It’s that time of the year again- the time of year where our obligations seem to be calling our name from all directions. Thankfully, Stress Awareness Month is April, which increases awareness of the causes and remedies for stress. As workers, it’s often difficult to manage our stressors because of the various distractions that consume our thoughts. With that said, here are five tips to help manage stress more effectively in the workplace.
1) Acknowledge feelings of stress.
A constant feeling of being overwhelmed, health problems ranging from abnormal heart rate to hair loss, or racing thoughts running a hundred miles an hour in your head ― stress can manifest in a number of ways that harm your emotional and physical wellbeing. The first step to eliminating these negative effects is to acknowledge your stress and be willing to find ways to manage it. Feeling constantly overwhelmed or under pressure doesn’t make you weak or incapable, but it is a sign that you need to make your mental and physical health a priority.
2) Identify the stressors in your life.
Although this may seem obvious, it’s much harder than it appears. Usually we get stressed because of the various projects, assignments, or tasks that are due. However, pinpointing the exact source of stress such as a particular work project or a personal challenge, is crucial to reducing or even eliminating stress. So, prioritize a time to sit down and identify the primary cause of your stress, and work on reducing that stress one step at a time.
3) Strike a balance.
According to WebMD, stress is often induced by taking on a lot of responsibility at work or having a high workload. Because our minds tend to be consumed by work-related tasks which consume time, we put the “excess” things, like our personal lives, on the back burner. Finding that balance, and taking the time enjoy activities, like spending time with loved ones or going for a run, helps reduce the perceived salience of the stressor. When we actually take that minute to recognize and indulge in important life events, we become happier, and as a result, less stressed.
4) Talk therapy:
Share the burden. According to ExperienceLife, the effects of bottled-up stress are decidedly negative and reduce our long term well-being. By discussing the problems with a friend, relative or registered therapist, we can confide and share concerns. Talking to someone who can also relate to the issues is a large part of coping with stress; usually speaking to a similarly situated coworker, or someone in the same field has proven more helpful than someone dissimilar.
Walk, run, jog, swim, cycle, do yoga ― do anything. Scientifically speaking, exercise releases endorphins which make us feel happier, or in a better mood. If our spirits are lifted, we’re more productive and do not associate negative feelings with the workplace. Additionally, exercise is a great time for reflection.
6) Express yourself!
Go to slam poetry, an acting, comedy or other shows to relieve stress. Expressing your emotions to people you do not know is cathartic because you can vent without any strings attached. Catharsis is important in reducing stress levels significantly. Participating in an artistic activity alleviates negative feelings in times of stress.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, and the National Business Journals. Her best-selling book Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its second printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. Sharon is the winner of the British Airways International Trade, Investment & Expansion Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.