Career Trends: Managing stress at work

4 min read

Edition: May 28th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS


We don’t need to demonise stress but understand it better. (Image Credit: Freepik)

Excerpts from article by Jenisha Shah, published in mpowerminds.com

With many of us struggling to keep up with the demands of work from home, it’s hardly a surprise that occupational stress has been on the rise.

What is Occupational stress?

Occupational Stress is a physiological and psychological response to events or conditions in the workplace that is detrimental to health and well-being.

Stress at work impacts nearly every system of the body, influencing how people feel and behave.

However, not all stress is bad! We don’t need to demonise stress but understand it better.

Identify the stressors

  • There are two kinds of stress: Eustress and Distress – both of which can motivate us in different ways.
  • Survival and performance need Eustress. It is the stress that helps us take on a doable challenge, leading to a positive experience and self-growth.
  • Distress is associated with any stressor that is deemed to be negative. It causes anxiety and hinders our ability to function appropriately and think clearly.
  • Effects of constant stress at work usually result in fatigue, lack of productive behaviour, job dissatisfaction, higher attrition rate, and burn out in the worst-case scenario.
  • When your body is under constant stress, it results in low energy, weight gain, high blood pressure and ultimately lifestyle diseases like diabetes and mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc.

9 ways to defuse and manage stress

1. Reappraising your Goals

Remembering and re-evaluating your goals will help you focus your energy better. It will contribute to the longevity of your efforts and optimise your strategy so that you are not waylaid with distractions which further add to your stress.

2. The morning routine of nothingness

Meditation may feel daunting. However, an alternative is to do nothing and simply focus on your breath after waking up. Doing this just for 10 minutes helps in being a little less reactive and more reflective through the day. Don’t let your phone decide your mood for the day!

3. Finding value in the work you do

Find at least one thing you value in the work you do every day. Focus on aspects of the job that you enjoy, even if it’s just spending time with your co-workers. It will help reframe the way you look at your work and regain a sense of purpose and control.

4. Creating and maintaining boundaries

Everyone has their different interpretations of what work-life balance means to them. Creating clear boundaries between work and home life will reduce the potential for any conflict and the stress that goes with it.

5. Pausing to reflect and communicate

Stop and think of all the stressors that have been affecting you lately. Find a way to brainstorm with a friend or a colleague to reach a resolution and challenge the roadblocks you might be facing.

6. Prioritising self-care

Start prioritising your health and well-being. Taking care of yourself means being mindful and proactive. Self-care is never selfish or wrong. Eat, sleep, exercise, recharge and repeat.

7. Celebrating your victories

Pat yourself on the back or cheer yourself a little every time you make a healthy choice for yourself at work. Relish the big and small achievements they can be highly effective in the long run.

8. Recharging and relaxing

Take regular breaks. Take a break from technology and go for a walk every day. Take a break from work and go on a short trip every few months. This will also help you gain healthier perspectives in places you felt stuck.

9. Finding support

Delegating and asking for help from work buddies can help relieve stress. If the feeling of anxiety continues to overwhelm you, then it would be advisable to talk to a psychologist / counsellor – someone who can help you understand unhealthy behaviour patterns and manage your stress better.


(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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