How To Manage Stress At Work

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel? Have you seen your hopes dashed by unmet goals and your confidence melting away like a cube of ice in a glass of wine? How did you handle the situation? Life is full of challenges; it is no bed of roses. However, the good news is that these vicissitudes serve as the impetus that spurs us to attain new heights, overcome roadblocks and win in life. That is the ideal intent of stress, but has it always been that way? No one would have had the righteous courage to judge the intent of this term if it had stayed true to its original plan of staying a little while. Therefore, we must be wary of it if its residency in our lives embraces the phenomenon of long-lasting.

It is easier to solve a problem when we identify and name it. The head of innovation at General Motors, Charles Kettering, affirmed that a problem well stated is half solved. There is no better way to put it than this. Many are currently dining with stress for far too long than usual and they are not aware. How will they know when they have no idea what it is in the first place? It is said that an unknown problem poses a greater challenge than the known.

What is stress?

The human body system is designed to respond to foreign bodies, demands or situations that pose a threat to its comfort and stability. This reaction is known as stress. As earlier mentioned, it can be positive or negative, but for this article, we will emphasise the negative version and discuss extensively the different ways to deal with it. The impact of stress can come in two ways – emotional and physical. These symptoms are like bells calling for attention, and of which if attended to can pave the way to upturning the effects of stress. Our responses to these signs could either numb it for the time being, only for it to resurface, or deal with the root.

What are the symptoms of stress?

We will explore the emotional symptoms of stress, first, then the physical:

  • Emotional Symptoms

When you realise that you are constantly full of fear, especially of the achievement of an expectation, that is pressure right there but at the emotional level. At first, it comes as a concern and there is nothing wrong with being concerned about an issue. However, the point of degeneration sets in when anxiety takes over the wheel, and of course, such uneasiness on your nervous system is the threshold to incessant anger, sadness, irritation, and frustration. Be sure that if care is not taken, you may graduate to the class of desperation where wrong decisions are taken without caution.

This emotional tension can numb our desires and interests, especially in things and people we love with passion. The next rate of inclination will be the feelings of isolation. You suddenly feel withdrawn from the crowd and into your shell. This dangerous zone feeds your mind with all sorts of negativity, locks you up in the dungeon of depression and places an embargo on your ability to sleep. Soon, insomnia will be your roommate and offer a cuddle every night. The next stop is your confidence. Soon, you will feel worthless and possibly romance the ideas of suicide and other self-inflicted harm. No one should ever toy with this negative pressure; instead, deal with it because it poses a threat to your wellbeing.

  • Physical Symptoms

What started on the inside, if nothing is done to alleviate it will soon deteriorate and become visible on the outside. It usually starts with a headache, which almost every human quickly uses aspirin to kill or so they think. This uneasiness on the head is an attention getter. The use of aspirin to numb it for the moment is meant to buy you time to find out what exactly is wrong in your system rather than make the costly assumption that all is well. Soon body aches, stomach aches, and skin rashes to name a few will join the procession. If nothing is done still, then the master’s class graduation will be the degeneration of any existing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, functional gastrointestinal disorder, cancer, cardiovascular complications, etc.

These physical symptoms are the way your body calls for help. Just as city watchers send an alarm to the authorities to announce a security breach, so your body does with these signs. Unfortunately, if you do not take the necessary actions, the invader attacks and the effect can further heighten your addictions such as alcohol, cigarettes, etc. Soon, you will either begin to gain weight, which might lead to obesity or lose it depending on your body system. The final stop is death.

What causes stress?

The causative factors of stress can be either natural or manmade. Natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, and pandemics (e.g., COVID-19) can provoke fear and anxiety. Other factors include national insecurity, relationship issues such as separation or divorce, loss of job, unemployment, workload, long working hours, financial responsibilities, the fear of losing or the loss of a loved one by death, etc.

How can we deal with stress?

It is one thing to identify the cause of your stress but that alone does not make it go away unless you strategically deal with it. Here are some tactics that are potent enough to deal with your pressure:

  • Never negotiate your rest

The desire to do more and give more has taken a toll on many that they trade their moments of rest. After spending about 8 to 9 hours in the office working, they get home and continue from where they stopped. Some even stay up late into the night, probably not working but chatting away and commenting on every post that appears with each scroll on their social media newsfeed. The ideal amount of hours an adult should spend to sleep is seven. You owe it to yourself as a duty to sleep maximally. Your body needs sleep to function at optimal.

Apart from sleeping, you need to ensure you spend quality time resting. You may not necessarily sleep at such moments of rest but your body is void of activities. At such a moment, your phone must be out of reach and your television switched off. While your body enjoys the relaxation, remember that your mind needs it as well.

  • Take a time out

Sometimes you find yourself immersed in a challenge and none of your ideas seems to proffer a lasting solution. Instead of forcing things to work, you can take a time out. The more you force yourself to get things done the more you plunge neck deep into the sea of distress. Plan your vacation and ensure you enjoy every bit of it. The level of the soundness of your body, soul and spirit determines the level of your productivity at work.

  • Evaluate your work-life balance

Another way to deal with anxiety is to strike a balance between your work and personal life. Usually, frustrations set in when one aspect engulfs seventy per cent of your time, leaving thirty for the other. This is common among those who have goals to achieve at work or in business. Your family does not have to suffer because of your work and vice-versa. Intentionally plan a balance and ensure each gets enough time. For instance, when you get to work, give it your best shot; however, when you get home, spend quality time with your family and friends. The weekends should not be overtime for more work; rather you should spend it bonding with loved ones.

  • Adopt meditation

Often, we gain clarity and release tension when we spend quiet time meditating. This moment of reflection gives you ample time void of distractions to consider your options, and explore the pros and cons to arrive at a viable option for a challenge. Ordinarily trying to find answers without submitting to this process makes the head pound like a hammer driving a nail into the wall. Apart from seeking answers, meditation is an effective channel to bring ease to your body, soul, mind, and spirit. Enter a quiet place and ensure you shut down every distracting factor. Then sit or lie down and fix your mind on the very subject. You will find peace.

  • Beat your nerves to shape in regular exercise

Exercising regularly is a powerful way to relax your nerves from pent-up tension. Engaging in aerobic exercises tends to release endorphins into your bloodstream. This hormone can redirect and maintain your attitude from negative to positive. Some of the aerobic exercises include running, cycling, walking, dancing, etc. Another benefit of this workout is that it keeps your heart fit and away from cardiovascular complications.

  • Eat for a healthy living

We often indulge our craving for food and make a pig of ourselves without paying close attention to our health. One of the ways to avoid any of the symptoms of pressure listed earlier is to be intentional about what we eat. Therefore, before you allow that food to work up your appetite, ensure it is balanced and healthy to nourish your body.

When stress exceeds its welcome or forgets its good purpose, which is to help us achieve our goals, we should consider it a threat, not an ally. Hence, we must not tolerate it no matter how minute; else, it releases its venom, which is more expensive to treat than to prevent. You can live above stress if you deploy the enumerated tactics to deal with it.


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