What happens when the boundaries between work and home are blurred? A survey conducted in 2020 found that Singaporeans working from home tend to be more stressed than those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. When surveyed, 61% of the Singaporeans working from home felt stressed, compared with 53% of the frontliners. Pandemic or not, there are definitely times where we find it challenging to cope with the stress at work. No doubt, stress is part and parcel of work. It motivates and pushes us to greater heights, but too much of it is bad for us. So how do we find the right balance of stress?
Working overtime is not something new. I’m sure we have pulled all-nighters just to rush a report or answer work-related calls on weekends. But ask yourself, does this happen once in a blue moon or is it recurring? If it’s recurring, draw the line! You don’t have to be accessible to your colleagues 24/7 and neither should you be glued to your laptop the entire day. Don’t be afraid to renegotiate deadlines if it means getting a good night’s sleep or attending important family events. Your work can wait. Spending some time to recharge keeps your mind refreshed and ready for work, boosting your productivity.
Identify Your Stressors
Stress comes in different shapes and sizes. Some of them are self-induced, while others are beyond our control. Most of the time, stress comes from perfectionism and the fear of uncertainty. Don’t worry about things that are out of your control. Focus on what you can do! Such as eliminating the fear of making mistakes and the need to impress our colleagues. Everyone makes mistakes, that’s what makes us human. What’s more important is that we learn from it and not repeat it. Rather than worrying about what your colleagues think about you, concentrate on your work. Let your work shine and the results will show.
Talk About It
Just like how a can of Coca-Cola explodes under pressure, we are the same. Bottling up your feelings will only worsen the stress, so talk about it to someone. Be it a counsellor or a colleague, letting off some steam and venting can actually help to relieve stress. They can help to put things into perspective and offer useful advice for you to deal with the stress. If you are not comfortable with either, sharing the issue with your friends and family works too!
Know Your Priorities
Feel like eight hours is not enough to complete your work? One minute you are working on reports and the next thing you know, it’s already 6 and you still have a pile of work! Emails, instant messages from colleagues and sudden urgent tasks distract us from our daily work. While we can’t control when these would happen, we can control how we respond to them. Block out periods of time to focus on your work. Put “Do Not Disturb” on your status if needed. Assess if the ‘sudden urgent task’ is more pressing than your current task before working on it. Remember, just focus on three tasks everyday instead of trying to multitask.
Act, Don’t React
Take steps to curb the stress before it overwhelms you. If you find yourself having mood swings, low motivation and irritability, take a break! Too busy to stretch or take a walk? Try doing some deep breathing exercises! A few minutes away from work is enough to refresh your mind. If you have more time, you can even try taking a power nap! Use the perks of working from home to your advantage.
How do you manage your stress? In Singapore’s fast-paced society, the pressure to excel is heavy. Know that there’s no one size fits all to strategy, so try out these tips and see which works best for you!