Combatting Negative Stress in the Workplace

Negative Stress Gauge

When you strive to give your work 100%, 100% of the time, it’s going to lead to stress. With our expertise in aseptic isolation, we know a thing or two about negative pressure.

It doesn’t matter how much you love your job. At some point, things are going to get stressful.

Deadlines, budgets, relationships, and a thousand other factors all come into play to keep us from performing at our very best.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), some 60% of American workers feel workplace-related stress regularly. Workplace stress has become an epidemic, so it’s beyond time that we all learn how to deal with it better.

What Causes Stress?

There are thousands of polls each year that cover stress in the workplace. Almost without fail, respondents name the same concerns: Money, performance expectations, bosses, and healthcare. Taken individually, none of these concerns would stand out from a list of usual stressors. But when you look at the fact that the workplace is the one area where all of them come into play, it’s easy to see why combating stress at work is such a topic of discussion.

Identifying Stress Warning Signs

The signs of too much stress in your life are easy to spot, but they’re also easy to mistake. Headaches, lethargy, and muscle aches could mean you didn’t sleep well last night. Or they could be signs of stress. The best practice is to look at everything that you’re feeling, and then decide what’s causing the problems. Here are some warning signs that you’ll want to watch:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Digestive problems
  • Tense muscles
  • Headaches

If you’ve spotted the problems, the first step to solving them is to take action. So step back, take a deep breath, and get ready to get better.

Solving Workplace Stress

It starts at home — A healthy diet helps more than your waistline. Eating the right foods can help your energy, your level of concentration, and your overall level of stress. Take time to plan out your meals for the week. Not only will you save money, but you will also find yourself healthier.

Talk it out — The old water cooler serves as more than a place for refreshment. It’s also where employees can take a few minutes to lean on each other for support. Try talking to someone in a different department, who is likely to see things from another perspective. But don’t leave the boss out of the discussion. They can often solve many problems if they know what is happening.

Change positions — Studies about the dangers of sitting have come to light over the past few years. Not only is sitting all day bad for your health, but it’s also bad for your stress symptoms too. If you have the ability, stand up at your desk or go for a walking meeting. Small changes can add a lot of movement to your day.

Set boundaries — Today’s jobs end up going home with us far more often than they should. We don’t see the danger in answering a few emails after dinner or taking a call on the way to work. But it’s important to have time away from the office so that you can best use the hours when you’re there. Don’t be afraid to set an Out of Office responder on your email at five P.M., or to send a call to voicemail instead of feeling like it has to be answered now.

Use your vacation — The workaholic syndrome has become an epidemic. A growing percentage of workers who are eligible for vacation refuse to take it each year. But instead of performing better than those who use the vacation that they’ve earned, these employees are burning out from carrying stress. Your boss, your team, and your family all need you to take your vacation days, so don’t be afraid to use them.

Get some help — Workplace wellness programs have grown in popularity. The best ones involve far more than discounted gym memberships and fitness trackers. Most insurance today covers mental health, so put it to good use. Speaking with a counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s a sign that you understand how valuable it is to have a third party’s ear.

Good housekeeping — Learn to triage. Not everything is an emergency, some things are merely important. When we try to give equal attention to every matter all at once, we will often let things fall through the cracks that needed to be dealt with first. If it seems like everything is critically important, talk to the stakeholders who can help determine which parts need your attention first.

Platitudes don’t solve problems. Managing stress in the workplace starts with each individual making an educated assessment of their problems and potential solutions. Combatting that stress doesn’t fall onto one person. It includes everyone, from the newest employee to the most tenured person in management.

At Custom Powder Systems, we’re incredibly proud of our workplace safety record… it affords us a number of benefits including lower insurance costs which we can pass onto our customers. If you’re interested in learning more about the why, hows, and whos of the ways we do the things we do, sign up here to receive our emails.

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