Everyone who works in the corporate world has experienced stress that comes from the work itself, coworkers, superiors, management, environment, etc. But if you’re not feeling any stress now then you may need to reflect because there’s a chance that you’re transferring it to your colleagues. Either way, stress when not addressed immediately can take a toll on your health. That’s why it’s important to know how you can manage stress at work. Here’s a blog to help you.
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Do you have to change your job?
The faster way to get rid of work-related stress is to find another job.
But at this time, due to the hullabaloo caused by COVID-19, I don’t think it’s easy to transfer to another company.
Of course, that’s when we can no longer take the heat anymore.
Just to share with you, I have this friend that habitually changes jobs about once or twice a year. She’s a job hopper but not the kind of employee you have in mind.
She transfers because of stress.
In her previous job, for example, she was stressed out by her boss. But before that job, the problem was her salary. Now, it’s her co-worker.
On the other hand, I have another friend that is trying to battle her emotions.
Just like my other friend, she’s also facing all these kinds of stress. But she chose to hold herself together because she needs the job for her newly formed family.
I guess the story for most of us is similar to my latter friend.
We’re trying to hold ourselves together and to keep our sanity. Of course, the downside is the pressure that’s slowly rising within us or should I say, slowly eating us.
While most of us would like to be my former friend.
We just want to leave things behind and start anew but we simply can’t.
Always think that you’re not alone
Whenever I talk with my friends, I tend to share based on my experience and how I dealt with it. For an instance, I have had a bad experience with a co-worker that’s causing me a lot of stress.
This happened when I was still working as a radio frequency engineer which eventually contributed to my decision to leave the company.
A short back story about this person.
He is technically a senior engineer by experience because he has been with the company for a year since I joined them.
He has this habit of making the newly hired employees like us feel inferior to him, a mind conditioning I guess.
At first, we’re just following his lead for the sake of being cordial.
But things get worse with time.
He has several antics to succeed every time. As you know, I’m extremely introverted and have very slow self-esteem.
To be honest, I was affected.
But just like you, I also have a strong outer shell to look like I’m not.
There’s even a time when he called me a plebeian, a low working class when we technically have the same job description. I immediately told him that I understood what he said and he was startled.
He can’t seem to believe that a plebeian knows what a plebeian is.
I think I won that moment hehe!
Toward the end of my stay, he placed a trash bin over my desk. (Here’s a picture and I’ll just leave it to you to interpret).
Because I can’t take it anymore, I decided to speak up. I told HR about it but only to find out that they’re never pro-employees.
It looks like my complaint was written over the water.
What happened felt like it was the missing piece of the puzzle. I decided to finally tender my resignation for growth and to relieve the stress.
We actually have an inside joke about him, “Kapag kinaya mo siya, kakayanin mo lahat ng problema.”
True enough, there will always be people like him no matter where you go.
Stress doesn’t end by transferring job
I had a part-time job that I decided to do full-time. There’s little to no stress at all and I can’t believe it’s possible at all. The best part is that I’m enjoying it.
But my illusion ended when I overheard my managers talking behind me.
I do understand that they have the right to talk about their subordinates. It’s something they have to do.
But what I don’t understand is why they never told it straight to my face so I can rectify it. Perhaps they have ill intentions well who knows, right?
It was like a scene in a movie, I can’t even believe it happened to me, I was inside a cubicle when both of them entered and started talking
sh*t about me. I was like, wait, hold up, I have to finish my business quickly.
So I hurriedly got out of the cubicle and greeted them, washed my hands, and left.
It was such a nice and funny scene. They looked like they are poured with cold water.
But at the end of it all, I just decided to forgo what I heard and act as if it never happened. Which happens to be a good decision.
The important lessons we learned
Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” When we talk about feelings, it’s always valid. There’s no right or wrong. No one has the right to invalidate what you feel.
There are two important lessons I would like to share with you.
- Stress is everywhere. If you think you can avoid stress then better think twice.
- Transferring work is not always the right solution.
