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Tips for Combatting Work-Related Stress

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Work-related stress can have an impact not just on individual employees, but entire organizations. Yet there are some important and simple steps employers and employees can take to reduce the amount of stress and handle it better.

There are several causes of workplace stress, including the number of hours worked, interpersonal relationships, insecurity about job status or finances, and management style of supervisors. Workplace stress can lead to an increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders and cardiovascular disease. It can also lead to more frequent absences and workplace accidents or injuries.

Clearly, reducing these stressors helps to improve employee wellness and overall productivity and workplace climate. Below are some tips for combating work-related stress.

1. Be Mindful of Actions
Often stress is caused as much by one’s reaction to a stressor than the stressor itself. While you may not be able to do anything about a coworker’s tone, you can decide what your reaction to that tone will be.

2. Reduce Interruptions
People are more productive when they have uninterrupted time to focus on one thing at a time. Unfortunately, in today’s digital age, the ping of email, texts and videoconferencing, coupled with the large number of meetings in some organizations, means constant disruption. Reducing those interruptions reduces employee stress.

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3. Schedule Work, Rest and Play
Yes, many of us are scheduled to the minute, but most times, those schedules are for work and family obligations. When you schedule time for breaks and recreation — and follow through on those scheduled appointments — you are more apt to have less stress at work.

4. Breathe Deeply
If you find yourself in a heightened state of stress, take some time for some slow, purposeful breathing. Use the 4-7-8 method, by inhaling through your nose for a count of four, holding it for a count of seven and exhaling for a count of eight. The breathing can calm both body and mind.

5. Sleep and Eat Well
A lack of sleep and poor eating habits add undue stress on your body. In a stressful time at the office, you can feel better by eating well and getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.

6. Tell a New Story
When you are caught up in a story in your head about a stressor, try stepping outside yourself and taking an objective look at the situation. Take an impartial perspective, as though you were advising a close friend or family member on how to address the situation and cope with the stress. That sound advice can help you clear the stress-inducing feelings.

7. Get a Professional Perspective
If you believe that the workplace is causing stress, consider bringing in outside help to assess the situation and recommend changes to behaviors or operations. Health and safety consultants can help provide guidance on how to reduce stressors on employees.

At Poms & Associates, we work closely with organizations to identify and mitigate health and safety issues in the workplace. Our Poms Connects program provides technical assistance, educational opportunities and information that helps organizations and employees work more effectively. With a wide range of products and services, including customizable training seminars and workshops, conferences, and on-demand e-learning, Poms & Associates can help reduce stress throughout your organization.

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