By Claudia Tay
Our workplaces are a source of where stresses are being built up. Most of the time stress builds up during work hours, and very often we carry this stress load back with us, to home. The ease of mobile devices only compounds the problem, as we carry them around with us everywhere. The urge and pressure to respond quickly to all the messages and work emails add on more to the stress and anxiety.
The chronic level of stress is not easy to manage. In severe situations, it begins to impact not just our professional lives, but, our personal lives as well. Therefore, it is vital that we learn how to manage pressure and stress at work.
Here is a list of some common reasons that can cause stress in the workplace:
- – Excessive workload.
- – Work that is not engaging.
- – Lack of support structure.
- – No control over work-place decisions.
- – Conflicting demands and unclear performance expectations.
A certain level of stress is essential to drive and motivate us to accomplish challenges. However, when the level is excessive, it will be counter-productive and leads to the build-up of stress at work.
Stress, if left unchecked, will take a toll on employees’ health and well-being. It is, therefore, the responsibilities of both the employers and employees to work hand in hand to manage stress and create and cultivate a productive and motivating workplace.
Below, we have created a short list on what you can do to beat stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to feel pressure to be available 24/7. Please do yourself a favour; it is essential and logical to establish some work-life boundaries for yourself. Perhaps, you can start by making a rule not to check your email from home in the evening. Creating a “No Phones” rule during dinner will allow you to talk to your family members.
Different people have different preferences when it comes to how much they blend their work and home life. Establishing clear boundaries between these realms can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the stress that goes with it.
Sweat and Smile:
Rather than fight stress with unhealthy choices like fast food and alcohol, make healthy decisions when you feel that pressure is building up.
Exercise is a great stress-buster. Running is an excellent choice, as it can be done on an individual level indoor in a gym or running outdoors, but any form of physical activity is beneficial. All you need is at least 20 mins of moderate running to sweat and beat the stress.
Another healthy choice is to take 15 minutes of “ME” time by brisk walking. Try it! It works wonder for me.
Switch-off and Smile:
Everyone needs time to replenish and return to a pre-stress level of functioning; this is to avoid the adverse effects of chronic stress and burnout.
This recovery process is essential, and it requires you to “switch off” from work for a while. You can either take short and multiple “switch off” time or an extended holiday to disengage yourself from work.
Many have discovered the benefits of “Me” time, its time you try it and reap the benefits.
Relax and Smile:
There are many established relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga.
You can begin by taking just 10 to 15 minutes to focus on simple activities like deep breathing or walking. Start with two times per week and begin to scale up when you are more comfortable with it.
Once you are tired of doing it alone, find kindred spirits to try it together and see how your stress melt away.
Talk about it.
We started the article by highlighting the various causes of stress at work. Employers and workplace management have a part to play in the creation of tension. Studies have shown that employees’ health is linked to productivity at work. Therefore, as an employer, it is a responsibility to create a work environment that promotes employee well-being.
Start by having an open conversation with your line manager. The purpose of this is to highlight the issues and come up with an effective plan for managing the stresses you have identified. Employee Motivation is a two way traffic, some parts of the plan may be designed to help you improve your skills in areas such as priority setting and time management.
The other elements might include tapping into employer-sponsored wellness resources and clarifying on what is expected of you, by your line manager.
Very often, communication can provide solutions and open new opportunities to manage your stress level.
Get some support
It is crucial for employers to create a supportive work environment in promoting mental wellness.
Here is a list of suggestions for employers, to help them achieve employee well-being and create a stress-free workplace environment:
1) Promote Mental Health literacy by conducting Workshop & Talks at least once or twice a year.
– These workshops can be 45 mins/ 1-hour talk.
– Seminars and discussions can be on topics like ways to prevent dementia, promote mental wellness, and manage stress, moreover, to build psychological resilience.
2) Offer friendly in-house counselling and form an internal committee to manage employee well-being.
3) Offer accessible resources by providing external helpline information.
When employees are aware, they can take charge of their mental health and can manage stress at workplace. Moreover, having a productive, engaging and healthy workforce is very important and makes a significant impact on a person’s mental and emotional health.
* Employers can tap on 2 Grants by Health Promotion Board as below.
- a) Mental Health Workplace Programme – email: HPB_MHE@hpn.gov.sg
- b) SME Health+