Is stress a part of your daily routine? Do you dread going into the office every morning ? Does work follow you home with emails and phone calls? Do you often need to sacrifice time with family and friends due to work obligations?
We all know the common sources of stress in today’s fast-paced workplaces – looming deadlines, impatient bosses, unrealistic targets, always being on call
– and most of us are feeling the pressure. Indeed, according to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), 80% of people feel stressed at work , and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 75% of all doctors’
visits are due to stress.
However, just because this kind of stress is common doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Allowing it to pile up and grow over time can have serious implications
for your physical and mental well-being and could eventually lead to a major burnout.
Proactive stress management
Fortunately, there are plenty of practical steps that you can take to manage your stress before things reach this drastic level. Here are a few examples:
- Identify and eliminate problematic habits. Some of your workplace stress may be caused by external factors – for example, a difficult
client or a crowded daily commute – but some may be caused by behaviour that is within your control. If you typically check your work email late at night and then have trouble falling asleep because your mind is racing
with workplace issues, try going one week without looking at emails after office hours. Chances are that you won’t be able to act on any after-hours
emails until you’re back at the office in the morning, so why spend your night worrying about them? Creating a clear boundary like this can help
you better separate and balance your work life and home life.
- Look after your physical well-being. Our physical well-being is closely linked to our mental well-being, so tackling stress is difficult if we neglect our body. If your work involves sitting at a desk all day, it is important to balance this with some physical activity. Find a gym to visit a few times per week, go for a daily walk after dinner, or take the stairs instead of the lift to your office and flat. What you choose to do is not so important as long as you can make it a regular part of your weekly routine.
- Slow down with meditation. Stressful situations often cause us to build up feelings of anger, frustration or resentment. Meditation can help you calmly and clearly understand your emotions and learn to deal with them in a healthy way, instead of allowing them to fester. Over time, this can leave you better equipped to manage negative emotions the next time they arise.
- Seek outside support. Often an outside perspective can provide an objective assessment of your situation and help you see more clearly
where there are opportunities for positive changes. For example, our Total Performance program combines body analytics technology, physiological
data and personalised coaching to help people better understand their stress and develop a concrete action plan for tackling it.
Workplace stress is common and difficult to eliminate entirely. However, by taking proactive steps to manage your sources of stress and optimise your
mental and physical well-being, you can reduce your risk of a major burnout while achieving a better work–life balance.