Work stress is probably one of the leading causes of mental health issues, as shown by APA’s Stress in America survey where most participants rated work as the main source of their chronic stress. The worst part about it, is that there’s very little that can be done about it. There is a high opportunity cost associated with trying for a new job since it can uproot your life and even then, there’s no guarantee that things will be any better.
However, chronic stress can be very crippling and overwhelming. Stress can make you gain weight, lead to depression and a host of other physical and mental health issues. Once it gets bad, it is very easy to fall into a downward spiral.
So, if we can’t eliminate stress by getting a new job, there should be ways to handle that stress. As people handle stress very differently, there are a myriad of ways people cope with it. Some methods include:
1. Getting mental health support
Many organizations and businesses have recently started realizing the value of the mental health for their employees’ productivity. So, your employer may have solutions in place to help you get the resources you need to deal with stress. It’s best to ask your employer what options they have in place. You may be able to get free counselling or therapy sessions and if the stress is very crippling, your employers may make arrangements made for you to have more flexible working (such as working from home for some time).
2. Lead a healthy lifestyle
This is an obvious tip but leading a healthy lifestyle can drastically reduce your risk. Eating fried unhealthy foods can cause inflammation in the body and affect your mood.
Also, exercising regularly increase your dopamine levels which can reduce stress. From a psychological perspective, a healthy lifestyle can distract you from your problems and potentially help you expand your social circle.
Avoid beverages like coffee or energy drinks because they can make you feel restless and worsen your stress levels.
3. Try out relaxation techniques
Not everyone has generous employers and therapy can be expensive. In this case you can try alternative methods like meditation. Meditation has been linked extensively to increased focus, better sleep, improved breathing and reduced stress levels. The best part? You can do it in minutes. Studies have shown that even as little as 5 minutes a day can vastly improve your memory and stress levels. You can find meditation apps and guides for free. Here are some basic relaxation techniques.
4. Confront your stressors
This is probably the hardest part, since you have very little control. For most people, being surrounded by toxic colleagues is the sole cause of stress. In this case, you should make an active choice to cut them off or talk to your employer to see if there could be an arrangement to limit your contact with them.