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Tips For Managing Your Workplace Stress

Although dealing with stress is a normal part of everyday life, it is important to be on the lookout for some of the early warning signs of unhealthy stress. These early symptoms include depression, anxiety, insomnia and headaches.

Additionally, it is important to avoid the stigmas of mental disorders, and to realize that stress is not a weakness, not your fault, and can affect anyone at any time. And, although many who suffer from stress choose to keep it to themselves, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Instead, you can alleviate your stress by speaking with a friend, your doctor or a support service.

According to Northwestern National Life, 40 percent of employees report that their job is very or extremely stressful.

Real-life Case Study
Kristen worked as an executive assistant for the CEO of a large Chicago firm. Kristen was good at her job and often spent long hours at work in order to complete her tasks. She never spoke up or said that something was not possible out of fear that it would make her look incapable.

Eventually, Kristen began to feel stressed. The extra hours spent at work took time away from her family, and she began to struggle in her personal life. Although she told everyone she was fine, it was noticeable that she was not OK. Her health started to suffer, and one bout of illness forced her to miss an entire week of work, which lead to even more stress about how she was going to complete the work asked of her.

During a conversation with a good friend, Kristen recognized that she needed to do something about the stresses of her job, so she initiated a conversation with her boss. She had no idea Kristen was having difficulties. Her boss didn’t want to lose Kristen, and she appreciated her honesty. As a result, they both vowed to communicate better going forward, and to prioritize Kristen’s workload more efficiently. 

Tips To Manage Your Stress
Pressures of long working hours and low job security can be felt in many workplaces. However,

  • Realize that it is OK to sometimes say no. While always saying yes can make you look like a go-getter in the short term, taking on too much can set you up for failure and increase your stress levels.
  • Learn to speak up. You can prevent stress and exhaustion by knowing how much work you’re able to take on. If you take on too much, you won’t be able to do it well, so choose wisely. If you’re unable to reasonably complete a project, your manager will most likely appreciate it if you outline your reasons and offer an alternate solution.
  • Recognize when you’re stressed. One of the best things to do about workplace stress is simply recognize it exists. Then you can do something about it before it interferes with other aspects of your life.
  • Slow down. Think things through before you act, and begin with a clear goal in mind. This way, you’ll avoid having to start over halfway through a misguided project.
  • Take a break. To relieve stress, make time to take a break. Taking a walk or discussing your work situation with another person may help you gain a new outlook.