May 24, 2023 | Mental Health

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Tips to Help Reduce Stress at Work

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Stress. Even the word can evoke powerful emotions. When it comes to our professional lives, there are many different factors that can lead to feelings of overwhelm, and stress is often inevitable. However, while some stress can be beneficial in keeping you motivated and goal orientated, it can also begin to feel like too much to handle. Therefore, we would like to discuss some tips to help reduce stress at work.

“26 per cent of Canadians that report work stressors as their primary source of stress cite volume of work (25 per cent), performance demands (14 per cent) and lack of support (12 per cent) as the leading sources.”

Telus Health

Stay organized 

A little organization can make the world of difference regarding your stress levels. It is good practice to keep your tasks recorded, and ensure you have a system that helps you stay on track and enables you meet deadlines. Whether this be using online tools, or pen and paper, find the best method for yourself. At the start of each week, make a list of items that you need to accomplish. Prioritize the ones that are most important and work your way to the least important. The act of crossing items off your to do list can instantly relieve your stress as you lighten your workload.  

It is also key to ensure your workspace works for you. A cluttered, and disorganized space can often increase stress and anxiety. It can also reduce productivity as it can serve as a distraction from what your need to get done. If you work from home, create a comfortable and practical space that is conducive to not only helping you accomplish your goals, but also sets the tone for your workday. If you work in an office, try to bring some comforts of home that can help you feel more relaxed. At the end of the day, tidy up your workspace so that it can welcome you the next day. 

Communicate 

Communication is key. This can mean different things for different people, so it’s important to understand what you need to be successful. If you are unsure of expectations, ask for clarification. If you are feeling overwhelmed with a project, communicate your roadblocks and ask colleagues for advice, feedback, or a brainstorming session. If you prefer emails over phone calls, be sure to voice your preferences. When able, use those means of technology so that you are comfortable and able to communicate effectively. 

One major cause of stress in the workplace can be conflict. Therefore, if you are experiencing issues with an individual be sure to effectively, and professionally discuss how you are feeling with them directly. If you don’t receive what you need from that person, and the situation doesn’t show signs of resolve, take your issue to management. While this can be daunting, you will feel better, and much less stressed once the situation is handled appropriately.  

Ask for support 

In many instances, we take on too much. While there are expectations regarding your workload and what is to be accomplished, you also can rely on the expertise of your team when needed. Ask for help, and don’t be afraid to admit when you’re overwhelmed, or require additional support.  

Mental health in the workplace is something that should be taken seriously. However, we understand that is not always the case for many people. Therefore, if you are struggling, and not receiving the support you need, it may be time to consider other options. If the workplace you are in provides mental health resources and support, be sure to utilize and understand what is available to you. There is no shame in asking for help, whether it be personally or professionally. 

Clock out  

With the ease of technology, this one can be the most challenging! We are always available, but that doesn’t mean we should be. If your workday finishes at 5pm, and you continue to receive emails or messages into the evening, they can wait until the following day.  

When your workday concludes, it is a good idea to have an end of workday routine. If you commute, this might mean treating yourself to your favourite coffee, while listening to music or a podcast during your drive. If you work from home, it is even more important to do an activity that signals your brain and body that the day is done. Perhaps that means taking a walk, having a workout, reading for a bit, or quietly relaxing in your backyard. Whatever helps bring your stress levels down, and resets you for the evening, should be implemented into your end of day routine. 

While stress is inevitable, it shouldn’t be debilitating. We hope these tips have helped, and that you are able to weave some of these strategies into your professional life.  

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