5 Causes of Work Stress & How to Deal with Them

Work consumes pretty much most of our time. Once we step out of our homes, we subject ourselves to 8 hours filled with meetings, deadlines, business pitches and more. For five days a week, we face various challenges in the workplace that are enough to stress out any modern Filipina. But stress is an inevitable part of working. Anyone who’s had a job has felt the pressure of work-related stress at some point in their lives. Even though you love what you do, work stress can sometimes be overwhelming.

Image from Jessie Romaneix Goselln via Flickr Creative Commons

Image from Jessie Romaneix Goselln via Flickr Creative Commons

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid workplace tensions; it comes with the job. On the bright side, you can manage stress better. Here are the common causes of workplace stress and how you can deal with them:

1. A Heavy Workload

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines! You’re basically the Queen of OT because you always have a mountain of work to finish. Work often challenges your multitasking skills. On one hand, you clutch your phone while you converse with an important client as your fingers traverse the keyboard, typing important details for your 3 o’clock meeting. Doing so many things in so little time will burn you out. If you don’t do anything about it, you might find yourself steaming at the end of your shift.

Rather than force yourself to do everything at once, pause for a moment. Think and prioritize. Sort out today’s to-do list—which should you attend to first? Proper organization is the key to dealing with your heavy workload. And when you’re overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. In fact, if you can see at the outset that a job requires more than one person, inform your boss that you’ll need help to complete everything on time. As long as you phrase this properly, rather than making you look weak, asking for help tells your boss that you are able to accurately predict workloads and that you care about getting the project done well and on time.



2. Competition at Work

Competition is healthy; it drives us to exceed our employers’ expectations. There’s nothing wrong with challenging yourself to do better. But if the thought of competition derails us to the point of stress, then we have a problem. Dealing with the pressure of competition takes its toll on modern Filipinas. Some of us force ourselves to work beyond our capacities, which can lead to physical and mental fatigue. It also causes strains in your relationship with your colleagues.

Reduce the stress by keeping your cool. Again, there’s nothing wrong with challenging yourself but if you are pushing yourself to the extreme, pause for a moment. Ask yourself: is the competition worth it? Set some personal limits. This doesn’t entail reducing your performance; you just need to take a break once in a while. Don’t be too obsessed with staying on top. And consider the reasons for your competitiveness. Do you just want to outshine that other person or put them down? Then that’s not a good, healthy reason for competition. Your rivals only serve to remind you that you can do better—the real competition is to make sure that you just get better and better, and while you should be aware of how others are doing, you should focus more on making sure you continue to improve yourself and your own efforts.


3. Boss Troubles

It’s all too easy to make your bosses the villains of your office life, but the truth is, their lives are just as hard (if not harder) than yours because they have to juggle the needs and wants of their bosses with the needs and wants of their team (i.e., you). They’re not there to make your life miserable. But it’s good to remember that they’re human and they make mistakes. Some employers encounter difficulties when it comes to management and may micromanage or be too lax in their leadership style. Some bosses are demanding, forcing us to work beyond our capabilities, and some just don’t deal with stress or pressure very well. Dealing with unreasonable employers can be frustrating and tiring at the same time. After all, you have a lot on your plate; you don’t have the time to deal with a crazy boss. Don’t let the stress get you down.

The first step is to change your mindset. Don’t think that your boss is out to get you. If your employer always barrages you with tasks, it emphasizes his/her reliance on you. Don’t focus on your frustrations, set your eyes on the job instead and do your best. Also find ways to manage your manager; if you know that they react to last-minute blow-ups, try anticipating problems that could happen down the line and tell them about it, maybe even suggesting preventive measures. If your boss is forgetful, send them reminders or make sure things are laid out in detail in e-mail trails they can just backread so they aren’t nagging you to cover ground you’ve already discussed. For more ideas, read our stories on the worst kinds of bosses and how to deal with them.



4. Workplace Drama

Even though your office promotes a professional environment, you’ll often find a lot of drama in the workplace. From office romances and cliques to rumors, most of us have our brush with these experiences. You love your job, but your coworkers can sometimes drive you crazy. Dealing with coworkers with personal issues or blatant relationships in the office is challenging and can also stress you out. Sometimes, your disagreement sparks further conflict, which can affect your efficiency at work and push you closer to the burnout point.

When faced with office drama, remember to keep your cool. No one is perfect, everyone has their own set of flaws, and that includes your officemates. Flip your point of view and try to understand their side of the situation. If this proves too much for you, stepping back is also helpful. Take yourself away from the office drama by quietly doing your job. Focus on the reason you’re at work, which is your work. You can also read our article listing tips on dealing with office drama.



5. Office Culture Shock

You spend at least 8 hours at work. One way to alleviate the stress is by chatting with your coworkers. Most of us enjoy the crowd at work, but the same cannot be said for others. Sometimes, a company with bad culture burns out an employee’s drive to keep working there. This “culture shock” affects how you work. Things like salary inconsistencies, negative political warfare with the bosses, and the toxic environment will take its toll on most of us.

If you’re having trouble dealing with the company culture, do a little soul searching. Are the policies and environment really that bad, or are you just used to doing things a different way? If this is the case, try to be a little more flexible. Are there just a couple of things that really get your goat? Try to cope with them on your own—especially if it’s between you and a colleague or boss—but if that fails, try to talk to management or HR about it. Don’t be afraid of being a snitch, especially if you’ve done things by the book and tried to deal with the matter yourself and/or through official channels. Your company may even thank you for calling their attention to a problem or offering suggestions as to a better way to do things. Remember that bad company culture is detrimental to both you and your company. Suggest ideas to improve the workplace and to lessen the stress. If your company refuses to accept a cultural overhaul and you cannot bear with it anymore, might be best to start looking for a new job.



You deserve to enjoy what you love doing. Don’t let stresses get you down. By following these steps, say hello to a stress-free environment for a happier, healthier you.

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