Staying positive at work

One of the most common issues affecting people with disability is workplace stress. The good news is there are many things you can do to manage your stress levels and stay positive at work.

What are the things that make people feel stressed?

Many people often become stressed by poor work conditions. These can include crowded work areas or insufficient space to work, loud or excessive noise, and dirty or untidy working environments.

You may become stressed by a conflict with another staff member, or long periods doing the same task. Too little work can sometimes cause as much stress as too much work. Time pressures and deadlines are another obvious source of stress.

People may also become stressed when procedures or policies are changed without notice. You may also feel stressed by a lack of job security or no opportunity for promotion.

Some common signs of stress include:

  • feelings of hopelessness or self doubt
  • agitation
  • anxiety (heart palpitations, shortness of breath)
  • forgetfulness or making mistakes
  • not communicating well
  • getting angry easily
  • drinking more alcohol or using drugs.

What can I do to stay positive?

Be aware of, and avoid, the things that make you feel stressed. Identify urgent tasks, non-urgent tasks and unnecessary activities, then arrange your work accordingly. Let your manager or supervisor know if you have too much or too little work. Ask for their help in managing your workload.

Take the tea and lunch breaks you’re entitled to. If necessary and permissible, go off site to reduce stress. Exercising during your breaks can also help you manage stress.  

Develop healthy ways to release your frustrations outside of work hours: take regular walks, meet with friends or phone family members. Learn and use relaxation techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises or yoga. Avoid the temptation of drinking too much alcohol or using drugs to release stress.

Think ahead about your time off and annual leave. Make sure you have enough time for your friends and family, sporting activities or hobbies or simply time for yourself. Make sure you’re able to enjoy life!

Who can I talk with to stay positive?

If you are unwell or unhappy about something, speak to a trusted person in confidence. Raise the issues that are making you feel stressed with your supervisor. If you are being assisted by a Disability Employment Services provider, discuss your stress with your employment consultant. Seek advice from your doctor to discuss any health concerns you have.

If you become unwell and need to take time off, stay connected to your workplace. Send emails, receive work bulletins at home, or attend work social activities if you are able.

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