If this year is well-known for anything, it’s likely for installing more stress into daily life than ever ever asked for. For so many individuals this year, work itself has brought about more stress than satisfaction. Whether because of job security, overall workload, the novelty of the work-from-home environment or stress from management that seems to always reach your desk, it’s an undeniable fact: work-related stress is debilitating.
Fighting off work-related stress works best when you understand where it comes from. After all, one of the first steps in self-defense is understanding the opposition. Especially in the wake of COVID-19, there are so many work-related reasons to feel new levels of stress.
This extensive list of work-related stressors includes:
- Longer hours
- Unrealistic or uncommunicated expectations from management
- More intense workloads
- Uninteresting daily tasks
- Unavailable tools required to complete the job
- A lack of required job training
- Absence of workplace comradery
- Minimal chances for promotion
If you’ve experienced one or more of these workplace stress-inducing factors, you know how quickly they can bring your day to a grinding halt. It’s important to be aware of these moments and mentally (or physically) prepare accordingly.
1. Stay organized
You’ll be amazed how much more prepared you’ll be for the day if you can spend even 5-10 minutes preparing beforehand. Structure the day’s schedule, prioritize urgent tasks over items with longer deadlines, and identify moments during the day when you can afford to take breaks.
By keeping your own responsibilities organized, your thoughts straight and clear and your action-items on a productive checklist, you can keep yourself accountable and well-prepared for any unexpected questions about the work you’ve been assigned.
Additionally, do the heavy lifting first. By completing the harder tasks when you’re fresh, you’ll have more drive and more energy, and you won’t find yourself burnt out at the end of the day with any sizable projects hanging over your head.
2. Take Action
Once you’ve identified the root of your stress, do something about it! Take time to brainstorm ways to reduce your stress. Maybe sharing lunch time with a difficult coworker is too much for you. Ask for a slight schedule change. Maybe your supervisor’s expectations don’t line up with the work you were actually hired to do. Pursue compromise there. You likely won’t be able to immediately remove all of the stress-causing factors in your workplace, but it’s up to you to identify ways to mitigate them.
If you’re stressed at work, tell someone. Talk to a trusted friend or family member – they might be able to offer you a new perspective or fresh tips for controlling stress. Sometimes, all you need is a listening ear. If you need to talk to an HR representative or your supervisor for direct intervention, don’t be afraid to reach out to them.
The most important thing to remember is this: if you don’t tell anyone you’re stressed, no one will know and no one can help. Simply addressing the problem may be much more effective in solving the issue than you thought was possible.
4. Leave work at work
Leaving work at work is easier said than done, especially with how many people are currently working from home. However, it’s one of the most important mental accomplishments to achieve. Not only will you be un-bothered about that meeting tomorrow during family dinner, but you’ll be able to be fully present at your son’s soccer game or your daughter’s dance recital. This sounds ideal, but is it achievable? Absolutely.
Don’t check your work email at home, or after work hours. Just don’t. Sign off when your workday ends, and don’t sign on until the following morning unless there’s an emergency.
Start by creating tomorrow’s to-do list today, while still at work. That way, you won’t spend the evening stressing about everything you need to accomplish the following day.
5. Set boundaries
If you find your coworkers or manager constantly calling you after working hours, leisure time suddenly turns into work time. Even worse, guilt creeps in when you don’t pick up that call – even though it’s well past the end of the work day. Setting clear boundaries and communicating those boundaries to coworkers and employers alike is critical when it comes to preserving mental health, and fighting off after-work stress.
6. Professional help to put stress in its place
Setting boundaries around work time and personal time, establishing open communication with employers and peers and leaving work at work are all positive steps to help fight work-related stress. If you still find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious, it might be time to talk with someone who can offer professional help. At Pyramid Online Counseling, our licensed counselors provide you with concrete, achievable steps to help you reduce your stress. Schedule your first appointment with one of our counselors today, after browsing profiles and finding the right healthcare professional for you. Take the first steps toward controlling work-related stress like never before, thanks to help from licensed therapists.