You HATE your job - deadlines are looming with so much to do and not enough time to do it in, you are ill and can't take time off to recuperate, someone in the office is bugging you or your boss is micro-managing your work at every turn, you feel as though you have no control over your work, and the place that you work in is cramped, dirty, or lacks natural light.
How did I do? Did any of these resonate with you?
I read somewhere that we spend upwards of eleven hours each day at work if you actually work an 8-hour day. You think about work when you first get up in the morning, when getting ready to go to work, on the travel into work, while at work, on the drive home from work, when you check your phone/messages at home and also several times in the evening as you go back over the workday.
With us sleeping an average of seven hours each night, that doesn't leave much time for ‘you’. So, it is important (imperative) that you start to take some control of the stressors of work. Relying on others to change things isn’t an option in most cases.
The five leading causes of workplace stress are; insufficient breaks, illness, difficult people, a lack of control and, the environment. Here's what you can do to start changing things for the better;
Breaks - You should take a break of 10-minutes duration (or more) every hour. It is important to get up out of your chair and move around to get the blood flowing and to refresh your brain. Importantly, you must have a break away from computers and mobile devices during this break time – a screen break.
Illness - If you are sick, stay at home, as simple as that. Your colleagues don't want your germs and going to work when sick will only extend your illness. Plus, you will not be at your best therefore tasks will be more difficult for you than usual.
Difficult People - This is a hard one. Most workplaces have at least one person who is either grumpy, annoying, loud, arrogant, overbearing or just downright rude. Apart from bringing the shortcoming to their attention, which may be an option if done correctly, don't let their actions affect and effect you. Ignore them, or better still, become their friend. Find out more about that person who annoys you and you may well realise why they are the way that they are and this will change your opinion of them.
Lack of Control - I have heard it said that "You can only control what you can control". Why not make a suggestion as to how to change things, or perhaps offer to assist in some way to make things better, or even change the way that you do things as long as it is within the policy. You may also want to concentrate on what you do have control over and do that really well so people start to look at you for direction.
Environment - We all need natural light for our circadian rhythm, as well as for other things. If you work in a place where there is no natural light, then you need to get outside during your scheduled breaks to get sunlight. We need at least 20 minutes of sunlight each day to produce melatonin and serotonin, the stuff that aids sleep.
Changing just one of these five workplace stressors will change your life, and that’s what this is all about, your life.