Posts Tagged ‘Stress’

work stressWork is stressful. There are deadlines to meet, bosses to please, customers to help, and it can feel like people are pulling you from every direction. Before you have a Steven Slater meltdown and pull the emergency chute — whatever it may be at your workplace — take time to reflect and find ways to survive your worst days at work.

Here are our top 10 tips for surviving your worst work days. U.S. News & World Report has 40 others, but we’ll just expand on the highlights.

1. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

Everyone wants to look like a superhero at work who can get everything done. But there are only 40 hours in a work week, so don’t take on too much or you’ll look worse for not getting it all done. Your boss will be disappointed when you can’t get the job done in time, so it’s best to think ahead on this recommendation and not promise something you can’t complete.

2. Take regular breaks.

Work is mentally and physically tiring, so taking a few 10-15 minute breaks throughout the day can re-energize you and make getting back to work a lot easier. Take a walk around the block. Federal law requires that they be paid breaks, so don’t let your employer hassle you for taking them.

3. Don’t skip breakfast or lunch.

Just like a child in school, regular meals are important to keep the mind and body working at work. If you’re having a bad day at work and feel stressed, think about whether you skipped a meal on that day. Chances are you did and were too rushed to eat. Mom was right: Breakfast is important.

4. Make some friends and allies at work.

This will help lower your stress by knowing you have someone covering your back if something goes wrong and you’re not there to hear it. At a time when layoffs are common, it’s a good idea to have someone in your corner who will speak up about the great work you do if a list of employees to be laid off is being formed. Start by meeting regularly with your immediate supervisor and letting them know each week what you’re up to and how you will accomplish your shared goals for the week. Then start meeting with higher-up bosses and ask if they’ll mentor you.

5. Stop trying to multitask.

You may think you’re saving time by writing an e-mail, reading a report and talking on the phone at the same time, but you’re not. Research shows that doing multiple tasks at once is more time consuming and can harm your health. You want to do a lot of work, but you also want to do it well.

6. Remind yourself of what’s really important in life.

Photos of your family on your desk can help remind you, but if you’re away from your desk, stop and take a breath and remember what’s most important in your life. Your children, for example, are more important than the most stressful work task. Your purpose in life isn’t to get stressed at work.

7. Seek work that suits your personality.

Maybe dealing with inconsiderate people in an airplane and trying to referee fights over overhead bins isn’t suited for you. If you’re in a job that doesn’t feel right, then start exploring jobs that match how you work best. Do you like to work alone? Do you work best in groups? Whatever your personality, there’s a job to match it.

8. Learn to manage your boss.

This is a tough one, but if you can figure out how to manage your boss, your life will be a lot easier. It will take some trial and error, and learning from other employees, but it will keep him or her out of your hair and allow you to do your work to your best abilities. Find out if your boss is a micromanager and wants constant updates; if so, provide them. If your boss is more hands off, then enjoy it and find out how often they want to know what you’re up to. Empathize with your boss to help them become better at what they do.

9. Get a hobby that makes you happy.

Just like reminding yourself what’s really important when you’re stressed out at work, having a hobby to get to when you get home can make the problems at work less of a headache. This step includes having a life outside of work, meaning you’re not working long hours and have something to talk about other than what’s going on at work. Find a sport, reading group or anything else that relaxes you to keep you occupied with anything other than work when you’re away from work.

10. Ask for help when you need it.

Unlike the JetBlue flight attendant, you don’t have to deal by yourself with a problem. Slater could have asked another flight attendant for help, but he pulled an emergency chute and escaped with beers in hand. If you’re overwhelmed at work, ask for help. You’d be surprised at how many co-workers will come forward to help out. When asking someone to join your project, be sure to remind them that you “owe them one” when they need help.

If none of those tips works and you’re still getting frustrated at the little things at work, then it may be time for some counseling.

Source: http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2010/09/06/work-stress/

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by Tia Benjamin, Demand Media Share

Sometimes, no matter how hard or how long an employee works, his tasks aren’t completed. This causes employee stress and adds to feelings of being overwhelmed, often causing him to work harder in a futile attempt to catch up. Constant stress can reduce productivity. In a small business with a limited number of employees, an overwhelmed worker can significantly affect the bottom line. Managers must provide ways to help the employee deal with his stress.

Step 1

Require employees to take regular breaks and a full lunch break. A mental break and time to step away from the job help employees stay refreshed and feeling less overwhelmed. Avoid creating a culture where it becomes acceptable or expected to work through lunch, as this contributes to stress and causes easily overwhelmed employees to feel as if they cannot take time for themselves.

Step 2

Define your expectations clearly. Tell the employee your priorities and provide specific deadlines for each task. Set work according to “SMART” principles. Each assignment should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.

Step 3

Don’t expect perfection. Accept that everyone makes mistakes occasionally. Give your employees the freedom to make mistakes. Focus on learning from mistakes rather than avoiding them entirely, and you relieve some of the second-guessing and anxiety associated with trying to reach perfection.

