By guest blogger: Julie Morris
Do you wear your busyness like a badge of honor while behind the scenes you’re exhausted to the core? When you have a demanding career, it feels like giving everything to your job is the only way to make it to the top. In reality, your high-stress approach to work is harming your career more than it’s helping it.
The High Price of Workplace Stress
- Stress results in $300 billion in lost productivity each year.
- 1 million people are absent each day due to stress.
- 70 percent of workers say they have too much to do.
- 77 percent of people have physical symptoms caused by stress.
- 73 percent of people have psychological symptoms caused by stress.
- Stressed workers have 46 percent higher health care costs.
- 48 percent of people say their stress affects their sleep.
- 54 percent of people say their stress affects their relationships.
The data is clear: If you’re too stressed out, you’re less productive, less healthy and less happy than when your stress is well-managed. Letting your well-being suffer for the sake of your work isn’t sustainable. If you try to forge ahead without addressing your stress, you risk experiencing burnout so severe that it threatens your job.
The Keys to Managing Workplace Stress
Workplace stress isn’t just something that happens to you. You play an active role in the amount of stress you face and how you cope with it.
There are three strategies every person should take to manage stress at work:
- Set boundaries
If you say yes when you want to say no, it’s only a matter of time before you’re worn out from unpaid overtime, late night calls from the boss, and handling other people’s busy work. Boundaries are essential in any workplace. While it’s nerve-wracking the first few times you say no to someone at work (politely, of course), eventually you’ll find that sticking to reasonable boundaries leads to greater respect.
- Know when to make a change
Stress doesn’t only happen if you’re working too hard or too long of hours. If you don’t find your job challenging, you’re also at risk of burning out. Making a career change is scary, but it can be the first step toward more fulfilling work and a more well-balanced life. It it’s your work culture, not the content of your work that’s the problem, a job change can land you at a company with a better culture fit.
Leaving your job isn’t the only way to make a change. If you’re a manager or business owner, you can delegate work and give yourself more time to focus on the projects you enjoy. Even if you have no subordinates, you can use outsourcing to your benefit. Instead of delegating work tasks, outsource work that needs to be done at home, like cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, or walking your dog. That way, you’ll have more time to unwind after work instead of worrying about yet another to-do list.
- Make self-care a priority
If you’re not taking care of your health, you can’t give life your all. For more energy to excel at work and enjoy your off-hours, treat your personal wellness as a priority. Don’t skip meals or sleep because you’re busy, exercise regularly, and find time to live a fulfilling life outside of work. Don’t think it’s possible? Psychology Today explains an approach that makes self-care doable for the busiest of people.
Don’t only use self-care as a remedy when you’re feeling overstressed. While self-care can help in times of acute stress, its real power is in the daily habits that prevent stress from growing in the first place.
When everyone around you is just as stressed as you are, workplace stress starts to seem normal. But while work isn’t easy and carefree — it is called work, after all — you shouldn’t feel like your job is grinding you to the bone. If you want better health, a happier life, and a more productive career, make sure you have a plan for managing workplace stress.
Julie Morris is a life and career coach, visit her site at juliemorris.org.
Image via Unsplash