We live to work. We are defined according to our profession, our professional accomplishments and the health of our bank accounts. We are educated and trained to be successful, not happy. Constant pressure to produce results and to build our carriers is an environment of permanent stress. Some people thrive in stressful situations, and most of us perform at our best when we are under stress. Occasional bursts of adrenaline due to stress help our performance, but constant adrenaline and prolonged stress are recipes for disaster. The results are obvious to most business managers: due to the stress-related medical issues, American economy loses $300 billion every year. Depression, absenteeism, violence at the work place, decreased productivity are all often stress-related.
Unless we decide to quit and move to a small island and go fishing, stress at work will continue to be our permanent companion. So, we urgently need to find a way to cope with it. We are all slightly different, of different temperament, different way of coping, different age and sensibility, but the stress management tools work pretty well with all of us.
If you can, stay out of it
It is much easier said than done, but avoiding stressful situations is the best way of avoiding stress. Unfortunately, we cannot give up our jobs or skip going to that important meeting. What we can do is prepare well for it, so that we have less to worry about. Job we are well suited for is less stressful. Much of the stress is to do with situations we can control, such as being late for work, or being stuck in traffic. Leaving the house half hour earlier, or choosing less busy roads, would take care of that.
People who are never stressed should teach us something. Not taking things too seriously and using our sense of humor to cope with difficult situations would prevent situations from becoming stressful.
If it is stressful, change it
Our bosses are unsupportive, their demands are completely unrealistic, we have too much work, we are not paid enough, the atmosphere in the office is toxic” ¦It all sounds familiar. So we quit. We go to another company, where we spend months being ” ˜the new kid on the block” ™, learning new rules and finding out that nothing much changed. So we quit again. This is becoming quite a normal practice and nobody stays long in one place. But, people who have jobs they love cope with the stress much better. People who are their own bosses also have less stress to deal with. If you decide to quit your job because of too much stress, look for a job that would make you happy. Problem is that it usually means much less money. But then, how much is your health and your well-being worth to you?
If you cannot change it, adapt to it
Many people cope with stress, and with everything else, with pharmaceuticals. There is a drug for everything. But, there are other, healthier ways. If your job is driving you crazy and you are dreading any new task, you are probably not well equipped for it. Take a course, get a coach, talk to the co-workers you trust. If you have too much work, the worst you can do is accept more work that you know you will not be able to complete. Say ” ˜no” ™ with a smile, and explain to your boss that you are sure that he values quality over quantity any day. Taking short breaks works as well. Smokers go outside every few hours, since smoking is now banned everywhere. Go outside for a break even if you do not smoke. Learn to prioritize and do not procrastinate. And most of all, learn to ask for help. Find a group of co-workers you can laugh with, exchange jokes with, and share the burden with. People are willing to help, they do know that they will they need help one day too.
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