Blogs & Media

Coping with Workplace Stress
by Arthur Karp, M.Ed., Psychotherapist, MindWorks Professional Group
This blog was first published by Capital Choice Counselling Group

The struggle with workplace stress is a costly one. Reported absences due to medical stress leave is on the rise in recent years and hugely impacts everyone. A feeling of spiralling out of control, completing what normally may be a minor task seems practically overwhelming, deadlines constantly upon us often with revolving staff turnover, not meeting our bossís expectations, fear of staff layoffs in an uncertain economy. Workplace stress is ultimately what happens when there is escalating conflict existing between what the job demands of us and the diminishing sense of control we may exercise over meeting those demands, thus ensuring workplace stress remains a hot topic.  One third of our day is spent at work and 60% are reported to be unhappy in their jobs.

Image source:
                http://www.helpguide.org/mental/work_stress_management.htm

Image source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/work_stress_management.htm

We are informed of the need for good work-life balance in order to effectively tackle workplace stress, yet the way to achieve it may be far more difficult to put into practice. How can it not seem practically impossible to say no to considerable overtime as those rather daunting timelines emerge on a project being worked on.  How will this be perceived by your co-workers and boss alike? Another contributing factor of workplace stress is the office gossip that for some is making life miserable. Who amongst us has not on occasion felt some perceived anxiousness or even a little paranoia due to the bullying tactics of a co-worker or boss?

Is there a solution for effectively coping with this chronic problem of workplace stress? Ideas have ranged from learning to control what you can and letting go of the rest, setting some realistic goals and expectations while reviewing or negotiating as necessary, improving how you tackle your priorities, learning when to say no, becoming more protective of your time, learn to eliminate interruptions. Other suggestions for dealing with workplace stress include eating better and exercising, regaining some sort of balance between work and home, talk with a friend/colleague or a professional in helping to sort out and gain some needed perspective.

We can all benefit in this constant battle with workplace stress to learn ways of disconnecting and becoming more present with your immediate surroundings, perhaps taking 30 seconds for some deep and mindful breathing.

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