Workplace stress is a serious issue and you may feel like there is nothing you can do to eliminate it. Even if you love what you do, you can still become overwhelmed and feel pressured due to tight deadlines and a flurry of demands. Feeling stressed can be harmful to both physical and emotional health. You can’t always avoid tensions that happen on the job, but you can take steps to manage work-related stress. Common causes of work-related stress Excessive workloads Lack of support Little opportunities for growth or development Low salaries Complicated work with insufficient/no training Why is it important to manage stress? Living with high levels of stress is putting your entire well-being at risk. Your ability to think clearly, function effectively and enjoy life is affected by the stress you’re going through.With that in mind, it’s important that you manage your stress levels before you put yourself at risk of developing a range of illnesses – from the common cold to severe heart disease. Taking steps to manage work-related stress We’ve put together 5 tips to help you manage stress in the workplace. Take a deep breath This may seem like a very obvious step when trying to manage stress, but few of us actually take the time to take deep breaths to help us calm down. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or feel tense and need to clear your head, take a few minutes out of your day to focus on your breathing to restore balance. Simply inhale for 5 seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through your nose do this for 3 minutes. Eliminate interruptions Modern office workers are interrupted 7 times an hour and distracted for approximately 2 hours a day by emails, calls, instant messages, colleagues popping in and sudden urgent deadlines to meet. You may not have control over people who interrupt you, but you can control your response. Once you’ve been interrupted it accept it, decide how important the task is and make a plan. For example, only respond to emails during a certain time frame and close the door when you need to focus on work to prevent colleagues from popping in. If someone has an urgent request, they are more likely to phone or come over and talk to you than send an email. Establish work-life boundaries In today’s digital world, it’s easy to feel pressure to be available 24/7. Establish some work-life boundaries. Avoid checking your emails or answering a call out of office hours. Some of us may have different preferences when it comes to how much we blend our work and home life, but creating clear boundaries can help to reduce work-life conflict and the stress that goes with it. Take time out Take time out to recharge your batteries and learn how to relax. To avoid the negative effect of stress we need time to return to our pre-stress level of functioning. This requires ‘switching off’ from work by having a period of time where you don’t engage or think about work. Take time off work when you can to relax and unwind, so you can return to work feeling reenergised. If you can’t take time off work learn how to relax with techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness to help you eliminate the stress. Ask for support Healthy employees are typically more productive, so your employer has an incentive to create a work environment that promotes employee well-being. If you feel comfortable, start a conversation with your supervisor and talk about how you’re feeling and what is making you stressed. Coming up with an effective plan to help manage how you’re feeling can perform best on the job. Accepting help from family and friends can help you to improve your ability to manage stress. Your employer may also have a system in place to offer resources for managing workplace stress including online information, available counselling and referral to mental health professionals.