Manage stress in your job for maximum results

threat: Learning how to deal with workplace stress is critical to maximising performance.  
threat: Learning how to deal with workplace stress is critical to maximising performance. PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

JOB stress is something we all face as workers and we all handle it differently.

But, not all stress is bad, and learning how to deal with and manage stress is critical to us maximising our performance, staying safe on the job, and maintaining our physical and mental health.

Infrequent doses of job stress pose little threat and may be effective in increasing motivation and productivity, but when these prove to be too much, and too prolonged, the related stress can lead to a downward spiral, both professionally and personally.

Some jobs, by definition, tend to go hand in hand with higher stress levels, but stress is not limited to any one particular job or industry.

Stress also occurs when the situation has high demands and the worker has little or no control over it.

Job stress can lead to poor health and injury.

While the causes can be something other than job stress, here are the most common symptoms and early warning signs of job stress and burnout:

  • Apathy;
  • Negativism, and or cynicism;
  • Low morale;
  • Boredom;
  • Anxiety;
  • Frustration;
  • Fatigue;
  • Depression;
  • Alienation;
  • Anger, and or irritability;
  • Physical problems (including headaches, stomach problem; and
  • Absenteeism.

Here are 10 tips for dealing with the stress of your job:

  • Put it in perspective. Jobs are disposable. Your friends, families, and health are not. If your employer expects too much of you, and it's starting to take its toll on you, start looking for a new job/new employer;
  • Modify your job situation. If you really like your employer, but the job has become too stressful (or too boring), ask about tailoring your job to your skills.
  • And if you were promoted into a more stressful position than you just are not able to handle, ask about a lateral transfer - or even a transfer back to your old job (if that's what you want);
  • If you feel the stress building, take a break. Walk away from the situation, perhaps walking around the block, sitting on a park bench, taking in a little meditative time. Also, remember that exercise does wonders for the psyche. But even just finding a quiet place and listening to your music, or nature's sounds can reduce stress;
  • Fight through the clutter. Taking the time to organise your desk or work space can help ease the sense of losing control that comes from too much clutter;
  • Talk it out. Sometimes the best stress-reducer is simply sharing your stress with someone close to you;
  • Cultivate allies at work. Just knowing you have one or more co-workers who are willing to assist you in times of stress will reduce your stress levels. Just remember to reciprocate;
  • l Find humour in any situation. When you, or the people around you, start taking things too seriously, find a way to break through with laughter. Share a joke or funny story;
  • Have realistic expectations. While we are working longer hours, we can still only fit so much work into one day. Having unrealistic expectations, sets you up for failure - and increased stress;
  • Nobody is perfect. If you are one of those types that obsess over every detail and micro-manage to make sure "everything is perfect", you need to stop, and strongly consider changing your motto; and
  • Maintain a positive attitude (and avoid those without one). Negativism sucks the energy and motivation out of any situation, so avoid it whenever possible. Instead, develop a positive attitude, and learn to reward yourself for little accomplishments (even when no one else does). - Quintessential Careers