Stress Management and Work/Life Balance Techniques

leadership Apr 10, 2019

Chances are, your job as a PMP occasionally means that you get a visitor from a very unwanted guest… STRESS. Do you sometimes lay up at night, thinking about all of the work that lies ahead of you tomorrow? Or, do you get so flustered by tasks that you have a hard time even knowing where to start? Do you feel exhausted and overwhelmed by your daily workload? Work stress can lead to anxiety, sleep loss, and impaired functioning. Knowing how to counteract this stress can help you become a more productive employee and make you happier in both your professional and personal life.

We face all different kinds of stressors in our life, but for many, work stress can be particularly intrusive. As a nation, we are getting more and more consumed by stress at work. In fact, nearly 83% of US workers feel stressed about their work, and nearly 70% believe that they have too much work on their plates. Nationally, nearly 1,000,000 employees miss work every day for stress-related reasons. For those stressed employees who do show up, 3 out of 5 say that they have lost productivity due to stress at the office. Long-term stress can have drastic physical consequences, and stressed employees spend as much as 46% more on health-care related items annually than their less-stressed counterparts. Work stress is effecting our health, commitment, and bottom line in a very real way.

What are some of the most common work-related stressors?

- Feeling underpaid/unsatisfied with pay.

- Feeling under-appreciated by your employers.

- Growing work loads.

- Feeling insecure about your place within a company/organization.

- Having little work/life balance.

- Feeling like you have little say/your opinion is not valued.

So, how can we find a way to meet the demands of the current work climate, but protect the state of our physical and mental well-being at the same time? Implementing healthy, stress-busting habits into our daily lives may be the key to a more relaxed and well-balanced future. If you suffer from daily work stress, try giving some of these stress-reducing techniques a try:

  1. Begin exercising. While the correlation may not be obvious, exercise can be one of the best ways to reduce stress at work. Something as simple as a brisk walk for 15 minutes on your lunch break can help clear you head and boost your mood. Make exercise and your health a priority- don’t skip this healthy habit to get caught up on an extra hour of work!
  2. Phone a friend. While belaboring about your issues can be unhealthy, talking about how you feel can help relieve stress and even give you a different perspective. Just having a friendly conversation with someone supportive can help you feel less alone in your struggle.
  3. Establish boundaries. In today’s digital world, it can be hard to shut off from work, even just for a good nights sleep! Set a firm time for shutting down, and don’t falter. Work will be there tomorrow and most things are so important that they are worth losing sleep over!
  4. Make healthy choices. Stress can be a great excuse for all kinds of vices… grabbing pizza instead of making dinner, having a few extra glasses of wine at night, skipping the gym for a nap. But allowing stress to dictate our life again and again can lead to a pretty unhealthy lifestyle pretty quickly. Make a plan to combat stress in a healthy way- and stick to it! Don’t let your work stress derail your entire life.
  5. Take a break. Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes we can make when faced with too much work stress is to feed the flame. Trying to power through big stacks of work or work through the weekend to get caught up can work from time to time… but if it becomes a perpetual habit, it can backfire quickly. Too much work without a break can lead to sloppy mistakes, poor quality, and half-hearted execution. Take the time you need to rest, and you might find that you execute your work masterfully and in less time.
  6. Talk to your boss. Chances are, your boss is not trying to make your life miserable. Perhaps you seem like you handle extra work effortlessly, or you rarely complain about your workload. They may just assume that you are handling everything with aplomb, and are unaware of the resulting stress. Up front, honest communication is almost always the best way to get what you need.

No matter what your source of stress is, taking steps to reduce that stress can have long lasting and positive effects. And, replacing any unhealthy habits you typically use to deal with stress with more positive ones can improve your long term heath. Just remember, there is never a reason to sacrifice your health for work. Ultimately, you are worth more than your workload- so remember to put yourself first!

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