5 Effective Ways To Manage Work-Related Stress

You're mega stressed out and feeling under a tonne of pressure at work. We asked career coach Carmel Morrissey how to manage it.

Woman under stress

You’ve been working through lunch, staying late and taking the office home with you every night, yet you still can’t get on top of your workload, or get rid of that horrible stressed out feeling that’s been weighing you down.

Excessive stress can cause mental health issues like depression and anxiety and, depending on where you work, may even result in injury, so we asked career coach Carmel Morrissey from Clearview Coach Group how to manage it. Here, she shares her five step plan to help you deal with on-the-job stress more effectively.

1. Name the symptom

“Recognise if what you’re feeling is actually pressure or stress,” says Carmel. “Pressure can be a positive emotion and can aid performance and can be a result of the daily demands that work places on us. However, unrelenting pressure can lead to stress, which can have negative emotional, physical and psychological effects.” Figure out which symptom you’re dealing with first and foremost. Pressure can feel motivating, while stress may feel overwhelming.

2. Identify the cause of the stress

“Generally people experience stress when they feel that a situation is out of control,” Carmel explains, adding, “and the limits of what individuals are capable of handling can vary considerably from person to person.”

Some typical work-based stressors include a heavy work load, inadequate working conditions, and the pressure to always perform. To suss out which one applies to you, “keep a journal for a week and track your stressors and your reactions to them,” recommends Carmel. At the end of the week you’ll have an accurate account of what causes you the most stress, and you’ll be be able to combat it accordingly.

3. Examine your reactions

It’s time to get pro-active. “Take a step back and examine the situation objectively. What can you do to affect, control or improve the situation?,” asks Carmel. Can you manage negative emotions more positively? Can you plan your working day better, or find ways to be more productive?

“Have an open conversation with your manager too,” Carmel suggests. “And use it, not as an opportunity to complain, but as an opportunity to create a strategy to reduce your stressors. Clarify what is expected of you in your role, and get information about wellness programmes that the organisation is involved in.”

Remind yourself what is good about your job and what you enjoy doing.

4. Focus on what is really important and why

If it’s a heavy work load that’s getting you down it may help to prioritise. The thing to remember? “You don’t have to do everything yourself,” says Carmel “You don’t have to control or micromanage, so delegate where possible.”

And forget multi-tasking too. Instead of juggling several things at once, “focus on one thing at a time,” says Carmel. “Focusing on a singular objective will help to reduce stress.”

Outside of work it’s important to look after yourself as well. “Ensure that you’re getting enough sleep and exercising daily,” recommends Carmel. “If sleeping is a problem, try writing your worries in your journal before going to sleep at night.”

5. Reconnect with your work motivators

Lastly, you’ll want to reevaluate what it is you love about your job, and what motivates you to do well at work. “Remind yourself what’s good about your job and what you enjoy doing, then examine how you could use these skills more in your current role,” suggests Carmel.