Anyone who works in construction engineering knows that the work can be fast-paced and high-pressure. While this is part of what makes the job so rewarding, it can also lead to a great deal of stress. Research show that one in five Australians take time off work annually due to stress, anxiety or mental ill-health. With these worrying statistics, it’s time we tackle stress head-on before it gets the better of us.
1. Count the culture
If you’re in-between jobs at the moment, take this opportunity to consider the culture you’re entering into. You want an employer who facilitates free-flowing communication through an “open door policy”. It’s not every day you get this opportunity so make the most of it.
2. Get it managed
Managers aren’t there to boss you around. They’re there to enable you to do your best work. If something is giving you stress at work, such as an overwhelming workload or unrealistic expectations, then speak with your manager about it.
3. Know when to say no
The best thing you can do for yourself is set your boundaries where you want and need them. If someone is asking for something you cannot reasonably do, you have the right to say no. Through assertive, but not aggressive communication, your colleagues will respect your needs.
4. Be SMART
SMART objectives are Peter Drucker’s principles for employee performance, management and personal development. SMART principles help you set goals and attain them, and also make it easier to see when you’ve actually reached your goals. According to SMART objectives, you set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. It’s better than flying by the seat of your pants!
5. Break it up
A new study has revealed that a quarter of Australian workers never take their lunch break, and only 10% of workers take their break every day. Reasons range from feeling “chained to desks”, needing to “brown-nose”, and not wanting to “feel guilty”. But whatever the reason for skipping your break, the fact remains that lunch breaks make for happier employees and a more productive workplace.
6. Come out of your shell
Connecting with colleague is another well-known way of reducing work related stress. Invite a workmate out for lunch and have a chat to reduce tension, boost morale and put a smile on your face.
7. Plant seeds that grow
Keep a list of the things you need to get done and block out slots in your calendar during which you will complete these tasks. This will help you set realistic, attainable goals and push back on the work you can’t get done.
8. Close your Eyes
Not only are we over-stressed, but Aussie workers are chronically sleep-deprived! Maintain a regular routine by going to bed and waking up at the same times every day, and aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night.
9. Water it down
We’ve been told by health blogs over and over that as a society, we’re terribly dehydrated. But did you know that being dehydrated causes increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol? All the more reason to drink those eight glasses a day.
10. Practice cognitive behavioural therapy
You don’t need to sit on a psychoanalyst’s couch to enjoy the benefits of therapy. The principles of CBT are easy to implement on a day-to-day basis and are proven to reduce emotions like anxiety and stress. Learn to catch your negative thoughts as soon as they pop into your head, (automatic-negative thoughts like “I can’t do it,”) and examine whether they are objectively facts or just a negative outlook caused by self doubt.
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