Dealing with difficult coworkers, a tough boss or an unbearable workload? You're not alone. Stress stemming from your job is perhaps the most common form of anxiety, with a reported 25 percent of adults saying that their career is the biggest source of tension in their lives. From heavy workloads to rude coworkers to stubborn bosses, workplace stressors can take a serious toll on your mental health and productivity.
Moreover, stress can become chronic, leading to feelings of overall anxiety. As a result, problems at work can spill over into your personal life, affecting relationships and diminishing the time you have for relaxation. Intense workplace stress has been known to lead to depression, as well as excess body fat and all of the chronic health conditions related to overweight and obesity.
Stress management tools and techniques may be invaluable in helping you retain your health and sanity to remain a productive employee.
Try these eight tips for tackling workplace stressors:
Identify the main sources of anxiety: Perhaps it's an easy fix, like a loud neighbor whom you can move away from. In other cases, it may be something you can't easily change, like a controlling or rude manager.
When you can change your situation, do it: If you can make a change that will help make your day a little better, why not go for it? Or if you're unsure if it's possible, it might be worth asking about.
Can't make a change? Consider coping strategies: There are ways to reduce the intensity of triggers. For instance, maybe you can bring headphones to drown out the noises of your neighbors. For a tough boss, practice breathing exercises that you can employ during your interactions.
Open the lines of communication: If you're struggling with a difficult situation with a coworker or too heavy a workload, consider speaking up. Whether it's talking to a peer or a manager, approach the situation professionally and avoid general complaining or blame (use "I" statements). If a problem keeps nagging you, talk about it with a supervisor to try to develop a plan to fix the situation.
Get another opinion: Consider your own part in difficult situations at work. Talking to coworkers or friends about their perspective can help.
Take breaks: A great way to let go of stressors is to take a walk in the middle of the day. Even a 15- or 20-minute walk can make all the difference. If you can't walk, at least take a lunch break. A little movement, some healthy food and a change of pace can nourish your body, recharge your mind and keep stress levels low.
Be the change you would like to see: If your office atmosphere is generally tense and unfriendly, why not institute a weekly lunch with coworkers? Or maybe you can start a group that meets after work to go for a walk and vent about workplace stress.
Take care of yourself outside of work: Good physical health—which entails both a balanced diet and exercise—has been associated with lower overall stress levels. Is work causing you to lose sleep or stop exercising? Make time for self care—no one else is going to do it for you. Can't seem to unwind? Consider talking to a therapist or joining a local group.