Job stress comes in different forms. Small stressors are things like a copy machine that never seems to work or phones that won't quit ringing. Major stress comes from having too much or not enough work or doing work that doesn't satisfy you. Conflicts with your boss, coworkers, or customers are also major stressors.
Here are some common sources of major job stress:
Any job can have stress, even if you love what you do. A lot may be expected of you, and you want to do your best. You might even notice work stress spilling into your personal life.
What kinds of events trigger stress for you at work? Focus on one or two things you can do to help reduce stress the most. Here are some ideas.
Unplug from work when you're home. For example, try not to check company email when you're off work or spending time with friends and family. You can do this by turning off email and text alerts when you leave work. Or set your phone to "do not disturb" during certain times.
Find out if your company offers resources to help manage stress. Some companies have an employee assistance program (EAP). Use these resources if your company offers them. If your company doesn't, ask if they could. You may also want to talk with a counselor. A counselor can help you change the way you respond to stress.
Try deep breathing exercises and meditation. You can do them in just a few minutes. If you can, take a walk at lunch or during breaks. Even just looking away from your work or chatting with coworkers can help.
You may be able to reduce some job stress by identifying what is causing the stress and then setting specific goals. Here's how.
Maybe it's lack of control over your job. Or maybe it's worry about losing your job or how you are doing at work. You might feel stress because you're unable to express your thoughts and ideas to your boss and coworkers.
You might want to protect your heart and your health by reducing stress. Or maybe you simply want to enjoy your life more and not let work stress control how you feel. Your reason for wanting to change is important. If your reason comes from you—and not someone else—it will be easier for you to make a healthy change for good.
Think about both a long-term and a short-term goal. Here are a few examples:
Use a personal action plan to write down your goals, the possible barriers, and your ideas for getting past them. By thinking about these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.
Make sure you get support from friends and family in your efforts to reduce job stress. If your company has an employee assistance program, you could use it to talk with a counselor. A counselor can help you set goals and provide support in dealing with setbacks.
Don't forget to give yourself some positive feedback. If you slip up, don't waste energy feeling bad about yourself. Instead, think about all the times you've avoided getting stressed by making changes.
If you are truly miserable because of a stressful job, 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 you quit, spend time thinking about other job options. Not having a job will probably also lead to stress. Getting another job before you quit is best, but sometimes that isn't possible. Decide what is less stressful for you—unemployment or being miserable in your current job. It might help to talk with a counselor about your choices.
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