How to Handle Stress at Work

If you're feeling overwhelmed at work, you're not alone. The good news is that there are practical strategies you can implement to handle workplace stress effectively. Read on to discover helpful tips for managing stress at work.

A person holding a monster of stress on the leash

Summary. Addressing and resolving systemic problems causing workplace stress is necessary to deal with many of the factors that can be toxic in the workplace setting.

Addressing workplace anxiety is a noteworthy challenge as it affects the workforce globally.

By work-related stress, we mean psychological and emotional strain that accumulates over time due to prolonged exposure to demanding circumstances or environments within one's occupation.

Accumulated stress is dangerous because it has significant costs to both employers and employees, such as decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher healthcare costs.

Symptoms of work-related stress include fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and depression.

It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as heavy workload, long working hours, productivity overdrive, conflict management skills deficiency, and job insecurity.

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Here are some statistics from the search results:

1. According to the American Institute of Stress, 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress, with 25% saying their job is the number one stressor in their lives. About one million Americans miss work each day because of stress.

2. The US Department of Labor records 54% of workers reporting that work stress affects their home life.

3. 63% of U.S. workers account they’re ready to quit their job to avoid work-related stress.

4. Other troubling findings state that depression and anxiety link to 51% of work-related health issues, and 55% of the lost working days were missing due to those health cases.

5. As per surveys, healthcare expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress.

The alarming statistics reported, including high levels of job stress, missed workdays, and health issues, highlight the urgent need for employers to prioritize stress management in the workplace.

Strategies for Employers to Help Employees Manage Workplace Stress

Workplace stress can have negative effects on mental health and job performance. Shockingly, in 2022, Great Britain recorded a staggering 23.3 million sick days due to poor mental health.

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It is essential for an employer to prioritize employees' well-being first, be on watch out for toxic culture and implement effective strategies to manage and mitigate stress at work.

Success in creating a balanced work environment is determined by three factors:

  • autonomy
  • competence
  • relatedness.

It also heavily depends on meeting fundamental needs such as fair pay, secure and healthy working conditions, employment stability, professional growth prospects, and a positive team dynamic.

Regarding these factors, employers can:

✅ Establish flexible hours policies and offer telecommuting options by implementing time tracking (it eliminates risks of micromanagement and assists employees in balancing their work and personal obligations)

✅ Create a culture where it's okay to talk about stress by promoting a transparent and empathetic manner in communication (it helps develop a positive work climate based on a leadership structure)

✅ Give staff access to tools for taking care of their wellbeing, such as wellness programs, stress-management webinars, yoga or meditation classes, counseling services, or an employee assistance program (it provides coping and resilience mechanisms and increases workers' awareness of where to seek assistance if needed).

✅ Build a system of checks and balances while delegating and assigning tasks to prevent employees from feeling overwhelmed with their workload (it ensures that employees understand their roles and responsibilities so they can avoid unnecessary stress)

✅ Encourage breaks and time off (it allows employees to get a powerful instrument in preventing burnout)

✅ Facilitate competence by investing time and resources in enabling people to master different dimensions of their jobs, gain proficiency, and advance expertise (it helps build confidence, accomplishment, job satisfaction, and self-awareness).

✅ Assign stretch projects or targeted training/development initiatives that challenge current abilities (it provides opportunities for cross-training, shadowing, rotations, special projects, and secondments).

✅ Offer rewards and incentives for scenarios involving extra work or extra hours (it gives a motivational boost and helps regulate team workloads).

The Bottom Line: Work stress is a prevalent issue that can impact employees' mental and physical health, as well as their productivity and job satisfaction.

While individuals should definitely take responsibility for their own mental health and stress management, employers are also to provide support to reduce stress in their workforce.

Employees who feel supported by their company will likely perform better and be less prone to absences due to physical or mental illnesses caused by excessive stress exposure.

Techniques For Employees to Stay Calm and Productive

meditating person

For employees, the first step is to know what stress actually is. Being associated with anxiety and depression, stress is perceived negatively.

However, lots of professions have inherent stressors that are typical and expected. There are obligations to attend meetings, finalize transactions, and cater to the needs of other people as a part of our work.

Stress is a common experience in the workplace. To help handle stress, here are some practical tips:

✅ Write down stressors (it helps identify scenarios that must be addressed)

✅ Develop healthy responses (try relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, or going for a walk to establish boundaries at work).

✅ Talk to your supervisor (discuss your concerns about job stress and work together to find solutions)

✅ Build a healthy sleep routine (Establishing a consistent sleep routine proves crucial for reducing stress at work and improving overall well-being)

✅ Master breathing techniques (they can be an easy-to-apply powerful tool in reducing stress)

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✅ Choose a healthy and balanced diet (eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy can benefit not only your body but your mind as well. This can help give you more energy and better manage stress levels at work. It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day)

✅ Resist perfectionism (it leads to overthinking and increasing stress levels)

✅ Create a pre-work ritual (it helps build a smooth transition to work)

✅ Practice meditation and acupressure (it reduces anxiety and helps keep focus)

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✅ Seek professional help (Consult a mental health provider if you are not able to manage your feelings of job stress or burnout)

✅ Prioritize a good work environment (By looking for a corporation with a reputation for fostering a nurturing work climate, you can decrease the likelihood of encountering substantial stress levels.)

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✅ Take time to recharge (take breaks throughout your workday to recharge, exercise regularly, and engage in activities you enjoy. If you are not sure, try something new like uitwaaien).

infographic for releasing anxiety

To enrich your approach to reducing stress, exploring wellness principles that have stood the test of time across diverse cultures may prove beneficial.

The Bottom Line: By adopting techniques for handling stress and engaging in self-care activities, employees increase their chances of enjoying positivity while simultaneously improving their overall mental health.

Although you are not obliged to try every method suggested above, implementing any one of them when you feel overwhelmed can certainly make a difference, ultimately contributing to better mental health outcomes and higher levels of job satisfaction.


quote on self-care for coping with stress

Healthy minds lead to productive work. Managing job stress isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. Both employers and employees need to take proactive steps toward creating a stress-free work environment.

Remember that there are no one-fit-all strategies, but by following the rules below, you are guaranteed to manage work-related stress effectively.

Prioritizing and Time Management

Want to conquer work-related stress and reignite your passion for your job? The secret lies in striking the perfect balance between work and play! Prioritize your personal life, master the art of time management, and watch as your productivity soars and your stress melts away.

Give a try to time blocking, breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, and setting realistic goals.

Breaks and Self-Care

Taking regular breaks and practicing self-care activities also help reduce work-related stress. Examples of self-care activities include exercise, meditation, and spending time with loved ones.

Communication and Boundaries

Setting boundaries and practicing effective communication is another effective way of handling work-related stress. It implies mastering skills of workload management, task delegation, and being assertive in building healthy boundaries.

Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Examples of mindfulness exercises include deep breathing and meditation. Relaxation techniques can encompass stretching or taking a walk during breaks.

Seeking Help

If work-related stress becomes overwhelming, it may be necessary to seek professional help. Resources available for managing work-related stress can include:

  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
  • counseling services
  • support groups.

By prioritizing self-care and taking breaks when needed, we're not just keeping our productivity levels up – we're also investing in our overall well-being. It's like filling up our gas tank, so we can drive at peak performance and enjoy the ride!

Every small action counts; let's make stress-free work a reality.