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How to Create a Stress-Free Work Environment

Jennifer Post

Work is a main source of stress for a lot of people, even for those who love their jobs. Sometimes loving your job makes it more stressful, because you care so much about doing the job well that you burn yourself out. Other things stress people out at work too.

"People are stressed at work due to the people and the tasks. This includes work colleagues, who may be difficult to get along with or who don't pull their weight, and challenging bosses," said Dr. Olivia Rose and advisor to Remedy Review. "The demands and pressures are high. There's competition and tight deadlines to adhere to, which all leads to stress."

Stress-free work starts with self-care

Stress can at least be minimized so, if you're lucky, you can enjoy a completely stress-free work environment.

"Incorporating self-care at work is important. Set a timer and get up each hour to stretch, get water or take a washroom break," Rose said.

Rose added that communication is also key. "Communicate with your boss about how you feel about your role instead of bottling it up inside. Take notes and discuss your concerns with human resources as well. Getting your concerns off your chest may help you manage stress a bit easier," Rose said.

No attempt at a stress-free life, at work or outside of work, will yield miraculous results overnight. Rose advised taking baby steps.

"Pack healthy lunches instead of eating out all the time and cut coffee. Stress management begins with what you put in your body. Coffee makes stress worse by increasing the stress hormone, raising the heart rate and creating dehydration by stimulating the kidneys," Rose suggested.

Rose also suggested that, if allowed, work from home on occasion. If workplace politics are what's bringing you down, getting out of that environment could do wonders for your stress levels.

The gender difference

Unum recently found that working women experience more stress than men. Fifty-four percent of working women experience stress on a daily or weekly basis compared to 47 percent of men.

Marc Lewis, executive editor for Remedy Review, said money could play an important factor in workplace stress. Men, for example, could be more likely to leave a job that's too stressful, while women may be more inclined to remain at a company.

"Maybe men are OK giving up money for less stress because they think they can get it back in the long run, where a woman may feel compelled to hold on to the gains she's made," Lewis said.

Chip Munn, managing partner at Signature Wealth Strategies thinks that notion is changing.

"Men are becoming more interested in the relationship between money and stress. In fact, I recently had a man I was interviewing tell me that he was 'over going to work at a place he didn't love,'" Munn said.

Christine Agro, best-selling author and business coach, said that she thinks women aren't as linear in their thinking as men.

"Women tend to take in the whole picture and recognize that more money doesn't mean better quality of life or [that they'll be] happier," Agro said. She does recognize that is a generalization, but as a business coach, she sees more women than men walk away from high-paying jobs to work on something more meaningful and rewarding, even if it pays less.

The Remedy Review study also showed that men are much more comfortable talking about stressors at work with their supervisors over women, which may not come as a surprise to many. Lewis said that men have a history of getting away with behaviors and opinions that would get a woman labeled as "emotional."

"The first step is being aware of unfair standards and treating everyone like a person," Lewis said.

Another aspect is on leaders to create an environment where everyone, regardless of gender, feels comfortable talking about work stress.

"We all feel stress, it's normal," Munn said. "By allowing our team to make healthy choices to deal with the daily pressures we face, we can model good choices for them. It's much easier to feel comfortable discussing workplace stress with someone they've seen find healthy ways to work through it."

Workplace stress is inevitable, but how you handle it is up to you. Habits like packing a healthy lunch, taking a break to walk around the office or taking a few days to work from home, can decrease the amount of stress you feel from work.

Image Credit: Aysezgicmeli/Shutterstock
Jennifer Post
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Jennifer Post is a professional writer with published works focusing on small business topics including marketing, financing, and how-to guides. She has also published articles on business formation, business software, public relations and human resources. Her work has also appeared in Fundera and The Motley Fool.