5 Practical Ways to Manage Stress at work
We have several stories to share with you but the most important one will always be yours. Stress makes us feel vulnerable. It also makes us question our capacity, talent, self-worth, etc. While we cannot eliminate all the sources of our stress, we can however reduce it to a comfortable level.
So here are the practical ways to help you manage stress at work.
Get to know yourself
Track your stressors for two to three weeks. Whenever you are feeling stressed, write it in your notebook. Who is the person who triggers your stress, what is the situation, what kind of environment you’re in during that moment, how did you react, and no matter how trivial, write all the information you can think of.
Try to analyze the information you have written. For example, we tend to act on our emotions when we are stressed out. So ask yourself, is your reaction the one you prefer doing? If you yelled, do you think it’s appropriate? If not, how do you want to react when it happens again.
Think of things that can be beneficial to you when you are stressed. Some like to read, others prefer to take a walk, or maybe you just only need a breather. No matter how you react, make sure you will not self-destruct.
Reappraise negative thoughts
You may develop a mental filter when you’re extremely stressed. It makes you look at everything with a negative lens regardless of the situation. For example, your boss did not respond to your greetings. You’ll automatically think that he is mad at you or maybe you feel that he thinks you’re incompetent.
When your boss did not notice you because he is busy with something else.
Instead of taking every action and situation as facts that you cannot change. Treat them as hypotheses so you can reappraise your negative thoughts.
Create a boundary
Mixing your corporate responsibilities with your personal life is almost unavoidable in today’s world.
Some superiors may even ask you to email, take a call, or work altogether after working hours, worse during weekends.
Creating a boundary, setting limits, or imposing a rule can help reduce stress.
You can make a personal rule not to take calls during lunch, dinner, or after a specific time let’s say 8 PM. Maybe you can also decide not to check emails during weekends.
Just tell your colleagues that you have set boundaries that can sometimes make them uneasy. But at the same time making you predictable.
So whenever they try to call you during lunchtime, they’ll be reminded that you don’t take calls at that time.
Talk to your employer
Employees of today are experiencing a different level of stress. That’s why employers take the initiative to help their employees with their mental health.
If you’re working in this kind of institution then you may go to them and ask for possible assistance.
They may have seminars, vacation leaves, a new working setup, or reading materials to help you.
We still have a long way to go in the Philippines but don’t forget to exhaust all the possible help you can get from the company.
Get a support
Having someone who listens to your rants can help retain your sanity. A close friend who can give sound advice that can also calm you down is ideal.
Sometimes you need to loosen up the cap to release some pressure. Else, you’ll explode.
And don’t be afraid to seek professional help when needed. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help especially when it concerns your well-being.
At this point, we can conclude that you can never escape or eliminate stress regardless of where you work. However, we can take steps to reduce and manage stress at work to comfortable levels.
There are several ways to do it. Just like what I shared with you now.
While resigning is the fastest way to get rid of stress. It’s not always the right solution because you’ll only be exposing yourself to a different kind of stress.
Thus, changing jobs is not always the right solution.
Stress will haunt you no matter where you go. So better think twice before submitting your resignation because there are ways on managing it.
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- Mayoclinic Staff. (2021, June 16). Coping with stress: Workplace tips. Mayoclinic. www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/coping-with-stress/art-20048369. Retrieved 2022, March 23.
- Leblanc, Nicole J. and Marques, Luana. (2019, April 17). How to handle stress at work. Harvard Health Publishing. www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-handle-stress-at-work-2019041716436. Retrieved 2022, March 23.
- Ryba, Kristin. (2019, August 27). 7 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress in the Workplace. Quantum Workplace. www.quantumworkplace.com/future-of-work/7-ways-employees-can-reduce-stress-in-the-workplace. Retrieved 2022, March 23.
Federico is an electronics engineer, financial blogger, insurance agent, and a certified investment solicitor. A multi-awarded financial advisor with clients ranging from lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants, business owners, company directors, and OFWs to minimum wage earners had sought advice from him in achieving lifetime financial freedom.