We all suffer from stress at some time in our lives, but suffering from work-related stress can make you really ill, and impact your ability to do your job well.
Work-related stress can be caused by different factors, but it is usually brought about by an employer or manager putting too much pressure on an employee.
As an employee, you are paid to do a specific job over a set working day and your working hours should be set out in a contract of employment. You are also entitled to take a 30-minute lunch break by law providing you work more than 6 hours a day.
It is normal to want to do well in your job and impress your boss, but you shouldn’t do this at the expense of your own health. Here are 10 top tips to help you manage your workload and daily activities to minimize your stress levels.
- Prioritise your workload. This might sound obvious but many people don’t do it. Decide what is important and do that first. Leave less critical work until later, or delegate it to someone else.
- Keep a stress diary. When you feel stressed and things are becoming too much to cope with, write down how you are feeling and what you were doing at the time. Try to identify what is causing you the stress. A diary will help you do this.
- Set your alarm clock 30 minutes earlier so you have more time to eat a proper breakfast before you go in to work. Many people skip breakfast, but it is the most important meal of the day.
- Keep your desk at work free from clutter. Remove all unnecessary items and just keep things that enable you to do your job on your desk. Maintaining a tidy and uncluttered work environment helps you focus on work.
- Learn to relax. Stop for 5 minutes each hour if you can. Look away from your computer or get away from the telephone. Take some deep breaths and try to empty your mind.
- Learn to say no! You can’t do everything even if you think you can. Managers and colleagues might ask you to do work but if you don’t have the time, then politely say no. If it is that critical, then make sure they understand your current work will have to be put on hold. Explain that any existing deadline you had will have to be extended. That might prompt them to ask somebody else.
- Eat properly. You are entitled to a lunch break so make sure you take it. Move away from your desk and eat your lunch in a relaxed space so you aren’t tempted to continue working or answering telephones.
- Set realistic goals. It’s healthy to make targets for yourself but make sure they are achievable. If you have to make a certain number of phone calls to clients each day then work out what’s reasonable for you to do.
- Curb your aggression. As things get on top of you, it’s easy to become aggressive towards people. Try not to lose your temper when things go wrong, or when people don’t do what you ask them to do. When you feel that rage starting to build, sit back, take a couple of deep breaths and smile.
- Show some humour. Being able to laugh can be a great tonic for stress. You can turn a stressful situation around just by injecting some humour into a conversation.
Some of our jobs are naturally stressful and the level amount of salary we receive in most cases reflects that increased level of stress. However, there’s no point in doing a job that is slowly draining your life away. So learn how to take stress out of your workplace by following those 10 simple tips.