Today, workplace stress is considered the price that one must be willing to pay. It is almost considered something that one must resign to and conversations involving people competing on whose job is the most stressful are common in social gatherings. However, when it comes to workplace stress – it is not all doom and gloom and there are ways in which one can tame this beast. To understand it further, we got in touch with Dr. Dinika Anand, Clinical Psychologist, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital. Here’s what she has to say:
Firstly, one can start by creating practices and rituals which allow one to acknowledge and appreciate one’s efforts at work. A common practice I encourage my clients to adopt here is to make “I accomplished” lists in addition to their to-do lists. Similarly, stopping to give oneself a pat on the back – for both doing the job and for seeing it to the finish line helps.
Secondly, changing our approach toward how we set goals and expectations helps mitigate stress. In this space recognising what and how much of resources a task requires allows for more realistic expectations. This translates into acknowledging that while editing a 10-page document takes 15 minutes in isolation but doing the same when in the middle of 5 other things will require more time! As a start, I ask clients to add a “time needed” column to their to-do list because deadlines are the indeed the biggest culprit!
Thirdly, having some boundaries within our workplace is also crucial for keeping stress meter readings in check. Boundaries at the workplace include having some personal rules around how much work you carry with you once you leave the office as well as ensuring that your workplace buddy is not the only friend with whom you spend after work hours. These are essential because they allow us to for much needed mental breaks from work. A simple start would be to have at least an hour spread through your day in which you don’t dial into work mentally or physically.
Lastly, building self-care practices is a crucial but often ignored part of our stress management practices. At the altar of our busy schedules, we give up on small things that help nurture and nourish us. Our days at work and outside are an endless fight to catch up to never-ending to-do lists leaving us depleted and drained. This is why it is important to make time – even if it is 15 minutes for doing things that feel like nourishment.
The key to stress management lies between the extremes of trying to eliminate it and resigning to always feeling stressed and on edge. It is about accepting it but also arming oneself with strategies, practices, and spaces which help mitigate it. Be it 5 minutes spent looking at the sky from your balcony before you start your day or a cup of tea with a colleague when both of you listen to a favourite song together – find things that help calm your frazzled nerves!