Managing Stress in the Workplace

In 2018, it seems like we all need to be working non stop to the point of exhaustion to find success. But working that hard, surely has to come with a cost? Often workplace stress can lead to workplace burnout. What exactly is burnout and how can we avoid it?

‘Job burnout is a special type of job stress — a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.’  – Mayo Clinic

When I’m meeting friends for lunch, the same question is always asked, “How’s work?” An array of answers gets thrown around. “So busy”, “It’s absolutely mental, I haven’t stopped”, or the most common, “I’m absolutely wrecked”. Why do we do this to ourselves? Anxiety and depression are now at an 80 year high and it seems like workplace burnout could be a big reason why. Here are some tips on managing stress in the workplace. And if you’re looking for a community who can help you navigate the tricky times, check out our careers group.

Take Regular Breaks

It’s important when you are working, to take regular breaks. If you are looking at a screen all day, it is advised to take a 2-minute break every hour to rest your eyes. Stretching your legs is very important. Instead of going for a coffee or smoke break, grab some water and go outside for some air and the odd spot of sunshine (if there is any). This is great for managing stress in the workplace.

Nuala Murphy, CEO and Founder of Moment Health had some great advice on how she deals with managing stress in the workplace. “I try to get perspective on a scenario or challenge and tap into my amazing network of peers via Lean In. I try and eat well and exercise and move regularly. At Moment Health, we are all about supporting and promoting mental health around the time of parenting so it’s important to me that we ensure and promote above to de-stigmatise negative thoughts or work practice contrary to that.”

Pass the Baton

If you are finding your workload is too much, talk to your boss to see can you pass it onto someone else. I know myself that I want to do everything but then my work suffers. By passing the job onto someone else, I can concentrate on the work I am doing and give it my full attention. It’s totally OK to say no to a project if you feel it is too much.

Eat Well

Make sure you eat. Don’t skip a meal. I know lots of people who work so hard, they live on microwave dinners or sometimes even a pot noodle is their breakfast, lunch and dinner in one go. This is not good for your health let alone your mental health. Taking the time to prepare a meal can be therapeutic in itself. A lot of people meal prep on a Sunday, that way they are prepared for the week ahead. Drinking lots of water help too. In work, it’s so tempting to live off coffee, but drinking more than four cups a day can cause serious health issues.

Talk to Someone

Thinking you are the only one experiencing workplace stress or stress at all can be a huge factor. To feel like you are alone is awful. That’s why talking to a friend or colleague could really help. They will probably tell you they are feeling the same way and are glad that you brought it up because THEY were feeling so alone. And even if they aren’t going through the same thing, it’s good to talk to someone. They can offer you advice and just be a good friend to lend an ear.

Furkan Karayel, CEO and Founder of Diverse In offered some sage advice “millions of people face burnout every day because of the stress they have at the workplace. Without being aware of their situation, they find themselves in an infinite loop. It’s OK “not to be OK” and ask for help. Your health is more important than your stressful work.”

Exercise

The last thing you want to do after work is going to the gym and workout. So I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to. Go for a walk instead. Join a class, find something you really love to do and then you will look forward to going after work. Do something with your colleagues or with friends. Add an activity to your work calendar and anyone who is interested can come along. 

One person I spoke to had a great tip on managing stress in the workplace. “If I’m really stressed/angry about an email, I type out a response, making sure the ‘To’ box is empty. Then I stop, reread and think about whether I want to respond that aggressively and then usually reword it so I’m still making my point firmly but in a less inflammatory way. Feels good to type it out but I stop and reflect before sending, as sending the first thing that pops into your head with usually cause more stress later on.” Need tips on how to avoid stressful people? Check out our blog post here.

Lucy Mc Kenna of Full Aeon says it’s important to take the time to figure out if being at the top is really what you want. It’s a line from Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen, “Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”

Since this is something that impacts so many of us, we want  to know what are you tips for managing stress in the workplace? If you’re looking for others to chat with about stress relief you’ll find loads more tips here.

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Ellie Smyth

Community Manager at GirlCrew
Community Manager for GirlCrew Dublin, YouTuber and podcast addict. Follow my Tweets on @xLadySmythx

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