How to Deal with Anxiety and Stress in the Workplace
Stress in the workplace is a significant cost to both personal health and government coffers. People who feel overwhelmed with work feel physically and mentally sick, unable to perform both personal and professional duties. Even if you looked past anecdotal incidents, work stress incurs a huge cost. Over $543 million was paid out to workers due to mental health-related reasons. Work-related stress represents a considerable cost, and it needs to be remedied.
Causes of stress in the workplace
Stress happens due to several reasons and can change depending on the workplace, the nature of work and the abilities of each person. One consistent cause found behind stress is the nature of work concerning the person’s capability. If an individual is overwhelmed by the amount of work and feels like they cannot handle it, then they will feel stressed out. In some cases, stress helps someone to work faster and be more alert. However, if stress persists or is chronic, then it can be detrimental to the capabilities of that person.
The volume of work is not the sole cause of stress in the workplace, for other factors related to work culture can also induce stress. Workers expected to meet certain standards but lacking the resources to support them will feel stressed out due to the pressure. If people regularly work long hours (to deal with the heavy loads), then they will feel stressed too. Workers who are insecure about their job, have little autonomy, and feel like they are working a dead-end job are also likely to feel stressed.
In addition to work, social dynamics and office culture also play a role in stressing out workers. If there are constant changes within the organisation, poor relationships with colleagues and even incidents of harassment, this will create stress in the workplace.
Symptoms of stress in the workplace
Stress in the workplace leads to several physical and mental challenges down the line.
Mental challenges include:
- Inability to concentrate
- Unable to think creatively
- Feeling anxious and discouraged
- Irritable and angry
Physical challenges include:
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle tension
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Skin disorders
Stress in the workplace leads to several problems that affect personal and company well-being. Those who are fatigued and tired will see a dip in creativity and the quality of their work. When people are feeling physically and mentally ill, they will take time off, leading to employee absenteeism. As people become more moody and irritable, you will see relationships suffer, which leads to problems in the workplace.
How to deal with workplace stress
There are several ways for people to deal with stress in the workplace. Managing volume by prioritising work reduces stress because you know what’s important. Take care of your mental well-being with regular breathing exercises like yoga and meditation. At the same time, avoid substances that will amplify your stress like alcohol and cigarettes and focus on healthy foods.
Besides a healthy diet, you need to make sure that you are comfortable. Workplace stress is amplified by discomfort, especially if you are sitting all day. You can talk to your immediate manager or someone in HR and see what can be done. It’s also important not to take out your irritation on family (tempting as it might be). Instead, use your family as a support system by telling them about your situation. Talking to someone about your problems is a great way to alleviate stress.
If none of these suggestions work you can seek out professional help either by visiting your GP first or setting up an appointment with a psychologist.
Benefits of reducing workplace stress
When workplace stress is reduced, it leads to several benefits that include:
- Better engagement from workers
- Lower rates of absenteeism
- Increased productivity
- Higher levels of job satisfaction
- Fewer incidents of illness.
- Improved community well being
Stress in the workplace is detrimental to one’s physical and mental wellbeing. People will feel stressed out when they feel overwhelmed with the volume of work they must tackle. Stress happens due to several reasons.
For example, individuals may feel insecure about their jobs or they are overwhelmed by their work and have little autonomy in their jobs. Workplace stress triggers several problems like absenteeism, illness and depression. As discussed above, those of you who do feel stress at work have several options you can try out to reduce workplace stress.
Learn more about the causes of stress, symptoms, and treatment of anxiety and stress via onPsych.