Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Coping With Job Stress

I’ve had a stressful day, and I need something stronger than beer. Somebody fetch me a bodybuilder. Check the cooler in the garage.
Jarod Kintz

Stress in our life comes in many different forms. One of these forms is a huge part of our life. It consumes at a minimum nearly 20% of the entire year. If you consider that we sleep an average of 7 hours per night, then this figure jumps to 30% of your waking hours.

Our "job" consumes one third of our entire life.

The stress comes in many different forms and affects your body in a lot of different ways. The work place itself can cause small sources of stress such as equipment which malfunctions or the constant ringing of the phone.

The larger sources of stress are caused by having too much work, having work that is unfulfilling, fear of job layoffs, or just having a lousy boss. I certainly hope I do not fall into that category of being a boss.

All of these things contribute to increased stress in life.

It is normally these major areas of stress that lead to burnout. People become unhappy and less productive. The effect also has an impact on your health and personal life.

Low levels of stress are not always noticeable; slightly higher levels can be positive and challenge you to act in creative and resourceful ways; and high levels can be harmful, contributing to chronic disease.

An organization called Healthwise has broken down major stress into seven categories which are;

Control - This is the most closely related to job stress. Studies show workers who believe they have a great deal of responsibility but little control or decision-making power in their jobs are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and other stress-related illnesses.

Increased responsibilities - Taking on additional responsibilities in your job can be stressful. It can be worse if you have too much work to do and are unable to say no to new tasks or projects.

Competence - Are you concerned about your ability to perform well? Are you challenged enough, but not too much? Do you feel secure in your job? Job insecurity is a major source of stress for many people.

Clarity - Feeling uncertain about what your duties are, how they may be changing, or what your department or organization's goals are can lead to stress.

Communication - Workplace tension often results from poor communication, which in turn increases job stress. An inability to express your concerns, frustrations, or other emotions can also lead to increased stress.

Support - Feeling unsupported by your coworkers may make it harder to resolve other problems at work that are causing you stress.

Significance - If you don't find your job meaningful or take pride in it, you may find it stressful.

To help manage job stress, Healthwise offers the following options for lowering stress on the job:

1. Meet with your supervisor. Do this at least once a year (every 3 or 6 months is better) to talk about your performance and your job. If a performance review is already part of your job, treat it as a chance to clear up issues that may be causing stress for you.

Talk about things such as:

- What is expected of me in this position?
- Where is this company going, and how do I fit into that plan?
- How am I doing?
- What are my strengths?
- Areas for improvement?
- What can I expect from you if a problem with my work or my job should occur?
- If I continue my current high-quality performance, how and when can I expect to be rewarded?

2. Manage your time well. It is important to leave your job at the office, even if your office is a room in your home. If you give up free time to get more work done, you may pay for it with stress-related symptoms. If your employer offers a flexible work schedule, take advantage of it to fit your own work style. For instance, come in earlier to have a longer midday break or to make time for a yoga class or workout.

3. Unplug. Technologies such as cellular phones and the Internet have made it possible to be available to everyone, including clients and coworkers, at all times. Do not allow technology to eliminate the boundaries between your time and your employer's time. Leave your work cell phone behind when having it with you is not absolutely necessary, or decide not to answer it during times you have set aside for yourself or your family. Avoid checking work e-mail at home.

4. Know when to quit. If you are truly miserable because of a stressful job and the suggestions above have not worked, it may be time to think about changing jobs. Make sure you know whether it is you or the job that's the problem. Before quitting, spend time researching other job options. Being unemployed can and will also lead to stress. Getting another job before quitting is ideal, but sometimes isn't possible. Decide what is less stressful for you: unemployment or being miserable in your current job.

Life has much more in store for you.

Remember that, "To be free of destructive stress, don't sweat the small stuff and realize that all stuff is small." Balance your daily activity and bring enjoyment back into your life by letting go of as much stress as possible.

And stay inspired my friends.

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