Written by Anna Bernstein on 28 Aug 2014
Stress is the feeling of being under immense pressure, and can impact on both your mental and physical well-being. That sense of being under pressure becomes stress when it starts to feel overwhelming, that you are unable to cope, that it’s just too much.
Stress is an extremely difficult emotion and mental state to manage, and can have a devastating impact on all aspects of your life - especially your health.
Perhaps the single biggest cause of stress in modern life is work. In the work environment, it is all too easy, and common, to allow our workloads, deadlines and the expectations of clients and colleagues to get on top of us. When stress gets on top of us, it prohibits our ability to achieve our best; it hinders our performance and decreases our morale.
We all experience stress to different degrees throughout our lives, and that feeling of pressure and urgency can no doubt help us achieve our potential. However, stress at work should never get to the point where it begins to affect our lives outside the office.
It is essential that we educate ourselves to become aware of stress so that we can learn to manage it effectively and act before it becomes a problem.
Learning some basic stress management techniques will not only help you identify what makes you stressed in the first place, but will help you to better avoid it in future.
If you are prone to stress, understanding what triggers your stress levels to rise is a good first step in managing it effectively. However, everyone is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some find large workloads stressful, while others have difficulty with deadlines and time restrictions.
Write down a list of the factors that you recognise as stressing you out, putting the most stressful at the top.
Understanding what makes us stressed can better prepare us for demanding situations, allowing us to plan and manage ourselves to be better equipped and, ultimately, cope.
Poor time management is the biggest contributor to high stress levels - that feeling that we are never going to finish, and that we haven’t got enough time to do everything that we need to. These thoughts are counterproductive and prohibit us from achievement.
If time management isn’t your strong point, we highly recommend you read our recent blog post aimed at helping you to improve your time management skills.
As well as time management, you need to be able to self-manage in order to work efficiently and productively. Keeping a to-do list, prioritising tasks and disciplining yourself are all important factors when it comes to battling stress.
An important part of fighting stress, of all varieties, is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Diet, exercise, relaxation and sleep all play a significant role in our health and well-being; no job is worth comprising any of these.
Be sure that you are drinking plenty of water at work and not too much caffeine. Eat regularly and healthily, taking time to eat a proper breakfast and lunch and not just filling up on snacks. Take regular breaks away from your computer screen and stretch your legs.
The human body and mind cannot function without a healthy balance between activity, diet and taking time to relax.
Be kind to yours and allow it to operate at its optimum capability. Make sure it’s not just at work that is at the front of your mind, do your best to get sufficient exercise, eat well and take time to relax.
Finally, and most importantly, don’t suffer in silence. It is all too common for people feeling stressed to imagine that they are the only ones feeling that way; that it’s embarrassing or a sign of weakness to admit that you are struggling to cope.
Never forget that everyone gets stressed and everyone needs help at some point in their life. There is no shame in talking about your stress or asking for help from colleagues or family and friends.
If you feel like work is getting on top of you, speak to your employer. If they don’t know that you are struggling then they can’t help you.
Never be afraid to talk about stress, and never be afraid to ask for help.