As you slowly make your way back to the office and transition from the working from home lifestyle, you can be met with a whole new set of stressful tasks and situations.
Stress is a natural part of our working life. We want to perform well, meet demands and achieve goals. Stress can be a positive motivator for us to perform at our best, however, chronic workplace stress and constant pressure can have an impact on both your physical and mental health.
To mark International Stress Awareness Week (November 1 – 5), Smiling Mind has collated our top five tips to help recognise and combat chronic workplace stress, to make life in the office more productive, enjoyable and calm for you and your colleagues.
1. Recognise, learn and understand your personal indicators of stress
By understanding your own signs of stress, you can proactively implement a range of cognitive and behavioural strategies to ease your occupational stress. Signs of destructive or debilitating stress can be physical, psychological or behavioural (or all three). Recognising the signs is the first step to acting early and addressing the cause of your stress before it has a damaging impact on your health and wellbeing, your relationships and your lifestyle.
Familiarise yourself with your personal signs of stress – you may notice increasing headaches, muscle tension, mood swings or procrastination. By recognising your own signs of stress at their initial stages, you can take action to combat them straight away to avoid the negative long term effects of work-related stress.
2. Learn the signs: Recognise and identify stress in your colleagues/team
Not only is recognising your personal stress signs important, but recognising the signs in your colleagues and team is just as imperative to combating the overall stress levels of the workplace. Everyone deals with and experiences stress differently – your symptoms might be very different to your colleagues'. Open and empathic conversations with others, and identifying workplace stressors and possible responses, can help you and your colleagues proactively address a situation to create a more calm and productive workplace environment.
3. Be proactive when you notice stress building amongst the team
Not only is recognising stress within yourself and your wider workplace important, acting on the signs and symptoms before they become overwhelming is another key step to a happier workplace.. Everyone has their own stress capacity, and some can handle a little more stress than others. Despite this, stress and work-related burnout can affect anyone, no matter how well they think they manage their stress. By identifying and moving quickly to act if you or your colleagues are experiencing excessive work-related stress, you can prevent burnout, increase productivity and boost the morale of your entire team, before it’s too late.
4. Tailor or personalise your response to stress
Just as everyone experiences stress differently, everyone also copes with it differently. A strategy that might work very well for you might not work so well for someone else in your team, and vice versa. There are several different ways to help combat the stress of the workplace, from cognitive strategies to improving your time management. Head here for an expanded list.
5. Try something a little different
What if your time management skills are impeccable, and your work ethic is outstanding – and you still experience chronic workplace stress? There are a variety of practices that you can put in place, inside and outside of office hours, that can help you combat workplace stress. Mindfulness– a proven way to reduce stress. The Smiling Mind Stress Management Program for workplaces is an excellent way to begin your journey to calm in the workplace, and at home.
For more workplace related workshops, visit the Smiling Mind website, here.