How to cope with stress at work?

We live in times in which we face serious problems every day. We live under pressure as we struggle to meet assigned deadlines, and the fact that we are responsible for important projects makes us feel stressed at work. According to commonly accepted theo

We live in times in which we face serious problems every day. We live under pressure as we struggle to meet assigned deadlines, and the fact that we are responsible for important projects makes us feel stressed at work. According to commonly accepted theories, stress is sort of a response of our organism to external stimuli which can disrupt the balance of the human organism.

Sometimes, external situations prove to be too difficult for an individual to cope with. This, naturally, leads to stress. Healthcare specialists use a different name for this phenomenon. In their opinion, stress is a kind of state in which an individual is constantly highly psychically active. The inner tension is impossible to overcome.

There is no doubt that we have to deal with stress every day, especially at a workplace. There is really nothing we can do to eliminate it, so we should find a way to live with it. What are the methods of coping with stress? We answer this question in the next few lines.

Stress as an integral element of human life

Every one of us had to face a stressful situation at some point. Even children get stressed and react to this fact in their own way. Therefore, we can assume that stress is an integral part of our lives. However, we should treat stress as sort of a challenge that our lives set before us. Those challenges can be considered as problems which our organisms have to deal with in order to function properly.

Stress is caused by certain factors that influence our organisms. These factors are called stressors. We may find a more detailed explanation of the term stressors in appropriate, scientific literature. Stressors are certain stimulating events that make it necessary for our organism to adjust to new situations. Stressors lead to the formation of tensions which can have various levels of intensity. This state need not be unpleasant. We feel stressed in situations that involve some sort of change, danger or possible loss of something or someone.

We can formulate a list of events that involve stress, namely:

a sudden important change in our way of life, e.g., the loss of work, the death of a loved one, the change of our surroundings, the change of our job, etc.

problems concerning our life, e.g., personal problems, illness, etc.

tragedies

social stressors, e.g., excessive noise, heat, cold, social or time pressure

Polish employees and stress

Poles, as a nation, are highly exposed to the danger of increased stress levels at a workplace. As researches done by independent experts show, we are one of the most stressed nations in the world. There is no doubt that this situation stems largely from the fact that we work at a fast pace. Employers demand more and more, and employees rise up to their demands without protest in fear of losing their jobs. Employees take up more assignments, though they do not have enough time to fulfill them with care. The pressure imposed by time and superiors leads to stress. Apart from that, such factors as rivalry between employees, doing the other’s work, or the constant fear of losing a job also create stressful situations at a workplace.

The recent economical crisis did not improve the situation of Polish employees, even though Poland was quite successful in coping with the downturn. Many large, international companies dismissed big numbers of employees which again lead to the increase of stress at workplaces. Employers do not seriously consider the negative effects stress can have on their employees, and they do not know how disastrous can stress be to overall working performance. It is true that certain level of pressure imposed by the employers can be identified as motivating, but if this amount is too high, it proves to have the opposite effect. Instead of solving their subordinates’ problems, employers pretend that everything is in order. The worst thing is that employees also think that everything is alright. They prefer to work too hard, rather than complain to their superiors about their difficult situation. They agree to have their wages cut, to work overtime, or to do others’ assignments.

Stress related problems

As it was said, employees are the ones who are the most exposed to stress. If they have too many assignments to complete and if they carry huge responsibility for their assigned tasks, then there is a huge probability that stress will appear. If we live in stress, some disturbing health problems might occur, such as:

headaches and recurring migraines

recurring infections

insomnia

stomach problems

problems with controlling emotions

heart problems

stomach ulcers

neurosis and depression

As periodic researches carried out in huge enterprises show, stress can destroy human organisms as effectively as neoplasm or any other severe illness. People who face excessive stress at a workplace and who cannot cope with it effectively start drinking great amounts of coffee and energy drinks. They are able to sacrifice personal and family life in order to succeed at work. Some find respite in alcohol or drugs which lead to a person’s downfall.

As we can see, a permanent state of stress at a workplace is very destructive to our organisms. Therefore, it is imperative that we learn the universal and effective methods of coping with stress. Thanks to such methods, we will be able to normally live and fulfill our professional duties in spite of being stressed.

If we do not find effective means to defend ourselves from stress, we will soon experience a job burnout. We will be unwilling to go to work, and we will not be able to distinguish between our professional and personal life. Such life is of low quality, so we should change something as quickly as possible, or we should not allow such a situation to appear.

The effects of long-lasting, amplified stress at a workplace need not appear immediately. They can appear gradually, but once they accumulate, we face such a severe mental depression that only a doctor and specific pharmaceutical treatment can be of some help to us.

Doctors who meet employees wrecked by stress sometimes diagnose severe physical and psychological exhaustion. Such people have no strength and no motivation to continue working. In medical terms, such a state is usually referred to as job burnout. It affects Polish employees more and more often. Unfortunately, the problem is caused by the lack of appropriate mechanisms of coping with stress at our nation’s companies.

There is also one other important thing. If one member of a team is struggling with increasing amounts of stress, he or she decreases the level of motivation and satisfaction of all of his coworkers. In consequence, the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire company is decreased. If situation in a company is getting worse, work no longer fulfills the career ambitions of employees; job becomes coercion or a simple obligation.

The methods of coping with stress

Time management

Making effective use of the time we spend at work (so usually 8 hours) is one of the methods of coping with stress. It has to be stated here that effective time management is a task assigned not only to individual employees, but also to team leaders and managers. Managers should, to a large extent, make sure that the division of work between workgroups is as reasonable as possible. Furthermore, they should prevent a situation in which workers feel burdened by the amount of things they are expected to do. When we take into account our employees’ abilities while preparing a division of tasks, we increase the chance that they will meet the assigned deadline. The quality of such work increases significantly. At the same time, employees should focus on carrying out their professional duties in successive order, with reference to a previously prepared plan of action. Putting aside work, especially the most difficult tasks, makes people feel stressed at the end of the day, and the feeling is justified. It is good to assign a level of priority to every task and to begin work by completing the most important ones.

Motivating our employees

Stress can be a motivating factor, but such a situation is very rare. Promotions, prizes, and money bonuses prove to be far more motivating. In order to earn more money, employees are able to find extra strength and creativity.

The balance between personal and professional life

If we create a line between our personal and professional life, we will devote as much time as we want to our family and pleasures. Moreover, we will go to work relaxed and well-rested. Managers should not forget to allow their employees to go on holidays regularly. Such brakes from work will allow them to put aside everyday professional duties and spend some time with their loved ones, family, or friends. An employer should show great respect for his employees’ free time. During free time, an employee should not be called on the phone by his or her employer and should not be bothered by work related issues. Additionally, breaks between assignments also help reduce stress at a workplace. Such a break should be spent on gathering the necessary strength for further work.

The functionality of a workstation

Working in a messy surrounding, at a messy desk, will never be effective. It will prove to be another source of stress. If we take care to make our workstation tidy and create the best possible working conditions, our work will become sheer pleasure for us.

Positive thinking

Employees who believe in their own capabilities and skills are far better at coping with stress than people who think they cannot achieve anything in life. In the case of rivalry between coworkers, the belief in oneself is a means of coping with stress.

Polish companies should carefully consider the importance of protecting their employees from stress. Though employees themselves can do much in order to reduce stress, it is up to their employer and superiors to support them in those efforts and reduce the amount of stressful situations at their workplace.