As the economy begins to return to normalcy, so has the hustle and bustle in our day-to-day lives. Well it might be welcomed by some to help them regain some sort of routine, for others it can cause stress.
Stress is a mental and physical condition that affects how we perceive our ability to cope. At one point or another, everyone will feel stressed in either their work or personal lives or often, both. Even if you love what you do, stress is a common occurrence. In some instances, stress can be a good thing, applying the right amount of pressure can result in diamonds after all! It is when you are under stress for a long period of time and you feel overwhelmed, that you need to reassess your workload and take a step back.
Whether it be to meet a challenging deadline or trying to get all your ducks in a row, we aim to give you a few tips and tricks on how to manage stress in the workplace. We believe stress management can be divided into three phases; Symptoms, Sources and Solutions.
Symptoms of Stress
Have you ever told yourself or others; ‘’I have a lot going on right now’’ or ‘’It’s always crazy around here’’? While stress is part and parcel in life it is important every now and again to take a step back and assess how you are doing. Chances are you’ve bitten off more than you can chew and what you initially labelled as ‘busy’ is actually stress at work. Here is how to identify when stress is affecting your mental and physical health: (HSE)
- finding it hard to concentrate
- poor memory
- low self-esteem
- finding it hard to sleep
- change in eating habits
- smoking or drinking more
- avoiding friends and family
- indigestion and nausea
- aching muscles
- irritable or angry
- feeling numb
- hypersensitivity (easily hurt, worried or offended)
- feeling drained and listless
Sources of Stress
Pin-pointing the source of your stress is of paramount importance in order to take the right steps to alleviate the pressure. The workplace is full of opportunities to cause you stress, but we have listed the most common below
- Financial (salaries/raises/bonuses)
- Workplace conflict
- Increased or excessive workload
- Conflicting instructions
- Lack of control
Dealing with some of these issues can be a delicate matter and while some sources of stress can be resolved quickly, issues such as pay and workplace conflict can require longer discussions in order to come to a resolution. The main thing is that you get the ball rolling as soon as possible and contact your employer or a member of Human Resources or any other persons deemed appropriate.
Solutions to Stress in the Workplace
Communication – No one knows how stressed you are unless you speak up! Letting a co-worker, friend or even your employer know about the stress that you are under should be your first port of call to help you get a handle on things. They could direct you to supports available within or outside the workplace.
Monitor how you feel - It is important to take a step back every once in a while, to assess how you feel. If you don’t, eventually you will burn out and it can have detrimental effects to your health.
Get Organised – More often than not, stress is caused by things getting out of control. Make a list of everything you need to do along with dates for deadlines.
Establish Boundaries – Separating your work life from your personal life, particularly when you’re stressed, is impossible. Once 5 o’clock hits your problems just don’t disappear until tomorrow at 9am. It is important however to detach yourself as much as possible. Your home should be a space for you to unwind. Dedicate an hour for yourself every evening, whether it’s to watch your favourite TV show or to spend time with your family, it is important that you have that time where the workplace cannot interfere.
Take time to recharge – Don’t waste your annual leave! Get organised in advance so when you do have that lie-in and a day or two for relaxing, your mind doesn’t wander into the workplace with the mountain of work that would be waiting for you when you got back.
Delegate – We’ve all taken on with more work than we can manage before. What’s important is how we handle it. There is no shame in asking for help, you could always return the favour in the future! Delegating is a skill that everyone should learn at one point.
The HSE have a comprehensive guide to managing work-related stress, and your responsibilities as an employer/employee, which can be found here.
The working world in Ireland has been going through multiple transformations since the outbreak of Covid-19, and while we try our best to accommodate these changes it is important to be mindful of our mental and physical health. Creative Spark offers a variety of services which may help you and your business minimise stress levels as much as possible.