Published Date: 04/07/2014
By Reneé Watkins
Stress in the workplace can lead to other health issues. Workers who are highly stressed are less likely to exercise, get enough sleep or eat healthy. High levels of stress over a prolonged period of time can also lead to stomach ulcers, hypertension, headaches and injuries due to distraction.
Signs your employees are under a high level of stress include: changes in attitude, a decrease in performance, missing deadlines, consistently late for work, withdrawal and increases in sick leave.
Many companies have taken the time to establish a formal stress-reduction program to assist their employees in managing stress in the workplace. However, if you do not have a formal program in place, there are a number of ways to help your employees identify and manage their own stress.
Post the following tips in common areas of the workplace as a way of helping employees who may feel stress and not quite sure how to handle it.
Take note of your own stress level and the things that cause you stress. Pay attention to the signals your body sends to let you know you are carrying too much stress.
Understand how you deal with stress. Is stress causing you to pick up or increase unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking or eating poorly? Has your attitude at worked suffered?
Disconnect whenever possible. When not at work, turn off your cell phone and stay off of email. If your job requires connectivity outside of normal work hours, set specific times when you will return calls and emails, and stick to that schedule in order to have some time away from work.
Maintain a list of tasks. Constantly keeping a list in your head of everything you need to do can be overwhelming. Make a list of everything you need to do and then divide it by today, tomorrow, and so on. Separate work-related tasks from non-work-related tasks. This will make your workload appear smaller and more manageable, thus reducing stress.
Accept responsibility for your own stress levels. Regardless of what is actually causing your stress, the real issue is how you react to it.
Take short breaks several times each day. This may not seem like much, but a two minute walk away from your desk and computer several times a day will help you to stay focused and energized. Take a short walk, breathe deeply, stretch your back and clear your head of thoughts.
Find time for yourself. There will always be plenty going on at work and at home. Once a task is completed, there will be several more to take its place. It is very important to take time out to exercise and eat healthy. Read a good book or take up a hobby that interests you.
Change your thinking. Try not to set goals for yourself that cannot be realized or depend too heavily on someone else. Unrealistic goals will set you up for failure and cause even more stress. Lower your expectations for perfection and be satisfied with putting forth your best effort each day.
Conflict and confrontations can cause enormous stress. Try to work things out calmly and find room for compromise whenever possible. Resolve conflicts quickly to eliminate stress more quickly and to prevent conflicts from growing larger and stronger.
Seek help when available. Friends and family members can help you better manage your stress levels. Employer-based EAP services such as counseling, work/life blend programs and access to mental health professionals may be available to you as well.