According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, stress at work results from the imbalance between a person’s perception of the constraints imposed on them by their environment and their perception of their own resources for coping with these. So it’s a common experience and we’re all stressed at one point or another in our career. Here are a few tips for better managing your stress
1 – Identify the sources of stress
The National research and safety institute for the prevention of accidents at work and occupational diseases identifies various stress factors according to:
- The task to be carried out
- The organisation of the work to be carried out
- Working relationships
- The physical and technical environment: offices, physical loads …
- Sociological evolution: emails, client aggression …
- The macroeconomic environment of the company: bad results, competition
- Clearly identifying your sources of stress is the first step to resolving them. This allows you to deal with the origin of the problem.
2 – Manage your emotions in four steps
First step: externalise your stress.
When your stress gets too much, shout, sing, do some sport, find a way to release your emotions and feel more serene.
Second step: calm yourself down.
Stress generates a quicker heart rate. When you feel that your heart is starting to race, take a deep breath and calm down. This will help you better manage your emotions. For example when we react under the influence of heightened emotion or stress, we often express ourselves insensitively and that can be perceived as aggression by our co-worker.
Third step: Let go.
Take a step back from the situation you are facing. Analyse it as if you were outside it or share it with a third party. Try to describe your point of view, but also that of the person who is making you feel stressed. This will help you find the right perspective on the situation.
Fourth step: Communicate your stress by providing a solution.
Meet with your manager or someone who can influence the conditions of your stress. Explain the situation to them calmly and suggest solutions. For example, if your stress is generated by work overload, describe your days and how you organise your work, demonstrating that you cannot do everything qualitatively or quantitatively. Offer a solution for reorganising your workload (even if you have to give up some tasks) which will result in improving the overall quality of the service provided. Don’t be afraid therefore to ask for help.
3 – Do not take on the stress of others
Stress is often generated by others but also by the stress of others. To avoid being contaminated by this indirect stress: Identify whether the problem concerns you: before you tackle a problem that can cause stress, check whether the colleague who is making you feel the effects of it can solve it themselves. Don’t try and play the saviour: if someone comes to you to talk about their stress, be welcoming, listen to them, help them to identify some possible ways to solve their problem, but do not do things for them as this will result in you taking on their stress. Avoid negative people: Stress can be contagious, as far as possible surround yourself with positive people rather than people who only see situations in a negative light. A positive environment reduces your stress
4 – Adopt a lifestyle that combats stress
Lack of sleep is an aggravating factor for stress. If you are well rested, you will be less “on edge” and this will allow you to more easily take a step back during a potentially stressful situation. Think about you: do an activity that allows you to externalise your stress. Do some sport, cooking, gardening, go to the cinema, … Identify situations that allow you to relax and switch off.