhelmed with work and life. Stress can be a good thing. Stress can help you stay focused, energized, and able to meet new challenges.  The global pandemic has left many feeling drained and overwhelmed as you have had to deal with, work furloughs, telecommuting from home, teaching children with online schooling, tight deadlines, and just coping with the many changes that have occurred.

I have had many conversations with business owners and employees who are expressing frustration because of the extenuating circumstances we are in. Adjusting processes and protocols to keep everyone healthy has been a huge task that everyone has worked together on. Leadership starts with you; it is internal and you need to remember to pat yourself on the back for being flexible and doing all that you can do during these uncertain times.

Work stress has significant health consequences and can cause tiredness, lack of focus, and health issues like colds and flu.

Some things to do to avoid work stress include:

Forget Multitasking

Yes, I said it – Multitasking. It seems not that long ago when we’re encouraged to multitask and saying that you could multitask meant efficiency. Studies have indicated that they were wrong with that assessment. It is extremely taxing on a person when they are constantly switching from one task to another without completing it. Think of a time when you are working on a project and you get interrupted, that creative breakthrough or thought is gone and it is hard and times to recall. Just ask my children, when I was earning my MBA, they would walk into the home office and start talking. I would “shh” them, finish the thought or sentence I was trying to write for the paper and then I could turn to them. The reality is that we simply cannot perform our jobs well when we are trying to concentrate on too many tasks at the same time.

Start your Day off Right

Too often we start our days already stressed, it could be being overtired, getting the children off to school and dodging traffic and road construction on the way to work have you arriving to work already stressed.  When you start your day off with planning, good nutrition, and exercise along with a positive attitude makes you more prepared to handle the work challenges.

Be Clear on Requirements

One of the biggest contributors to job burnout is unclear requirements and priorities. Many people I have spoken with said that their to-do list never shrinks but seems to get longer.  You need to have the confidence to discuss with your boss/supervisor about what is the most important task. Speak up when new tasks are assigned and you know it is not feasible in your schedule to be able to accomplish it. It rewarding to be able to cross items off your list helps improve confidence and reduces stress.

Stay Away from Conflict

Avoiding conflict in the workplace. Do not gossip or share too many personal opinions. When we are thoughtful about our words and responses to others, we not only avoid conflict but we can also calm someone else down.

Take Breaks

Stepping out of the office for fresh air and a walk is rejuvenating and clears the mind. When you are feeling bogged down, permit yourself to step away.

Stay Organized

Keeping yourself organize means that you avoid the negative effects of clutter and work more efficiently. Set realistic goals and make your priority list. The trick is to find what works for you. Some people utilize their outlook or google calendars, others like to have a to-do list. I know for me; I function better when things at home and in the office are clutter free.

Keep Perfectionism in Check

Repeat after me… I am enough! The beauty of life is that we are constantly learning and growing. No one can do everything well and being a high achiever is a great goal, this might drive you to do better. Remember to congratulate yourself on your efforts because we all learning and working together.

Do your best and let go of the rest. You can’t be perfect no matter how hard you try, give yourself credit for making an effort. Approaching the day with a positive attitude will help you navigate through the stress.

By Cheryl Viola, Executive Director, MBA


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