By Sonya Watts
It seems like stress has become the loyal companion of a modern workplace, particularly for creatives. In fact, it is not unusual to hear someone saying that they actually need stress in order to wind things up. For that reason, more and more people willingly decide to enter this vicious stress-charged circuit. They fool themselves into thinking that it is the only right thing to do in order to keep up with the fast-paced work environment. Although it is not possible to avoid stress at work entirely, it is necessary to be wary of the health implications that it can have. What it takes is developing strategies that could allow you to reduce its destructive influence.
Spot the stressors
The first thing that you have to do is to get to know the enemy that you are re up against. However, this is easier said than done, as the triggers of stress vary from person to person. Some of them are pretty obvious, like strict deadlines or fear of getting laid off. Yet, others might take some time to identify, as they might not necessarily be directly linked to the work environment. One way to successfully pinpoint the stressors could be to keep a journal where you could write down thoughts about situations that have caused you to feel irritable or anxious. This allows you to reveal patterns and get a clearer picture regarding the stressors in your life.
Set your priorities straight
In order to avoid the feeling of taking a bigger bite than you can chew, it is necessary to start prioritizing your work responsibilities. Namely, you need to be careful when committing to activities that could interfere with the tasks that you have to perform. It is a good idea to create a list of tasks and group them according to their importance. By doing so, you will be able to see what needs to be done immediately, and what can be left for later or completely discharged. As a result, you are in a position to use your time more productively and make a solid schedule. The feeling that you have regained a sense of control over the forces of stress is a great reward.
A work-life balance
All work and no play might sound like a cliche, but it is something that you should avoid at any cost. In fact, the key to living a stress-free life is in creating balance and realizing that you will burn out focussing too much on the one aspect. So, avoid stretching yourself too thin and remember that a break every now and then helps you stay on top of daily tasks. Moreover, your goal should be to create a fulfilling equilibrium between work and everyday life. This task includes planning of family responsibilities, social gatherings and leisure, so try to collect and assemble all the pieces of the complex puzzle.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by stress at work, you should not keep it to yourself. Instead, you should try opening up and seek for the advice and support from coworkers, friends or family. Some people are uncomfortable with this, which is why a good solution might be to seek professional counseling. Beyond Blue has loads of information on stress management and where to seek further help. Such options might be appealing for those who would like their issue to remain confidential and dealt by a professionally trained staff.
While short-term periods of stress are normal, it is the buildup of such stress that is a reason to sound the alarm. Perpetually exposing yourself to excessive amounts of stress is damaging to your physical and emotional health. It can also affect the quality of your work. With this in mind, start thinking about ways in which you can reduce your level of stress. Forge an impenetrable armor to protect yourself from this great menace and see it diminishing with each passing day.
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