While stress is something that we cannot completely avoide, it is important that we learn how to handle it accordingly. Of course, a certain level of stress can be somewhat healthy in terms of motivation and performance, it is vital that it does not stop you from productively and happily fulfilling your professional role.
Stress levels have continued to grow in Ireland over the past number of years. Results that were recorded indicate that stress levels in Ireland have more than doubled between 2010 and 2015, with 2016 continuing on this incline. This comes in conjunction with the introduction and implementation of increased flexi-working options and work-life balance focus. Which opens up the question, what more can be done to improve our workplace wellbeing?
It’s important to monitor the amount of stress you are experiencing on a daily basis. A VHI research report published last year revealed that 67% of Ireland’s corporate employees admit to needing to take better care of their mental health.
If you find yourself often feeling overwhelmed and spend the a lot of your working day feeling tense, then it may be time to look at addressing the amount of workplace stress that you consider to be the norm. We have created a short list of some tips and some simple steps which could assist in reducing this:
1 – Prioritise Your Health
Pay attention to both physical and mental wellbeing. By doing this, you are putting yourself in the best posssible position to face challenges that you may be have to face in work. Participate in regular exercise, it doesn’t have to be strenuous workouts, just getting out in the fresh are for a brisk walk can work wonders for your state of mind. Make an conscious effort to eat healthy when you can and make getting enough sleep part of your daily routine. These 3 minor lifestyle changes can be fundamental in balancing out our stress levels. Prolonged stress can ultimately lead to physical exhaustion, so it is imperative to keep yourself in check, both mentally and physically.
2 – Speak Out About Stress
If you feel that things are getting too much or that you are being given more responsibilities than you can handle, then bringing this to the attention of your manager or supervisor is key in trying to resolve this issue. Your employer should have your best interests at heart and therefore should be open to discussing what can be done to improve your health at work. You manager may be able to help you prioritise tasks and delegate some of the responsibility in order to take some of the pressure off of you and ease your workload. Most workplaces have a policy or some form of a programme they follow in regards to achieving a healthy work/life balance for their employees, and so speaking out about stress is not an uncommon concern to be brought to an employer’s attention.
3- Aim For a Work/Life Balance
Achieving a healthy work/life balance is something that is spoken about amongst many but few are capable of actually achieving it. Balancing striving to do well in your professional life as well as maintaining your personal life is not an easy thing to do, however there are ways that you can can work towards this goal. Ask your employer about his stance on working from home and flexible working hours to see if you can meet some arrangement to accommodate your needs, taking into consideration your commuting time etc. Learning to say no to certain activities which are not mandatory, such as being on a committee, can often allow you more time to focus on your priorities. Valuing your personal time and communicating to your employers when other commitments/family issues arise will help keep them in the loop and hopefully gain their support if you need some assistance or increased flexibility within your schedule.
4 – Maintain Organisation
Plan ahead and keep your schedule up to date to help alleviate stress levels in the workplace. Maintaining organisation in other aspects of your life can also have a knock on affect on the amount of stress you face in the workplace. Allowing yourself time the night before to get organised for the following day means that you can avoid rushing in the morning, allowing yourself to arrive at work stress free. Simple steps like this can help you to be more productive and efficient while at work, hence reducing stress levels throughout the day. Organisation and efficiency go hand in hand, so by working as efficiently as possible when you’re actually at work, you avoid undue stress towards the end of the day which you could end up bringing home with you.
If you happen to feel that you are experiencing excessive stress while you are at work, then you should consider trying some of the outlined steps above in order to counteract this. There is no need for there to be a stigma surrounding voicing your concerns. At the moment workplace wellness is such a hot topic for both employers and their employees, it is more important than ever that people are aware of work related stress, such as the causes and effects but more importantly what can be done to help reduce it.