Staying Sane While Under Stress at Work

Stress is a part of our lives, but in the web design and development field it can be particularly present. Here are our tips on managing stress in the workplace.

It's 2018, and stress is everywhere. Even in the most perceivably stress-free lines of work (is that even a thing anymore?), the level of individual responsibility, and subsequently personal stress, seems to be fast increasing. For many, work stress is a fact of life, and often not something that can be controlled to a great degree. Normally, we experience stress as a reaction to certain triggers, situations or expectations, which are, for a large number of people, largely uncontrollable in a demanding work environment.

In 2014, a study commissioned by Tilda found that over 50% of Brits believe that their levels of stress and anxiety are increasing. That figure is not only enormous but fairly concerning too. In the same year, British organization HSE (Health and Safety Executive), published a report claiming that stress accounted for 35% of all work-related ill health cases, and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health. As you can see, stress induced by high pressure work environments is usually not a good thing.

The real problem with work-related stress is that it often leads to more stress, rather than a positive result. In our personal life, it's fairly easy to shed negative sources of energy and emotion, but the same can't be said for what goes on at work, for obvious reasons.

Given that so many of us simply don't have the luxury of walking away when stress at work becomes too much, these proactive tips will help you remain sane while under growing demand at work.

1. Introduce Micro-Breaks Into Your Schedule

Unsurprisingly, the average American currently works 9.2 hours a day. But what is surprising, is that more often than not, that's without a break. In fact, according to Online Business Degree, only 1 in 3 people take a lunch break during work hours, with the remaining 66% either eating at their desks or not taking a break at all.

However, Online Business Degree claim that "microbreaks" go a long way—and a break of between just 30 seconds to 5 minutes can improve mental acuity by an average of 13%.

Additionally, for those staring at a computer screen for hours on end, a break of 15 seconds every 10 minutes can reduce fatigue by 50%.

2. Consider Taking a Short Vacation Next Weekend

As simple as it seems, taking a well-earned break may be just your ticket to a long-term reduction in stress levels. Going away for as little as two days (the weekend is a great time for this) can help clear your mind and allow your body to rest, both physically and mentally, preparing you to deliver for the week ahead.

Some studies have indicated that workers living in countries that habitually take more vacations are in fact more productive than American workers, who, on average, take less time off.

Even if you can't afford to go abroad right now, vacating to somewhere within the country can be just as exhilarating.

But, for goodness sake, don't get in the habit of checking emails and responding to work calls while away — that's just counterproductive.

3. Shed the Stress From Your Personal Life

Unlike demands from your manager and monthly productivity reports, your personal life is something you have a fair amount of control over. Take advantage of this by reducing your stress outside of work, by shedding negativity and unnecessary expenses. Finding a good relief from your stress, such as a good hobby, exercise, and meditation can be highly beneficial for both short and long-term well-being.

Dr. Carol, UK-based psychologist, shares her thoughts on the importance of exercise and its links with stress reduction. "Exercises releases endorphins, which are the chemicals responsible for the feel-good factor. When we exercise, we feel good, which helps to relieve stress. Also, high levels of tension are one of the contributing factors of stress, and exercise helps the body to release tension — think 'loosening up’."

4. Shutting Down Your Email Can Reduce Stress

Something that’s probably skipped your attention is just how much of a part email can play in prolonging feelings of stress and being overwhelmed. Particularly if your mail app is constantly chiming, you may find that you experience prolonged feelings of stress or anxiety, which can increase throughout the course of the day.

Logging out of email or temporarily closing down your app can work wonders when trying to focus on meeting demands.

To Conclude

The studies mentioned above hint that the typical working adult of 2018 is perhaps having to deal with increasing amounts of work-induced stress than in years gone by.

It's important that, for the benefit of both your physical and mental health, you take steps to reduce your long-term stress level.

How do you deal with stressful periods of work?