Workplace stress is an uncomfortable response of the body to an undue demand made upon it (adapted from Dr. Hans Seyle’s definition of stress). That demand can come from the environment (manager, client or even colleague) or from within; meaning yourself - and that is the worst one! Often, you place a demand that is not warranted by the environment. You think that you need to do something when no one actually asked you to do it. As a result, you make yourself run “like a chicken with its head cut off,” trying to accomplish something that is neither important nor needed. At other times, the demands placed upon you are way too real, and the stress comes from the realization that you cannot achieve the desired result no matter how much you try. That thought, whether real or not, that puts us on a treadmill of never-ending tasks is the one that leaves you feeling depleted, inept and discouraged to try again.

To alleviate the stress that work puts on us, we need the help of 3 Cs - Connect, Create and Control. Let’s look at them one by one.

First, the most important one in my mind – Connect! We are social animals, and our core need is to belong. When our body feels stressed, connecting with another person helps you feel taken care of. Remember that feeling you get when you tell your favourite co-worker about a bad experience with a boss or a client, and they listen with attention and care. Remember the warmth it brings - that’s the feeling I am talking about! All the people I met who were stressed at work could talk about one person who makes their day better; just talking about them brings a smile to their faces. I hope it will for you too. So, when you start feeling stressed, go connect with someone you trust! Have a quick coffee, take a walk around the building, or send a quick text. Remind yourself that you are not in it alone!

Now, let’s look at Create! You might tell me, that your job does not require creativity; it is well-prescribed, and you have to do it a certain way. This could not be further from the truth, you are able to bring some of our personality to your job, any job. I always have the best experience in my local Starbucks when one employee there greets me with a funny joke, I leave smiling and I bet it makes their day better, too. Creativity can be equated to fun! When we are having fun, it is hard to be stressed. So, find something in your job that will allow you to bring creativity to your day; maybe it is as simple as a coloured pen you use to make notes a fun font for your signature, or your own special greeting for your clients; let your creativity soar! Just as the need to connect, having fun is one of our core needs. Don’t forget it, even at work.

Finally, last but not least, - Control. No, I am not talking about controlling others, I am talking about controlling oneself. Stress often makes us feel chaotic out of control, powerless. So, take your power back!

Again, you might tell me, that you can’t; that your managers decide all for you. It might be true, but they don’t decide it all… you still control how you react to things. You get to choose your attitude… as Victor Franke, celebrated psychologist and Holocaust survivor, says, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” Victor Frankl developed this view in a concentration camp - he has survived 4 of them, one of which was Auschwitz. The point is, if Frankel could choose his attitude in the most inhumane place on Earth, you can do it at your workplace. Now, don’t mix up attitude with your mood: you can still be upset with circumstances, but attitude is what you choose to do about them. For example, I may feel overwhelmed during a busy season, as my phone rings non-stop, and it is honestly annoying, but I can choose to view it as an opportunity to connect with clients and bring my expertise to solve the difficulties they are expressing to me.

Another note about Control… start small… you decide where your keyboard on your desk is, you decide what cup you use for your coffee, maybe it is not a coffee, maybe a tea or water… you get the point. Don’t stop there; keep going, take control wherever you can. It might not eliminate the stress, but it will put you back into that driver’s seat!

P.S. I am always here for you; book your free consultation now.

Publication date: 2023-10-10


Get in touch with Polina during working hours, or schedule a session today.