Shenita Sanders, MA, CPPC
What is Job Stress?
Job stress is something we all face as workers — and we all handle it differently. There is no getting around it. But, not all stress is bad, and learning how to deal with and manage stress is critical to our maximizing our job performance, staying safe on the job, and maintaining our physical and mental health.
Symptoms & Warning Signs of Job Stress
While the causes can be something other than job stress, here are the most common symptoms and early warning signs of job stress and burnout:
Physical problems (headaches, stomach problems)
Strategies for Managing Job Stress
While many of the methods of preventing job stress need to be developed and supported by the organization, there are things that workers can do to help you better manage job stress.
Here are 10 tips for dealing with the stress from your job:
1. Put it in perspective. Jobs are disposable. Your friends, families, and health are not. If your employer expects too much of you, and it’s starting to take its toll on you, start looking for a new job/new employer.
2. Modify your job situation. If you really like your employer, but the job has become too stressful (or too boring), ask about tailoring your job to your skills. And if you got promoted into a more stressful position that you just are not able to handle, ask about a lateral transfer — or even a transfer back to your old job (if that’s what you want).
3. Get time away. If you feel the stress building, take a break. Walk away from the situation, perhaps walking around the block, sitting on a park bench, taking in a little meditative time. Exercise does wonders for the psyche. But even just finding a quiet place and listening to your iPod can reduce stress.
4. Fight through the clutter. Taking the time to organization your desk or workspace can help ease the sense of losing control that comes from too much clutter. Keeping a to-do list — and then crossing things off it — also helps.
5. Talk it out. Sometimes the best stress-reducer is simply sharing your stress with someone close to you. The act of talking it out -– and getting support and empathy from someone else — is often an excellent way of blowing of steam and reducing stress. Have a support system of trusted people.
6. Cultivate allies at work. Just knowing you have one or more co-workers who are willing to assist you in times of stress will reduce your stress level. Just remember to reciprocate and help them when they are in need.
7. Find humor in the situation. When you –- or the people around you — start taking things too seriously, find a way to break through with laughter. Share a joke or funny story.
8. Have realistic expectations. While Americans are working longer hours, we can still only fit so much work into one day. Having unrealistic expectations for what you can accomplish sets you up for failure — and increased stress.
9. Nobody is perfect. If you are one of those types that obsess over every detail and micromanage to make sure “everything is perfect,” you need to stop. Change your motto to performing your best, and leave perfection to the gods.
10. Maintain a positive attitude (and avoid those without one). Negativism sucks the energy and motivation out of any situation, so avoid it whenever possible. Instead, develop a positive attitude — and learn to reward yourself for little accomplishments (even if no one else does).
Okay, so it’s a cliche, but your health is everything. You need to take care of yourself, and no job, customer, or boss is worth putting yourself at risk. Find a way out through one or more of our 10 strategies. Take control of your situation — and fix it — and you will have better mental and physical health, as well as better relationships with the people around you.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen- Founder of Quintessential Careers
Can you work toward a happier work environment?