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How To Cope With Job Stress And Maintain A Healthy Work-Life Balance?

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Our work takes up a significant part of our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the introduction of work-from-home office setups, which have sent the work-life balance to a toss for a large number of people. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Stress (NIOSH), has defined job stress as ‘the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker’. It is natural for the stress of your job to be overwhelming and it can affect your lifestyle and health too. You can learn more about coping with job stress to understand it better and deal with it in a better manner too. 

What are the causes of work stress? 

Stress related to jobs can be triggered by a lot of varying factors. Stress affects each person differently and is triggered in each person differently. Here are some of the most common causes of work stress:

  • Work hours are too long

Long work hours have been attributed to be a primary factor causing stress for people at work. Even before the pandemic hit, long work hours really burned people out and the compulsion of sticking to these long hours adversely affected physical and mental health. Work-from-home office setups create even longer hours of work because many employers expect the employees to work more since they are in the comfort of their own homes.

  • Inadequate compensation 

Any employee working long hours and putting in hard work expects fair compensation. However, factors like the economy, exploitation or high population of the country have resulted in inadequate compensation for a large number of workers. Working hard without the economic benefits to show for it, can really burn out a person and harm their mental health.

  • Lack of respect

Rude superiors and colleagues at work are commonplace in the corporate world. When a person is underappreciated or faces disrespect it automatically creates an unfavourable work environment. An unfavourable work environment is also triggered by issues like harassment and bullying. These factors lead to the build of stress in people. 

  • Unrealistic deadlines 

Difficult deadlines at work is a part of any job, However, when a person is piled with increasing demands of meeting deadlines along with handling multiple responsibilities at work, the pressure can get to their head and negatively affect their physical and mental health. Unrealistic deadlines cause job stress to any worker, in any field of work. 

  • Lack of control over your job 

We often do not have any control over the things we have to do at our jobs. We need to follow strict guidelines, work rules, work timings and the inability to make changes to them. These factors can lead to the feeling of helplessness and stress, which affects the health of a person. 

Understanding the causes of your stress is very helpful in moving towards managing your job stress.

Limit your screen time. This one is hard, we know. But learning to shut off all those convenient devices that leash you to work is an important part of maintaining balance. Set specific times to check your email or respond to calls. Let your colleagues or clients know that this is your schedule so that everyone’s expectations are clear and you have some peace of mind.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

How can you manage job stress in your office? 

Managing stress is not a very easy task however you can help yourself if you try and follow these tips:

  • Write down the factors which stress you

If you are feeling burned out in your office environment, try writing down the causes of your stress. Writing down your stressors can help you let things out and clear your mind. Writing down the events which affect you can help you gauge them better in your mind. 

  • Manage your time effectively

Effective time management can help you manage difficult responsibilities at work and keep in tune with your work schedule. If you manage your time well by creating a routine, then you can save time at work and get done with work faster. Try keeping a list of important work to get done first and keep multiple things off your plate.

  • Practice relaxation of your mind

When you are feeling very stressed at work and feeling intense pressure, take your mind off the work. Take a deep breath and reassure yourself that your work is not the most important part of your life. If you are feeling anxious try meditating for even 5 minutes, in your office to get your mind rebalanced.

  • Get in touch with your Human Resources representative

If external factors like harassment or bullying are causing stress to you in your office, you can always go and get in touch with your Human Resource representatives. HR representatives are present to help you tackle such situations in the workplace. 

Managing work stress at home

Work stress at home is equally challenging as work stress at the office. You can try and follow these tips to help yourself manage the stress in a healthy way:

  • Maintain a dedicated space for work 

A separate space for work at your home is a great way to get your work done faster. Instead of sitting on your bed or moving around frequently, associate space with your work. This habit also aligns your mind to get into work mode whenever you sit at the workspace in your house. 

  • Follow a routine for work

Working from home can lead to an imbalance in your routine. Try maintaining a schedule for work, so that you manage your time well and can get done with your work faster.

  • Take breaks in between when you feel overworked 

Take small breaks in between your work and even incorporate small stretching exercises to rejuvenate your mind. Overworking yourself, even in your house, is not a healthy habit. Keep hydrating and move away from your workspace for a short while when you are feeling too stressed. 

  • Get proper sleep 

Try getting adequate hours of sleep and try not to extend your work to longer hours due to poor time management. 

Work-life balance is something that every adult struggles with in this fast-paced lifestyle. Job stress is a major cause of physical illness and also mental illness. Work-from-home office setups might seem comfortable but it carries with it a huge stress burden. Remember that your health is a more important factor in your life than the work that you do. Try not to let your environment affect you. Regular meditation and yoga can greatly help in stress management. 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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