Strategies for managing stress

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9 Stress management strategies to help employees in the workplace.  

Having been really stressed at work, I wanted to know the strategies for managing stress naturally in the workplace.

I did some digging and found the following natural stress management methods to help you whilst at work: 1) Have Breakfast, 2) Plan your day, 3) Understand your requirements, 4) Have a proper lunch break, 5) Develop working relationships, 6) Don’t be a perfectionist, 7) Take mini breaks, 8) Steer clear of conflict, 9) Breathe.

Those who suffer with stress on a regular basis fully understand the impact it has on your health and well being. Every employee has a differing stress tolerance level and adopting the 9 stress management strategies may help keep stress within tolerance whilst at work.

These stress strategies are applicable across the board from engineers and factory staff to teachers, doctors or office workers, to name but a few.

1) Have Breakfast
We all skip breakfast once in a while due to not wanting to be late for work; however the last thing you need is to start your day on an empty stomach. This will only fuel your tolerance to stress.

Breakfast is known to improve memory and concentration levels, improving the mood and reducing stress in the process. Fuelling your body at the start of the day leaves one less thing to worry about and ensure it’s nutritious, such as porridge or low sugar cereals, etc.

2) Plan your day
This is an essential ‘must do’ item and any form of planning or structure in your day will help you to manage stress. Planning helps to achieve objectives and ensures targets are met.

Planning could involve how you start your day, from having your morning coffee to getting dressed, so as not to be late getting to work. Alternatively, planning could involve working out the tasks you will be completing in the morning or afternoon to ensure you are well organised and you leave on time.

Planning and stress are inversely correlated whereby a lack of planning generally results in increased stress.

3) Understand your requirements
It is imperative you understand what is required of you and that you are fully clear of your requirements when carrying out any tasks.

Rather than going it alone and trying to ‘wing it’, you are better of seeking guidance when you are unsure. Look to your peers or manager for guidance and what is expected of you.

Do not get yourself into a position where you continue on the course of the unknown and let the stress build up unnecessarily.

4) Have a proper lunch break
Taking time out to have a proper lunch break and fuel your body is extremely important. It not only relaxes your mind allowing you to escape stresses in the workplace but sustenance fuels your body and refreshes you.

I can speak from experience working non-stop behind a desk and feeling continually stressed. Having an entitled lunch break allowed me to get away and forget things for an hour.

5) Develop working relationships
Don’t bottle it up and not talk to anyone about concerns which are causing stress. Sometimes it helps to communicate with others to relieve stress in the workplace.

Develop working relationships with those around you. Have a regular catch up or arrange a one to one session with your co-worker, manager or team lead. Not only will you be able to get things off your mind but they may also assist in easing the pressure and the resultant stress.

I find that attending work social events helps build relationships with peers and management. Everyone is more relaxed and in turn any communication barriers are removed, enabling you to lean on others when you are stressed in the workplace.

6) Don’t be a perfectionist
I am pretty sure we all want to do a great job and show how good an employee we are.

If you are work in an environment which is fast paced, you could jeopardise meeting your targets because you are trying to be perfect. This results in setting unrealistic goals which you may fail to meet, hence it just adds unnecessary pressure and stress.

It’s better to find a middle ground and ensure you do the job to a standard set by your employer and be consistent in your approach. This strategy will keep stress at bay and keep you in the good books with your employer.

7) Take mini breaks
Try and get away from your workstation, even if it means going to the loo or grabbing some water. This will help you refresh your mind and help manage any stressful moments, allowing you to get yourself together before returning to your workstation.

If you work in a closed office environment then pop out for some fresh air and fill your lungs with air and gain composure. This technique really works for me.

8) Steer clear of conflict
To avoid conflict and reduce unwanted workplace stress, it’s best to stay away from situations where there is conflict amongst colleagues.

The aim is to not put yourself in a situation where conflict can arise. Don’t get involved with so called friendly banter or bullying of a colleague and don’t debate with colleagues on topics of faith, politics, etc.

If you remove yourself from conflict, it will also remove any unwanted stress or not add to the stress you may already be under. If conflict is too difficult to escape due to your working environment, then find a way to block it out mentally.

9) Breathe
This is a great strategy to relieve stress naturally by merely absorbing oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide.

When stressed in the workplace, your breathing pattern changes. You tend to take smaller breaths using your shoulders instead of your diaphragm to absorb and expel air from your lungs. On taking smaller breaths and not relaxing your shoulders, it can worsen the symptoms of stress.

There are breathing technique which can assist with stress and anxiety. Whether standing or sitting, have both feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart:

• Take longer deeper breaths and relax your shoulders
• Breathe in gently through the nose and out of the mouth, count 1 to 5 steadily
• Without pausing let your breath out , count 1 to 5 steadily
• Continue for a few minutes until you feel relaxed

The Takeaway
Stress in the workplace needs managing because it can cause depression and anxiety resulting in an increased heart rate and breath rate. Furthermore, it may lead to a loss in productivity and the ability to stay motivated which can lead to low morale and sickness from work.

The listed strategies are only a handful of ways one may reduce stress whilst at work. Each stress scenario is dependent on the type of work you do, who you work with and factors leading up to the way you are feeling.

Companies are now working ever harder to ensure stress is identified and managed better amongst their employees. Occupational health departments assist with stress related issues providing facilities such as counselling/stress support groups.

Companies also offer flexible working, enabling you to do the school run or wait for the gas man. There is further emphasis on regular team reviews where you can talk freely amongst your co-workers. Management are also more accustomed to offering an open door policy to encourage openness with employees. These opportunities are recognised as helping staff to better manage or discuss stress in the workplace.

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