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Stress At Work and How To Deal With It

July 20, 2021

Stress is a natural reaction, and it happens when your body lets you know that something is too much, and it’s high time to stop and focus on your well being. The biggest challenge is to spot the signs of stress early on, so it doesn’t cause too much harm in the long run.

While being in work can cause stress, it’s easy to overlook the several other stressful factors that can contribute to stress at work too, like traffic jams, rushing kids to school beforehand and a speeding car on your way to the office. 

So, as you can see an individual could be quite stressed out before they get to work, so it’s worth considering what the real triggers are. That way you can try and reduce these stressful events and become calmer on your way to work and in work. 

Let’s take a look at stress in more detail.

What do researchers say?

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Centers for Disease Control unanimously say that up to 40% of Americans experience stress at work. And this percentage will only keep on increasing across the country if measures aren’t put in place to reduce the amount of stress at work.  

It’s still unknown how the lockdowns and the pandemic in general have influenced us on the whole, but questions regarding money and employment caused quite a lot of stress for individuals, according to the American Psychological Association

On a scale from 1 to 10, the average stress level in the United States was 4.9 pre-pandemic time, for comparison, the average reported stress for U.S. adults is 5.4 now. This is significantly higher than earlier findings, and it shows that in this age of uncertainty we need to work towards reducing stress levels. 

How to figure out if you are stressed and if you are approaching burnout? 

Multitasking, a lack of organization, interpersonal conflicts and physical discomfort can all have a bad impact on your mental and physical health. And given enough time all of the above problems may lead to professional burnout. 

There are four burnout stages that may be caused by constant stress.

Stage 1. 

Symptoms: fatigue, general tiredness both physically and mentally.

You feel tired at the end of every day and you cannot wait for the end of the week. Weekends help you to return to a ‘normal’ life. At this stage you want to come home to chill out, and to have some ‘you’ time.

Stage 2. 

Symptoms: irritation, apathy, sadness, unwillingness to work, some simple sicknesses like a cold.

Weekends don’t help you much anymore, and you still feel tired even if you’ve taken two days off work. Basically, you need a month to recover now. You don’t really want to take on more responsibility at work and you might feel as if you’re ‘not good enough’.

Stage 3. 

Symptoms: low self-esteem, critical of yourself, uncontrolled aggression, sleeplessness, panic attacks and some serious illnesses.

The stress level is pretty high. You are less productive and the manager may ask you to have a vacation. You need 2-3 months to recover after this.

Stage 4. 

Symptoms: you don’t see much point in doing your job, you suffer from indifference, loneliness, isolation and acute illnesses.

This is the worst situation and it’s when you have to consider a year off work to recover from your burnout. You need to get away from everything, so that you can get a fresh perspective. 

The more you ignore the problem, the more time you need to recover. Stress may increase along with a number of factors, so avoid doing your job at the weekend, and let yourself recharge.

If you’d like to do some further reading, you can do so here.

What is the remedy?

Stress because of work is a very common thing, and finding a low-stress job may be a real challenge. The following things may help reduce stress:

  • Plan your day - know what you’re doing and when.
  • Eat healthy food - proper nutrition is vital and don’t rush when you eat.
  • Know what your daily tasks are - ask your manager for clear instructions.
  • Avoid conflicts - don’t gossip about others and avoid sharing bad jokes.
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime - if you spend a lot of time in your chair at your desk, the smallest of walks will make a big difference for you.
  • No multitasking - focus on your main task and don’t take on more work than you need to.
  • Take a break after your workday - distract yourself… put on some music, walk around the park, let yourself reboot and leave your business thoughts at the office.

What is more stressful: An onsite or remote job?

Let’s take a closer look at the possible advantages and disadvantages of remote and onsite work. 

Try this out: Tick all the statements that apply to you and find out what you like best.

Remote work

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Stay cosy at home
  • Choose your workplace
  • No time spent in traffic jams on your way to/from the office
  • Free dress code
  • Healthy nutrition without rushing
  • Keeping yourself disciplined
  • Lack of communication
  • Constant distractions
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Possible overtime work

Onsite work

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Defined routines
  • Instant communication
  • Project-oriented atmosphere
  • Inconvenient workplace
  • Too much noise
  • Commuting

Is there a job that isn’t too stressful?

So, no job in the world is without stress. But, there are jobs that have a low stress level. This includes the role of  a QA.

If you choose a QA role you can often choose between onsite and remote work, even in the toughest of times. Plus, jobs in QA often come with good salaries and hours! We wrote about why people think QA Engineering is one of the happiest fields to work in here, check it out for yourself.

Conclusion

There is not a single job that comes with only pluses, and no negatives. So, it’s about working with the negatives of a job and trying to find a balance, so that you can work within the environment and not become overwhelmed. 

It’s important that you don’t forget to recharge your batteries by taking regular breaks from your place of work too. Your physical and mental health are vital, and if there is a problem at work it’s vital that the issue(s) are examined as soon as possible. This way a solution can be found and you won’t have to feel stressed at work.


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