Stress is something that we all must deal with in life. There are certain life events, such as divorce, death of a loved-one, or even buying a home that obviously lead to higher levels of stress. But, according to the Holmes-Rahe Life Events Scale, many still consider events related to the workplace as some of the most stressful life events. The Scale rates the level of stress caused by life events and assigns a number value to each event. Workplace related events such as being fired, altered job responsibilities, changes in financial status, trouble with the boss, variations in work hours or conditions, retirement and even vacations, all rate high on the scale.
While professionals everywhere experience work related stress, professionals in the energy industry are experiencing more stress in the workplace than they have in previous years. Many sectors of the industry are experiencing extremely quick growth and employers are dealing with the pressure of international competition, meaning energy employees are being required to do more and more – and in less time.
You can take steps to address the causes of workplace related stress but sometimes a quicker and more successful approach is to improve how you handle the stress. Below are a few tips that can help you manage your stress levels better, to be happier and more productive in the workplace.
- Make sure you get enough sleep. If you are waking up every morning feeling tired, it may be because you are not getting enough sleep. Your mind and your body use the hours when you are sleeping to renew themselves. You should dedicate at least 7 – 8 hours to sleep each night. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, get your schedule back on track by going to bed at least half an hour earlier in the evening. To make falling asleep easier, make sure your bedroom is an environment that’s ideal for sleep. Try eliminating TVs, exercise machines and desks from your bedroom as they can distract you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Keep your sleeping quarters dark and cool which creates an optimal environment for sleep. If you find it’s hard to fall asleep (or stay asleep), consider speaking with your doctor about medical treatments that can help you get the rest you need.
- Eat a healthy diet. Cut back on your intake of coffee, sodas, and sweets. It’s very tempting to use these to get a quick boost of energy, but they are not good fuel for your mind and body during difficult times. A diet consisting of lean meats, vegetables and fruits will help your body manage stress levels better and will give your body the nutrition it needs. Bananas or other foods that are rich in potassium can help regulate your blood pressure, which often rises during times of high stress. Having a banana as your afternoon snack, instead of a candy bar, can offer the immediate benefit of increased energy levels and can protect your body from the negative effects of stress. If you can’t maintain a healthy diet take a nutritional supplement to get your daily allotment of vitamins and minerals.
- Get some form of real exercise every day. If you work at a demanding desk job, you need to get some physical exercise once the work day is over. If you are not the type of person who wants to join a gym, find some other form of physical activity such as walking, swimming or dancing, that you enjoy, and do it regularly. You can add physical activity to your day by taking a 10 to 15 minute walk outside. Walking in green spaces not only helps clear your mind, it also boost endorphins, which reduces stress levels. If you simply don’t have time to exercise, try making small changes like taking the stairs, parking further from your building and even walking to lunch as opposed to driving, many small changes can add up.
- Learn to meditate. Many people find that meditation is an extremely helpful way to relax and control stress. Meditation calms the mind and brings an overall feeling of peace. Breathing meditation is one of the easiest methods to learn and it can immediately reduce your stress levels. Everyone can do it and it can be done practically anywhere – even at the office. To try breathing meditation you’ll want to find a quiet place, if there’s not a quiet place in your office consider wearing ear plugs or noise canceling headphones. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your back straight, and allow your eyes to partially close while you focus your attention on your breathing. Breathe in and out slowly through your nostrils, remain focused on your breathing and resist the temptation to allow your mind to follow other thoughts as they arise. Spending just 5 to 10 minutes a day meditating can help reduce stress levels and bring some much needed peace during stressful times.
- Ask for help. If you feel unable to cope with workplace stress, find a trusted counselor who can give you support and advice. You may be able to find a good counselor by asking your doctor or an adviser at your church. Counseling services may also be available at a local mental health organization or even through your workplace.
Remember that stress affects both the mind and the body. To maintain good health, it is important to take steps to improve your ability to cope with stress as soon as you notice you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. By following these easy tips, you can start managing workplace stress – before it starts managing you!
Strategic Contract Resources can lessen the stress that comes with staffing a new facility by providing quality professionals in a timely manner. Whether providing project-to-project personnel or supporting a direct-hire search, we operate under the basic principles of finding the right candidates for our client’s needs. Through these principles we have established and maintained our reputation as a premier recruiting firm supporting our clients in the energy industry with all their personnel needs. Contact us today to learn how we can help your firm hire top talent in the petrochemical, LNG, oil and gas, power, renewable energy, and related process industries.