Overcoming stress at work doesn’t have to be overwhelming

By Samantha Seah

Read on to understand how to reduce the amount of stress that you face in your job.

“Are you stressed?”

You’ve probably heard and answered this question over a thousand times.

You may deny it, but the answer ratio is likely more yeses to nos. And that’s okay. Stress is a part of what makes us human and it’s time we learn to confront it, accept it, and define ways on how to minimise the negative effects it can have on us in the workplace, where you are expected to be independent and self-composed.

Identify the root of your stress funnel

Have there been recent changes in your life? For instance, you may be going through a career switch or have just landed your first job but are not yet used to your new surroundings. Don’t blame yourself with negative thoughts about your shortcomings. Give yourself ample time and remind yourself to breathe and take it at your own pace, at your comfort. You need to identify the root of your stress funnel to check-in with your emotions. Take control of your thoughts and emotions. Write it down and think about the steps you can take from here on. If you don’t, you’re practically stuck in a maze created by you. After all, you’re the only one who can find the way out.

Realise that overthinking isn’t going to help

Overthinking is stress’s sidekick. If you’re stressing, you’re probably overthinking. Yes, we understand that you can’t help but feel overwhelmed if you’re facing some sort of crisis or inevitable pressure at work with a major client project or an upcoming deadline sitting on your shoulders. But remember, things don’t always turn out as bad as you think. When there’s a problem, there’s a solution. And why not use all this time you spent overthinking to utilise your energy and mindset into setting daily practical goals and actions you can actually meet?

Talk to someone who will lift you up

We all need a listening ear, someone whom we can trust with our thoughts and feelings. That someone could be our parents, siblings, partner, friends, or a mentor.

We don’t usually share how we feel at work or the problems we may encounter with our colleagues or bosses. Perhaps, it’s because of our pride or responsibility to maintain work professionalism. We don’t want others to develop the impression that we’re not able to do our jobs, so a “wall” is built when it comes to having such conversations. Of course, the ideal way would be to resolve the issue internally at work by reaching out to HR and setting up a meeting with the involved parties and work it out. But whatever you do, don’t keep it to yourself.

Talk to someone, ask them for advice and their opinion on what you should do next and how they would act if they were in your shoes. By sharing, you are organising your thoughts and analysing the situation from a wider perspective.

Stress comes & goes

Everything is temporary.

We want to emphasise that the same goes for your current circumstances. Learn to accept the fact that stress is an integral part of work and roll with it. It is inevitable. Whenever you’re starting to feel stress, you want to develop a habit of mindfulness and not allow it to drag you down mentally or emotionally. Rather, use it as your strength and catalyst to your advantage to transform you into a driven, motivated, and confident person who's able to deal with pressure in a poised manner.

Sometimes, we don’t realise that we are the culprit causing ourselves to be stressed because we don’t know how to say no at the right time to certain people.

Therefore, we fall into a cycle of having too much to do and too little time to handle it. Unfortunately, many of us feel compelled to take on as many tasks as we can because we fear that saying no will reflect poorly on us, resulting in conflict or missed opportunities. But this isn’t always the case. We have to differentiate which tasks are worth our time and whether they will add value to our work in the long run. We are not obligated to agree to anyone’s requests and the day we can step up for ourselves and say no, is the day where we’re on our way to a stress-free workplace.

Take a chance on yourself

We’re only human, all of us. We experience and go through similar setbacks at work. So, don’t ever stumble down to the thought that you’re alone in this world or that nobody understands what you’re going through, or even feeling that you have no one to rely on during adversity. The only difference between all of us is how we choose to overcome stress. The world is bigger than you can ever imagine and comprehend. Think about the goals you want to achieve in the future and not what you’re limited by now.

Forgive yourself for your mistakes and be willing to learn from them. In the end, it’s what defines you as a person. It will help you develop into a compassionate being and someone who can empathise with others, and ultimately improve your performance, decrease your chances of falling into depression and boost your happiness level.

Because if you don’t take a chance on yourself, who will?

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