Workplace stress is common, and has adverse effects for both employees and companies. While work-based stress can be overwhelming, there various ways in which to deal with stress at work.

Identify sources of workplace stress

Before dealing with stress, it is necessary to be able to identify the cause of the stress. Employees can identify sources of stress by keeping journals for a certain amount of time (perhaps for one to two weeks). They can try recording their feelings, surroundings, actions and thoughts. When workers read their entries, they can recognise patterns and causes to stress.

Respond in a healthy way to workplace stress

Stress can result in unhealthy behaviours – for example by binge eating, drinking or spending. This only makes the situation worse, and makes the employee feel worse. It is better to find proactive ways in which to deal with stress at work. One example is by exercising, or by practising a passion, hobby or enjoyable activity. It is also important to take some time out, to get enough sleep, and to avoid too much caffeine.

Create boundaries

Since technology is now everywhere, employees often feel pressured to be available at any time of the day through phone calls, emails, instant messages and social media. It is important to establish boundaries in order to detach from work completely. There are various ways to do this – such as by not answering emails after work, or by setting up a specific time-period in which time is spent with family each day. This can get rid of stress and tension that arises when work and home life overlap.

Get enough rest

It is important to take time out to recover from stress at work to protect against burnout and long-term stress. Employees need to separate themselves entirely from work stress by not thinking about anything to do with work. Employees should make use of their leave-days, so that they can go back to work feeling better and ready to deal with their tasks with energy.

Learn to relax effectively

It is easier to deal with stress at work if an employee is able to take full advantage of their relaxation time. Strategies such as yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and mindfulness are excellent for getting rid of stress. It is best to choose one activity, and to strengthen it every day in order to learn effective relaxation.

Communicate with your superiors

To combat stress at work, it helps to communicate challenges and issues with supervisors or employers. This way, employees feel heard. Employers should be made aware of the situation so they can make changes. This interaction can allow employees to gain insight into how to improve the situation.

Seek support

The act of expressing one’s feelings and getting advice from family, friends and co-workers can be invaluable for dealing with stress at work. The same can be said for making use of employee assistant programmes (EAPs). If the stress is severe, then it is essential to seek professional help from a psychologist or other mental health professional to help manage employees’ stress at work.