7 Sneaky Reasons Why You’re Stressed at Work and How to Fix Them

how to reduce stress at work

Spoiler alert: It’s not about your current tasks at hand.

We get it – you have a lot of to-dos at work. You have a lot of pending tasks, disabling you from focusing on today’s tasks. Your sticky notes and crumpled sheets are all over the place. Your manager keeps reminding you of your deadlines. It’s stressful, we know, but it’s bearable. With time management and the right dose of caffeine to perk you up (or tea to calm you down), you can accomplish them efficiently.

However, there are other sneaky stressors which may drive you nuts more than your already stressful workload. You don’t pay much attention to them, but they’re present, affecting your mood and productivity at work. Do you know what they are?

1. Feeling stuck in a rut:

It’s easy for stress to build up if you feel like you’re doing the same things over and over again, from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. Even the most exciting jobs can feel exhausting at some point. It’s common to feel stuck in a rut but quitting isn’t always the answer. After all, you’re being paid to do the job.

See if you could do something to break the routine and make your workplace feel a little gentler. Use your breaks well. Instead of eating in the pantry, go out and see if there are new restaurants around the block. Talk to people, including the people at home. Spruce up your desk. Decorate your spreadsheets. One or two changes can make a big difference.

2. Personal problems stealing time and energy :

You’re sitting at your desk, trying to concentrate on the task at hand. However, you can’t stop thinking about the issues at home – the credit card payment due tomorrow plus the argument you had with your husband.

You need to learn to compartmentalize. Try to leave the home-life at the door of the office to prevent it from spilling into your work-life. Talking to a friend or even a therapist could also help you let go of what’s distracting you. This allows you to be on work mode when you’re in the office.

3. There’s a micromanager in the house :

Supervision can either be a blessing or a curse – when managers do it right, employees will have a sense of direction, support, and guidance needed to reach their maximum potential. Ineffective managers, on the other hand, can be a total strain for employees, rendering them more unproductive than ever.

One of the causes of headache on the job is too much supervision. We call it micro-management – a toxic management style wherein a superior closely observes and/or controls his/her subordinates. Micro-managed employees feel incompetent in their abilities as if they did nothing right. You can fix this problem by voicing out your concerns, especially if you feel like you’re not alone.

4. There’s no wiggle room :

Do you get more exhausted of your daily commute than your actual job? Is the office politics draining you? How about the endless meetings? When everything’s getting overwhelming, sometimes the best cure is to take a break. It can be a few minutes away from the desk or a complete day off to recharge. But what if you don’t have that much wiggle room?

Further stress will build if your employer isn’t flexible. Try to ask for flexible work options, like doing work from home or flexible schedule to solve work-related sources of stress.

5. You feel incompetent :

Stress levels will rise, and confidence will drop if employees feel less competent than their peers. If you’ve been in the company for years, you may feel intimidated by the newer batch of employees who are younger, more driven, and who are likely to perform more efficiently.

Instead of bringing yourself down, use this opportunity to take your abilities up a notch. Stay up to date. Do some reading. Educate yourself more. Turn your frustrations into something positive.

6. You’re experiencing job insecurity :

Job insecurity is the biggest stressor at work. Your job is unpredictable. You feel like your efforts aren’t good enough and they may be looking out for your replacement. You’re even unsure if you’re going to be employed from one week to the next.

One of the best ways to gain security is by developing a better relationship with your supervisor and the HR services department. Ask the right questions. This way, you’ll be assured with accurate information about your career status instead of being a victim of hearsays.

7. Your e-mail notifications :

Give yourself a favor and go to your phone settings to turn off the notifications from your work e-mail. Stop checking your e-mails as well as the status of your current task when you’re on your break. Ask your colleagues to refrain from texting you about work-related matters unless it’s urgent. Nothing ruins a happy Sunday lunch with your family than a single bell sound from your phone, reminding you of the tasks waiting for you in the office.   

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a creative writer for HR Dept Australia, a provider of affordable and pragmatic HR services and employment law advice in Australia. Writing about helpful career management solutions for both employees and employers is her cup of tea.


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