Step 4

Acknowledge employee successes by thanking staff for completed tasks. Recognize employees by providing rewards for finishing time-consuming assignments and major projects. Rewards should contribute to employee’s work-life balance. Movie tickets, restaurant gift cards and a paid day off are all possible options.

Step 5

Provide employees with resources to deal with stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. Give overwhelmed employees a referral to the employee assistance program, if one exists, to allow him access to counseling and work-related resources for dealing with stress. Implement a wellness program for staff. The program can incorporate workplace activities, such as brown bag lunches or yoga groups, to provide an outlet for employees’ feelings of being overwhelmed.

Source: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/deal-easily-overwhelmed-employee-17338.html

by Stephanie Goddard

Ask yourself these work stress questions…and get some relief immediately.

  1. Will this matter in five weeks?
  2. Am I in someone else’s business or in my business?
  3. What about this person/situation irritates me? Do I have that trait? And if so, do I dislike it in myself?
  4. Why don’t I like that trait?
  5. Research shows if I hold this thought for longer than 17 seconds, I run the risk of physical illness. Is this worth getting sick over?
  6. Do I want to stay in this job? If yes, is my stressful thought creating behaviors in me that ensure my continued employment or potentially harm it
  7. If I do not want to keep this job, is my stressful thinking creating an exit strategy that will result in an excellent reference?
  8. What are the TOP THREE reasons I like this job?
  9. Am I trying to be right or do the right thing? Do I get the difference
  10. What I am worried will happen if I stop thinking about this?
  11. Are my thoughts about this completely true—or is it possible I have partial information? Is it possible I have filled in some gaps in a negative way?

via Work Stress Worksheet (Quick and Easy).

by By 

Are you overscheduled and overstressed? With today’s busy schedules, you’re not alone. One way to pare down your schedule is to get good at saying no to new commitments. Whether you say “yes” instead of no out of guilt, inner conflict, or a misguided notion that you can “do it all,” learning to say no to more requests can be one of the biggest favors you can do yourself and those you love. It helps reduce stress levels and gives you time for what’s really important.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Very little. And it will free up time for what’s important!

Here’s How:
  1. Just say, “I’m sorry. I can’t do this right now.” Use a sympathetic, but firm tone. If pressured as to why, reply that it doesn’t fit with your schedule, and change the subject. Most reasonable people will accept this as an answer, so if someone keeps pressuring you, they’re being rude, and it’s OK to just repeat, “I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t fit with my schedule,” and change the subject, or even walk away if you have to.
  2. If you’re uncomfortable being so firm, or are dealing with pushy people, it’s OK to say, “Let me think about it and get back to you.” This gives you a chance to review your schedule, as well as your feelings about saying “yes” to another commitment, do a cost-benefit analysis, and then get back to them with a yes or no. Most importantly, this tactic helps you avoid letting yourself be pressured into overscheduling your life and taking on too much stress.
  3. If you would really like to do what they’re requesting, but don’t have the time (or are having trouble accepting that you don’t), it’s fine to say, “I can’t do this, but I can…” and mention a lesser commitment that you can make. This way you’ll still be partially involved, but it will be on your own terms.
Tips:
  1. Be firm — not defensive or overly apologetic — and polite. This gives the signal that you are sympathetic, but will not easily change your mind if pressured.
  2. If you decide to tell the person you’ll get back to them, be matter-of-fact and not too promising. If you lead people to believe you’ll likely say “yes” later, they’ll be more disappointed with a later “no.”
  3. If asked for an explanation, remember that you really don’t owe anyone one. “It doesn’t fit with my schedule,” is perfectly acceptable.
  4. Remember that there are only so many hours in the day. This means that whatever you choose to take on limits your ability to do other things. So even if you somehow can fit a new commitment into your schedule, if it’s not more important than what you would have to give up to do it (including time for relaxation and self care), you really don’t have the time in your schedule.
  5. This article has more strategies for finding time if you’re too busy.

Are you irritable when you return from work? Drained of emotion? You could be suffering from boreout

By: Roger Boyes

Are you irritable when you return from work? Drained of emotion? Do you stare blankly at the wall of your living room?

You could be suffering not from burnout but from boreout, which could soon become the fashionable new office disease. “We estimate that 15 per cent of office staff are on the way to boreout,” said Peter Werder, the co-author of a management book outlining the perils of the condition. “They are seriously underchallenged.”

Many workers are so ill at ease in the office that they spend a large part of the day simulating work. That generates more negative stress than excessive working. The result is serious but hidden depression in the office.

“It is easier nowadays to confess to alcoholism than to tell your boss you are not being used properly,” said the co-author, Philippe Rothlin. While burnout and stress are socially acceptable problems, boreout is seen as little more than slacking. (more…)