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Lifestyle: Tips for Dealing with Stress in the Workplace

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Lifestyle: Tips for Dealing with Stress in the Workplace
Photo by Geralt (Pixabay)


Written by  Staff Writer
Saturday, 05 August 2017 23:06

How can stress affect you and what can you do to overcome it? Whilst a high percentage of business owners, managers and executives feel that prompt and positive action to ease and eliminate stress is important, most are unaware of how or where to seek help.

For any business, regardless of size, to address workplace stress effectively, it must first understand what stress is: its causes, its effects, and the risks involved.


So let's start by defining what stress is

Stress is a natural and normal reaction to many situations. It may be thought of as the body's response to life itself.

Stress is generally defined as the response to events or situations that make a demand of the body, and cause people to feel tension, pressure, excitement above the individual's 'normal' level, or negative emotions such as anxiety and anger. In simple terms, stress occurs when the pressure on an individual exceeds, or is perceived to exceed, their ability to cope.

It occurs when body and mind are required to perform beyond its normal range of capability. This is the case when people experience situations that they perceive as particularly meaningful, as dangerous or threatening to their well-being.

Excessive stress can signify an interference that disturbs a person's mental and physical health. Especially in high-risk situations it is a justifiable reaction but often people may find it difficult to realise or to admit that they are stressed.

 It is often a misconception in business, that all stress is good because it is a stimulant and a driver.

Pressure can in fact be good when pressure stimulates and motivates, but when it progresses to become negative stress, then it is not healthy and never produces positive results.

What are the signs and the effects on the individual?

Stress manifests itself in three areas:

  • psychological
  • physiological
  • behavioural

So what should you be on the "look-out" for in yourself, and others?

The main indication that one is suffering from stress, is change. It may be a noticeable fall in concentration levels or lapses in attention to detail. It is perhaps more frequent sickness or tiredness. Maybe it will be a significant change in personality or social habits. Recognising these signs will help you to see that a problem exists.

How can stress impact your business?

For the sole traders, business owners, executives and management, the impact, both personal and commercial, can be devastating to your business, and no business is immune to its devastating effects.

For example, work-related stress can result in serious consequences for any company, small or large. Stress can not only affect a company financially, but it can have negative consequences on morale and performance.

Some examples of these effects are:

  • loss of self-motivation
  • increased time losses due to illness
  • reduced levels of performance/productivity
  • deadlines not met, placing business at risk
  • low self-esteem
  • increased danger of major errors and accidents.

What can you do?

If you run your own small business, the chances are that you were previously employed by a large company, where support functions were in place and were you had the support of many other colleagues. If you are now running your own firm, you'll find yourself now responsible for all tasks, and that can lead to you feeling alone and even isolated.

If above denotes your situation, there are four primary focal areas that you need to take into account if you want to avoid potential stress effects.

  • Time management. Strong self-discipline is essential to ensure that priorities are set, tasks are completed on time, and that your time is well planned and adhered to. Anticipate possible pitfalls, and plan in advance for such eventualities.
  • Involve your staff. If you employ staff, don’t assume that your staff don’t understand, or that they don’t want to be involved. Whilst they may not have your level of knowledge, sharing successes and concerns gives them a sense of belonging, of value, boosts morale, and creates a team culture which shares the pressures. Remember that the best ideas do not always come from the top.
  • Health and relaxation. Good health is vital to your success, never more so than in a smaller business, where so much is dependent on you. Regular exercise, combined with good dietary habits, is essential. Despite the demands placed upon you, it is important to be able to relax and switch off from work pressures. Regularly seeking out moments of calm and relaxation, such as reading quietly, listening to music, a walk in the park, or joining friends at your local, will have the desired effect.
  • Local business community. Running your own business can be lonely, but need not be so. Consider joining your local Business Association or Business Network. This will give you the opportunity to share experiences with those in a similar position. Networking will also bring new business opportunities.


Final Tips

  • Be constantly alert to possible stress factors, both in yourself and colleagues, and act swiftly.
  • Be mindful of your health, and make time to relax.
  • Be positive, determined, confident, highly self-motivated and disciplined.




Note: This article was first published on on 11 May 2015
Written by  Laurinda Seabra




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