Many people can relate to the question, Can you avoid stress in the workplace? Perhaps every working individual you may come across is in desperate need of a way or an answer to this question.
In today’s modern workplace, stress is one of the most difficult challenges to achieving high levels of employee engagement and productivity.
But the truth is that you can never truly avoid stress in the workplace. People need to understand that stress is a natural human response. It becomes a problem when there is too much stress that the body cannot handle.
However, there could be a way to handle stress in workplace settings and minimize the stressors. Stick to this article until the end to know how.
What Does Stress Do To The Body?
A recent survey found that 75% of Americans are dealing with some stress, with another 25% reporting mild levels.
Since we all have to deal with the pressures of work, family, and friends, these statistics may not come as a surprise. What you might not realize, though, is that stress is not necessarily detrimental. Stress can be beneficial in certain situations, such as when starting a new career or while organizing a major life event like a wedding.
Stress can be helpful in certain cases since it is short-lived and pushes you to overcome an obstacle you know you can overcome.
However, prolonged exposure to stress can have serious adverse effects on one’s physical and mental health. The effects of stress in workplace settings on the body have been well-documented, and include the development of conditions as diverse as high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and more.
To better know how stress affects the body, continue reading below:
The Brain And Stress
The presence of a stressor sets off a cascade of reactions in the brain. To begin with, the amygdala, a region of the brain responsible for regulating emotions, receives sensory input regarding the stressor. If it determines that the information is potentially harmful, it will alert the hypothalamus, your brain’s control center.
By way of the autonomic nervous system, the hypothalamus can communicate with the rest of the body. This regulates the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which are responsible for regulating basic bodily activities, including heart rate and respiration.
It’s possible that your heart rate will increase and that your senses will become more acute. In addition, your cells will absorb sugar from your blood and use it as a source of fuel.
These regions may respond by producing more of the stress hormone cortisol, which keeps you wired and alert.
The Body And Stress
Almost every part of your body will feel the short- and long-term effects of these chemical changes.
- Musculoskeletal System-Muscles tighten up in response to sudden tension and then relax once the source of the stress has passed. In the long run, prolonged muscle tension can lead to headaches, migraines, and other forms of chronic pain.
- Respiratory System- Your breathing rates increase, and you may even hyperventilate, which might bring on panic episodes for some people. If you suffer from asthma or emphysema, it might be difficult to acquire adequate oxygen if you breathe heavily for extended periods of time.
- Cardiovascular System- Your heart pumps blood more vigorously, your blood vessels widen, and your blood pressure rises. Consistent high levels of heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and high blood pressure in the long run.
5 Ways To Manage Stress In Workplace Settings
As mentioned above, you can’t challenge how your stress is in your body, and there is no way you can eliminate it. However, you can learn to manage it and strive to minimize the number of stressors in your job.
Here are some things that you can do:
- Eat And Sleep Well
When you don’t get enough restful sleep and eat adequately, your body isn’t able to recover from stress. 60 million Americans, according to the CDC, do not obtain the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
You should discover some efficient methods to help you fall asleep if racing thoughts prevent you from falling asleep or if you wake up throughout the night and are unable to settle back to sleep.
- Make Changes To The Work Environment
Environmental factors contribute significantly to overall workplace stress levels. Consider how the design of your office affects (or doesn’t affect) your happiness. There is a correlation between employee engagement and seemingly little factors like coffee quality and cubicle wall height.
Refresh the workplace with a new paint job, some live plants, or shiny cutlery. You may feel less pressured as a result of any adjustments that make your work more enjoyable.
- Create Some Space To Destress
You may prevent burnout by giving yourself time to do activities you enjoy, such as reading, spending time with friends, or working on a project of your own creation. Keeping a journal is a smart choice that will serve you well in many ways.
- Prioritize What Needs To Be Done First
Make a list of things that need to be done and prioritize them in that order. You should periodically review your master list and work on activities in the order of their importance. If you don’t have the time to complete a task, it’s okay to say no.
- Establish Strong Boundaries
You should make an effort to take baby steps toward building boundaries between your professional life and your personal life, such as refraining from checking your email at night or on the weekends, avoiding returning to your computer in the evenings, and maintaining a consistent work schedule.
In addition, schedule blocks of time during which you will not use your smartphone or computer in any capacity, including refraining from checking email, texts, or social media.
Suppose you still feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or stressed out after trying these methods. In that case, it may be time to talk to a mental health professional, either on your own or through your company’s employee assistance program. Counselling can help you deal with stress in workplace settings healthily and teach you to tune into your own needs.