As people are on their way to work, how often do they hope that they can accomplish their assigned tasks that day without the interference of other people and other matters? Too often, however, it is not long after they arrive at work that they have interruptions, meetings, or new assignments unexpectedly heaped upon them, and their routine tasks get delayed. As workers fall behind in their efforts to accomplish what they had planned to do, stress builds within them. This stress then interferes with their efficiency as it causes them to slow down to keep calm and not make mistakes.
In the Workplace
People need not be powerless against these effects of stress because there are ways to cope with both the emotional and physical reactions. Since what causes one person stress at work may not be what disturbs another, the first step in dealing with workplace stress is to identify what triggers it. Recording situations, the people involved in the circumstances that have aroused negative thoughts or feelings, and the reactions to these situations can help workers to identify the causes of their stress. To reduce or eliminate these causes of stress, a person can make changes in the circumstances that trigger this workplace stress. Here are some ways to reduce stress at work:
- Beginning work before, or staying after, other workers so that there are no interruptions for a period
- Prioritizing tasks to assure that what must get accomplished will be done
- Having realistic expectations and adjusting goals to fit these expectations
- Taking short breaks to relax and to clear thoughts
- Leaving work behind once the day is over (e.g., ignoring emails)
Outside the Workplace
Outside of the work environment, a person can relieve stress brought on at the job in active ways by doing such things as exercising, accompanying children to recreational parks, and taking pets for walks. Other outlets for stress are socializing and taking time off for a long weekend or a vacation. Workers can also relieve stress by reserving time for their hobbies or interests such as playing or listening to music, reading, or playing video games. If all else fails, a person may consult a mental health provider. With the counseling of a professional, helpful and effective ways of coping with job stress are afforded an individual.