Stress At Work. What Can You Change?
Whether you are self-employed or work for somebody else, stress is most likely to pay you an uninvited and unwelcome visit when you’re doing whatever you do to earn money. You may feel under pressure when dealing with those occasional tight deadlines, or you may be a permanent stress-head.
I’m guessing that you think stress is something that happens to you; an external factor that tries to screw with your life? What if you could improve your stress levels by changing something yourself? Worth a shot, right?! Let’s have a look at the areas that could be contributing, but with a bit of a tweak, could take the load off for you: –
The Stuff You Do At Home
If you’ve got money or relationship problems that you’re not dealing with or you’re crawling out of bed after 3 hours sleep (after yet another night of full-on boozing, drug taking or Internet addiction) you are going to be super sensitive to stress at work. Dragging yourself through the day wired on caffeine may make you think you’re coping but it’s simply adding to your vulnerability to stress. Get your act together and give yourself a chance! At least test the theory.
You’re instinctively thinking of a bossy, demanding manager or a whining colleague as being the only possibility here, I imagine. Yes, the anger that you feel towards people like that will sky rocket your stress levels, but there are other issues too. Competition at work can be a good thing, but more often will be a stressor, and if you are overlooked for promotion after giving everything you’ve got, you’ll be dealing with some seriously nasty feelings on top of that too. Coping with difficult people (or even those that you have nothing in common with) can also increase the pressure for you. It could be other people don’t produce the goods to your exacting standards so you get angry and now you don’t delegate. See clearly what drives you to distraction and then you can more easily identify what change you need to make. It could just be a change in your perception that makes all the difference.
Change at work is often perceived as a major trigger for stress. Your role, the systems that you use, the service/product, your environment, your boss, impending redundancies; when any of these changes happen you can feel unsettled at the very least and drowning/terrified at the other end of the stress scale. Do you need to view change in a more positive light? Would you benefit from a plan B? What will make you feel more in control?
Sorry, but if you are prone to anxiety, guilt or fear, super ambitious, lacking in focus or constantly worry about others’ opinion of you/your performance you will be contributing to your own stress levels. You’ll be attracting it in by the way you think, feel and behave. How can you focus on the job that you need to do if you’ve got that lot distracting you or dragging you down? Work it out.
Physical discomfort such as a work space that is too cold, too cramped, too noisy or with inadequate lighting is going to drip feed stress. Consider whether sitting or standing in one position for hours on end is helping. Maybe you don’t feel safe. Take a step back and look at how/where you have to work. What are you putting up with that could reduce your stress levels with a really simple change?
A deadline can be a really useful way to focus and become effective, but even if it’s a totally achievable goal, a deadline can immediately make you feel under pressure. Are you being realistic? Add to that a workload that you feel overwhelmed by and you’re climbing the walls. Over the top information gathering (before you even start a task) is a big time thief. You may think you’re doing the necessary research but are you going to the extreme because you’re scared of getting it wrong or maybe you’re putting off doing a difficult task? Talking of putting it off, we talked about procrastination last week. That’s another huge time thief. Take a good look at what you are actually doing with your time and how you could be wasting it.
I hope that you found something useful here. What could you do differently to put a lid on your work stress? I’d love to hear how you get on with that!
Thanks for reading.
By: Judith Flowerday