In the high powered, fast moving society we live in and with many companies downsizing, today's employees are expected to do more with less, as demands rise time diminishes, creating an alarming trend of workplace stress and overwhelm.
Last year in the UK alone the total figure for work-related stress, depression and anxiety was a staggering 39%. Contributing factors to feelings of overwhelm include worries about performing well, pressure to be continuously plugged in and office politics with colleagues.
In a corporate culture where pressure has become a given, how can we empower ourselves to change our job situation for the better to avoid getting bogged down by overwhelm?
Here are eight ways to stress less:
1 Identify What's Making You Overwhelmed
The impact of the recession has caused many companies to make budget cuts and downsize in staff numbers, creating a domino effect for its employees. With additional work responsibilities, job roles have become increasingly demanding. If you want to successfully adapt to these changes it's vital to identify the root cause(s) of your overwhelm. Reflective questioning is a great way to achieve this, ask yourself questions such as, are the volume of tasks too high? Do i need to up skill? What skills do I need to feel competent? And, what can I do to change my situation for the better? Directing your thoughts from stress to solutions puts you in a position to change your situation to one that's more suited to you.
2 Prioritise And Organise
When you have a long list of tasks to complete it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by your commitments. Getting into a habit of prioritising and organising gives you clarity. Take time to regularly review your schedule and responsibilities, by doing so you're clear on which of your tasks are should's and which are 'musts' you can then move anything that isn't an immediate priority to the bottom of your list. Dedicating ten minutes of time each day to plan your workload and allocate relevant timeslots to your tasks puts you in a position to feel more organised and perform more effectively.
3. Learn Emotional Intelligence
When working in a stressful environment you can easily get sucked into negativity. Learning and practising emotional intelligence gives you the power to manage your emotions in a more constructive way, one which is supportive to your levels of confidence and self-control.
Some key factors include:
•Self-awareness - Having an ability to recognise your emotions and their impact when decision making.
•Self-management - Being able to manage your emotions and behaviours to adapt to changing circumstances.
•Social awareness -The ability to sense and understand the emotions of others, helping you to connect with others, manage conflict and feel comfortable in social settings.
Satisfaction and success at work is just as much about emotional intelligence as it is about intellectual ability. By integrating emotional intelligence you can learn to communicate better, repair wounded feelings and defuse situations more effectively.
4. Ditch Bad Habits
Allowing yourself to get caught up in bad habits is a sure way to heighten stress levels. If you're always running late set your clocks faster so you can give yourself more time, if your desk is always a mess organise it and get rid of clutter, just knowing where everything is can help to save time and energy. Taking ownership of self-defeating habits allows you to take charge of any contributing stress factors. By shifting your focus from stressing about the things you can't control towards the things you can, you're likely to feel a lot more empowered.
5 Talk To Your Boss
If you feel completely burnt out with your work load or you're struggling to stay afloat, the best thing you can do is to speak to your boss. It can sometimes become a habit to complain about your work stress to everyone apart from the one person who can help you to resolve it. Start by writing a list of your work related activities and note down the time spent on each task, see if you can come up with any ideas that would help you to reduce your workload and then plan a time to sit down with your boss to express how you're feeling. Being open about your challenges is the only way your boss can help you to find a solution.
6 Reach Out To The Right People
Who you hang out with can impact who you are; the people you spend most of your time interacting with can have a big influence on your level of job satisfaction. Are you choosing to spend time with colleagues who are constantly stressed out and complaining or with colleagues who are supportive, relaxed and fun to be around? When you choose to consciously surround yourself with the right people you gain a different perspective and a boosted level of morale.
7 Take Breaks
Many employees are part of a culture that can involve working through lunch or panicking at the thought of taking routine breaks. With our body's energy running out every 120 minutes it's important to allow yourself a short break to grab some air or make a drink so that you can recharge instead of blankly staring at a computer screen. Allow yourself to let go of feeling guilty for taking a lunch break and instead use the time as an opportunity to step outside and go for a walk, as a result you'll feel more refreshed, think clearer and be more productive. All work and no play is a sure way to burnout.
8 Take Care Of Yourself
If feelings of overwhelm start creeping into your personal life or impact your health, it's time to take action. Including fitness as a part of your daily routine can help you to release the day's stresses and maintain a clear head, eating healthier foods provides higher energy levels to assist you in tackling your 'to do' list and getting enough sleep ensures you're well-rested enough to maintain your emotional balance. Taking care of yourself doesn't have to involve a complete lifestyle overhaul; by implementing small changes to your routine you'll benefit from your mood being lifted, your stress levels decreasing and your energy levels rising, all of which counteract work stress.
Taking steps to make positive changes minimises feelings of workplace stress and overwhelm which can be beneficial to your entire lifestyle. Moving to a space of professional paradise is about adjusting both your mind-set and behaviours to ones that are self-supportive, by doing so you'll be able to re-connect with the things you enjoy about your job instead of focusing on the things you dislike.