After working with dozens of business people, I’ve noticed that one of the biggest challenges they face is work stress. Not dealing with it in a healthy way can lead to devastating results.

What are some common sources of work stress?
• Excessive workload
• Conflict with leadership/colleagues
• Lack of growth opportunities
Unfulfilling tasks
• Low salary
• Lack of flexibility and freedom
• Unclear work expectations

Some consequences of work stress are: headaches, sleep deprivation, difficulty concentrating, short temper, anxiety and ultimately, depression. This life is too precious to allow stress to defeat us, so how can we deal with it effectively?

Exercise

Many of us work in offices and don’t move very much throughout the day. This can aggravate stress, so one thing we can do is to exercise. Go for a run, swim or bike ride. Join a sports club or an exercise course at the local gym. If you need someone to do exercise with, I recommend that you look for local sports groups on Meetup.com. There you will find people interested in all sorts of activities that you can join.

“When I feel stressed I play tennis or I play an instrument. I call my mother, sister or best friend and speak with them about the situation. It’s important for me to speak with someone when I am sad or upset. Something else I do is to watch stand-up comedy. I know that for those few minutes I can laugh and that it will calm me down. It is not the solution, but it gives me time to think about something else.”

Sansel Karaman, Quality Specialist

Call it a Day

This is my biggest mistake. As someone who is self-employed, I have a lengthy list of to-do’s each day. This results in long days that begin at 7 am and can end at 10 pm. I know that this has lead me to become more anxious and nervous. That is why I have started to set limits for myself. I put my phone away during meal times, when I’m in bed, and establish a time to ‘call it a day’ or as the Germans say, ‘Feierabend’. We are called human beings, not human doings, so we need to know when to stop and focus on other aspects of our lives.

Relax

A few weeks ago I started a breathing exercise routine. Whenever I begin to feel a little anxious, I stop what I’m doing and take deep breaths. I do this for about 5-10 minutes. By the end of the session, I feel calmer. You can do this at the beginning of the day, to start on a positive note, or at the end of the day, to go to bed in a better state of mind. Some people I know do meditation, repeat positive affirmations or pray. What matters most is that you find a strategy that works for you.

“If I don’t reach my goals then I experience stress. I try to only think about it during my workday and in my free time, I avoid it. I do sports and meditation to fade out stress. If there’s a clash with a colleague or my boss, I manage the situation right away and I don’t let it drag on. I discuss what I’m going through with my girlfriend, and do what I can to live in the present.”

Heiko Dold, Sales Manager

Get Help

Humans are social beings. That means we need each other in order to move forward. Whenever you feel stressed, don’t try to deal with it on your own. Talk to a friend, family member or mental health professional. It will allow you to get a different perspective on your situation and help you work through the problem.

Keep a Journal

Whenever you start to feel stressed, write down what is causing it. What is happening in your environment? Who is around you? What lead you to feel this way? The more you know about your stress triggers, the easier it will be to deal with it. If the situation persists, then maybe you will have to change your environment or avoid certain people.

I hope these tips are helpful. If you have any other suggestions, leave a comment in the comments section below. I wish you all health in abundance.

Vocabulary

  • devastating (adj.): highly destructive or damaging.
  • Unfulfilling (adj.): making someone dissatisfied or unhappy through not allowing their character or abilities to develop fully.
  • deprivation (noun): the lack or denial of something considered to be a necessity.
  • aggravate (verb): make (a problem, injury, or offence) worse or more serious.
  • lengthy (adj.): (especially in reference to time) of considerable or unusual length, especially so as to be tedious.
  • trigger (noun): an event that is the cause of a particular action, process, or situation.
  • persist (verb): continue to exist; be prolonged.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What are three common consequences of stress?
  2. Where can you find sports groups to join?
  3. What does it mean to ‘call it a day’?
  4. What are some activities you can do to relax?
  5. Who should you speak with when you feel stressed?
  6. If your stressful situation continues, what might you have to do?

Discussion Questions

  1. Which of these tips is most useful to you? Why?
  2. Do you think that stress is a serious problem in the workplace?
  3. What do you do when you are stressed?

1 Comment

  1. I am not very often stressed because I don’t work anymore in my job. I am already retired. But sometimes I feel stress in my work as a volontair. I am working for a rescue organization for greek strays. When I was still smoking I smoked a cigarette when I was stressed. Now I sit down and drink a cup of coffee and eat a sweet, which is also not very good for my body but it calms me down and it might be healthier than smoking. Fortunately I am not stressed often.

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