Managing Work-Related Stress in the Work-From-Home Era

stressed out woman

Stress has always been the number one enemy of everyone. Various studies have shown that excessive stress can lead to physical symptoms, including increased blood pressure, stomach pains, chest pains, and difficulty sleeping. Chronic stress could even cause one to gain or lose weight due to its effect on the body.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has pushed several organizations all over the world to adopt a work-from-home scheme to continue operation. However, social isolation—compounded by physical inactivity—has taken a severe toll on employees’ health.

Work From Home Amid COVID-19

Working from home is not a new concept, as about 20 percent of employed American adults have worked from home before the pandemic. However, the number who are currently in a work-from-home setup has increased to 71 percent.

While the transition to telework has been relatively easy for most, about 43 percent of workers between the ages of 18 to 49 stated that they had had a hard time feeling motivated to do their work.

Half of the parents with children below 18 who are teleworking find it challenging to concentrate on work as there have been frequent interruptions at home since the start of the outbreak.

True enough that teleworking offers flexibility. However, based on a study conducted amid the pandemic, people who have been working from home experienced a considerable increase in loneliness and work-related stress.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), stress is a hazard in the work environment costing companies over $190 billion in healthcare bills annually.

Stress is not confined to specific industries. Furthermore, one might feel stressed from work with a lack of social interaction that a typical workplace environment offers.

There is no guaranteed solution to eliminate work-related stress completely. However, there are many ways we can mitigate it. Let us find out more about these ways.

1. Value Workspace Wellness

Remember the saying, “All work, no play makes Jack or Jill a dull child”? While hard work is essential, you need to balance it out to keep it sustainable. Valuing workspace wellness simply means making your work-from-home experience productive, enjoyable, comfortable, and healthy. These are some of the best ways how you can achieve it:

  • Add greenery to your view by setting up indoor plants to your desk or home office area.
  • Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day to keep those creative juices flowing.
  • Embrace natural light to boost mood and productivity. Apart from that, reducing the use of artificial light during the day is cost-efficient.
  • Add a scented candle or diffuser to make your work environment smell good. Same with greenery, a good-smelling home office can lighten up your mood.

2. Learn How to Organize

One of the major stressors is feeling overwhelmed. When you see tasks piling up every day, you cannot help feeling that there is just too much to handle. However, this feeling of being overwhelmed can be managed by learning how to prioritize and organize tasks. That way, you can manage work-related stress. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Clarify your goals so that you can evaluate what tasks need to be prioritized.
  • Learn to focus on two or three things each week. The small steps you take each day, each week, have a massive impact on your goals.
  • Although you take things slow, set a deadline for each task. Make use of your calendar, and do not forget to schedule your breaks as well. You deserve some rest.

men having a conversation

3. Nurture Positive Relationships

The normal work environment enables employees to interact with each other at work. Plus, modern offices these days love hosting team-building activities fostering organic strong office friendships. But with a remote work setup due to COVID-19, it is harder to interact with your workmates online.

Nonetheless, you and your teammates could always arrange for an online interactive event. You could arrange for a monthly “catching up” with the team via Zoom, host a virtual game night, play video games, or simply organize a chillax Friday movie night with everyone.

4. Engage in Physical Activity

Regular aerobic exercise helps reduce stress naturally. When you engage in physical activities, your body releases happy hormones, which boost your mood. In an early 1980s study, it was found out that regular workouts help alleviate people’s mood with moderate depression.

According to studies, you should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity each day to stay fit. Help relax your muscles after a fruitful run or gym session with suction cups for physical therapy.

5. Eat Right

A lot of people “eat their feelings” when stressed out. But this habit of eating “comfort food” whenever you are stressed leads to an unhealthy cycle which leaves you feeling more stressed.

Instead of filling your body with empty calories and sugar, opt for healthier options instead. These healthy options include complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, lean protein, and superfood.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Stress can lead to chronic insomnia. However, studies also show that lack of quality sleep is a contributing factor to insomnia. Poor sleep makes you prone to irritability, mood swings, and inability to cope up with stress.

Easier said than done, but you have to learn how to discipline yourself in getting the right amount of sleep. Aim for at least 8 hours every night. Teach your body’s internal clock by going to bed at the same time each day.

Work-related stress is inevitable, especially now that companies expect higher productivity from employees. However, you can always manage it with the above-mentioned six essential tips.

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