WORKPLACE / APR. 08, 2013
version 75, draft 75

How to Handle Workplace Stress

Stress in the workplace is becoming increasingly common in today’s fast paced, modern society. In our difficult economic climate, many people are finding it harder than ever to cope with the day-to-day pressures of work. Despite putting in long hours, many people complain that they simply do not have enough hours in the day to complete all of their tasks and duties to a competent level.

Anybody that works in a challenging position will almost always be exposed to stress at some point or other. However, when the pressure becomes excessive and you feel unable to deal with it, then you are suffering from stress. Statistics suggest that one in five people suffer from workplace related stress, which can often lead to extended sick leave and other serious issues.

Stress is a real threat to your health and safety and it is important to acknowledge if you think you are suffering from it. Maintained high levels of stress in the human body are extremely dangerous and can have a lasting, negative impact on one’s personal and work life. Sleep becomes deprived, health diminishes, and one’s overall ability to handle pressure gradually worsens. This is why it is incredibly important to employ some coping strategies in order to better handle workplace stress.

Take care of yourself:

Regular exercise has been scientifically proven to significantly reduce stress and it is vital to introduce this into your weekly schedule if you have not already done so. A healthy diet can aid in alleviating stress and maintaining your blood sugar levels. Smoking when you’re feeling stressed may seem calming at the time, but nicotine will ultimately lead to higher levels of anxiety. Finally, a good night’s sleep is crucial in reducing stress and maintaining emotional balance.

Prioritize and organize:

There are many ways to deal with workplace stress. One of the first steps in dealing with stress is to become more organized. Write a regular to-do list (for example on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the nature of your work), and cross of the tasks that you have accomplished. Prioritize your workload and list your to-do list in order of priority. There may be certain tasks that take precedence over others, meaning that some of your responsibilities may not be completed on time or will become a last priority. Be practical about your workload and if there are tasks that need doing that you know you simply cannot do, try to delegate them. If this is unsuccessful, address this issue with management. Being organized is vital in keeping afloat of things.

Become mentally conscious:

Take a moment of your time to collect your thoughts. Often it feels as if you are balancing many responsibilities and your thoughts are whizzing through your mind uncontrollably. Take a moment to refocus your mind, by making a drink, having a snack, or simply taking some time out to breathe. Deep breathing techniques have been proven to reduce stress and restore a sense of calm. The more time spent practicing this, the more you will feel able to gain control of your stress when it begins to kick in. 

Workplace comfort plays a key role in reducing workplace stress. If you are physically uncomfortable you will become more sensitive to stress and more easily frustrated. Do what is in your power to ensure that you are working in a comfortable working environment at all times.

Discuss your concerns

Address your issues with your employer or with the HR department. Oftentimes managers are unaware of the stress that their employees are under and if this is addressed, you will be offered advice and assistance on how best to deal with this. Do not ignore the warning signs of stress as they will only lead to bigger problems. Aside from interfering with job performance and satisfaction, chronic or intense stress can also lead to physical and emotional health problems.

  • Take responsibility for improving your personal, physical and emotional wellbeing.
  • Avoid pitfalls by identifying negative attitudes that may add to the stress you experience at work.
  • Learn how to communicate more effectively.

Once you leave the office it is important to try and completely switch off from work. Listen to music in the car, have a chat with a friend – do what you can to let go of the day. 


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