Let’s face it, work can be stressful sometimes. The challenging projects, cranky customers, tight deadlines, missed lunch breaks – even the crowded parking lots. And then there’s our internal stressors, like feelings of anger and fear, nutritional status, and overall health and fitness levels. Am I capable of doing what my boss is asking me to do? Will my job still be there a year from now?
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, one in four workers view their job as the number one stressor in their lives. Stress is a harmful physical and emotional response to our job when the requirements of the position do not align with our capabilities, the resources we’re given, or our personal needs. Prolonged job stress can result in both mental and physical health problems, which is why it’s important to find a job that meets your needs and learn how to cope with job stress healthily when it arises.
Are you in the right job? Personality and coping style play a role in the job that’s right for you. Ideally, your job should match your personal strengths and allow you to do what you do best every day. StrengthsFinder 2.0 is book and online assessment you can use to evaluate your strengths and point you in the direction of a job that helps you to utilize your talents. It will confirm the qualities that make a job satisfying and rewarding to you, based on your unique needs.
Is your supervisor a good match for you? Does he or she help you solve problems when they arise? Can you speak up when there’s a problem without fear of retribution? Knowing that you have supportive and helpful co-workers can make a difference in your stress level at work. Teamwork and good communication also helps minimize misunderstandings and allows everyone to feel more relaxed.
Do you have opportunities for growth and advancement? No one wants to get stuck at a dead end job. Some employers offer assistance with college tuition or licensure fees to keep employees growing and learning. Ask if your employer will send you to a training conference to expose you to new ideas or allow you to cross train with another department to broaden your expertise.
Do you engage in personal wellness activities? Meditation, mindfulness activities, exercise and relaxation helps reduce stress on the body and mind. Start by getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night. Additionally, you can take up journaling as a safe outlet for frustrations and negativity, or start attending yoga class to work on mindfulness while also getting a workout. Investing time and money in your own personal wellness will pay off in the long run and help to prevent burnout.
Accept that change happens. In our fast-paced world, changes happen daily. Even in the best workplace, your attitude about change will be an asset or a liability in your ability to manage stress on the job. The next time you experience change in the workplace, pay attention to all the details and find the rationalization and potential for positivity in the change.
For more information on the services Community Reach Center offers the community, including therapy to help you develop your own stress management plan, go to www.communityreachcenter.org or call (303) 853-3500, Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, call Colorado Crisis Services for 24-Hour assistance: (844) 493-8255 (TALK) or dial 911 for emergency assistance.