Most of us will experience some workplace stress at some point. This is normal; but a disproportionate amount of stress – or an over exaggerated reaction to it – can interfere with productivity, and have a truly detrimental effect on our welfare and the business.
There are some ‘simple-to-execute’ methods that can help to support stress management, (both in yourself and others). It’s not always necessary to make huge changes, but better to concentrate the focus on training ourselves to be masters of our own stress.
This really can help us to regain control over the situation. Having a sense of self-control in demanding circumstances will often be infectious. Realistically, you’re unlikely to be the only one who is stressed in your organisation!
- Create a balanced schedule: review responsibilities and tasks. We all have deadlines, and can be at work later than we should be, but it’s true that ‘all work and no play’ is a recipe for disaster if it’s for too long a period of time. Try to find a balance between work and social activities. We all need some ‘downtime’.
- Avoid over-committing: A back-to-back schedule soon takes its toll. Don’t underestimate how long things will take. When you have a lot on your plate, decide what is a ‘should’ and what is a ‘must’. If you have something particularly unpleasant on your ‘must’ list, then deal with it as soon as you can. Move tasks that aren’t immediately essential to the bottom of your list; and think about eliminating some of them entirely. Very liberating!
- Break projects into small segments: A feeling of being overwhelmed can be greatly relieved by making a step-by-step plan that allows us to focus on taking one manageable step at a time, rather than facing it all at once.
- Give yourself time: Leave earlier than usual for work, or appointments. Avoid stressing from frantically rushing everywhere, or running late.
- Schedule in – and take – regular breaks: Go for a walk, make a drink, or just push back your chair and try to clear your mind. Stepping away from your work space to briefly relax and recharge increases your ability be more productive.
- Delegate and ask for help: If there are tasks that other people in your business can take care of; let them! Free yourself from the desire to control everything. You’re part of a team, and by letting go of the reigns just a bit you may be making a colleague’s work more fulfilling in the process.
- Compromise, and reap the benefits: If you, or colleagues, are suffering with stress – be kind to each other and seek out or offer help where you can. If you can all bend a little then hopefully you will find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone.
Develop your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the knack of using our own – and others’ – emotions in positive and constructive ways. More businesses are realising that when it comes to satisfaction and success at work, emotional intelligence matters just as much as intellectual ability.
The ability to communicate with others in ways that draws people to you enables us to overcome differences, repair wounded feelings, and effectively defuse tension and relieve stress.
Build your own emotional intelligence by:
- Recognising your own ‘fight-or-flight’ stress response. If the stress ‘alarm bells’ trigger then it’s time for a break.
- Paying attention to how you feel, and factor this into your decision making at work. Ignoring our emotions may mean we don’t fully understand our own motivations and needs
- Learning to recognise – and effectively use – ‘nonverbal cues’ and body language. Often what we say is less important than how we say it. Be aware of your own and others’ levels of eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, posture, and hand gestures. Body language can influence people’s sense of interest, trust, and desire. Equally, it can generate confusion, distrust, or stress.
- Resolving conflict in a healthy, constructive way. The trust between people in the workplace can be fragile in times of stress and tension. It’s also important to stay focused in the present by disregarding old hurts and resentments – let it go!
- Talking about it. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone we can trust will help to reduce stress. A supportive and empathetic colleague or friend can be a great help.
Right Trax Training are a learning & development consultancy who are passionate about helping businesses to develop their people to be better at what they do. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your people to build their resilience to workplace stress.