28 Jun 2022

How to take control back over your workplace wellbeing

Is feeling stressed at work your new normal? Many of us risk employee burnout by trying to push through and work harder. In this important read, our leadership experts share some realistic strategies to help you take control back over your wellbeing in the workplace.

Employers are not catching on, but the data doesn’t lie. Being overworked can fundamentally impact your health, as sobering studies (like this research from Indiana University) show.

1. Take control

Do you have any control over your work schedule, projects, or the number of tasks that you manage at a given time? Having little control over your job hinders your ability to manage work-related stress.

Action Steps

Identify those areas in your workday that you have complete control over:

  • Do you actually have to check each email as it arrives?
  • Do you have too many notifications buzzing on your phone?
  • Can you structure your work into blocks of time and avoid multi-tasking?
  • If you are allocated new projects, take control back when it comes to your workload.

That discussion can sound like, “Here’s what I’m currently working on, and what is pending, as well as how long each will likely take. Should I make any workflow changes to honour your priorities?”

2. Dysfunctional workplace dynamics

Toxic workplace relationships hinder our health. In fact, studies have found that a bad boss increases your risk for clinical depression. If your desk is right next to that office bully, or your boss is standing over your shoulder micromanaging every move you make, your stress levels are going to skyrocket. 

Action Steps

Consider the people you interact with most. Do they lift you up or drag you down? Set limits. 

  • When a complainer starts venting, try transition the discussion to something more positive.
  • Ask them if they need help coming up with solutions for the problem.
  • If they continue to wallow in their negativity, set an internal time limit and then politely excuse yourself from the conversation.
  • Consider adding more positive people into your life, like a mentor who can help direct you towards professional and personal growth.

Be observant to patterns of behaviour. Are there particular times of the day/week/specific meetings when they bother you the most and that you could potentially avoid?

3. Bring balance back into your life

When a job begins to feel chaotic, the ability to remain focused can drain your energy levels. A monotonous job is just as problematic and can result in disconnection, decreased productivity and higher stress. Aim to restore balance.

Action Steps 

  • Try to tackle the most important task of the day first – whether that’s for work or your personal life. Your productivity is likely to be highest in mid-morning.
  • Establish little goals and rewards. These will help give you the motivation to progress. They also act as a reminder of your skills and abilities.
  • Keep a gratitude list. At the end of each workday jot down three things you are grateful for. It actually helps improve cardiovascular health and makes you more resilient to stress. Take it seriously.
  • Accept that it’s impossible to always get the balance right. Congratulate yourself for having this level of self-awareness, even when things haven’t gone as you’d hoped.

Monitor progress

Set a time period to implement these strategies and a date when you will assess if progress has been made. Commit to taking responsibility for your happiness and your health. If things haven’t improved, don’t struggle on. Do you have the opportunity to look for another role elsewhere? Can you rejig your role? Can you modify your working hours?

Where to seek support

Workplace stress can be a serious threat to your health and wellbeing. Don’t ignore feelings that the pressure is becoming too much. Access your organisation’s EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) or another confidential mental health support. These are all available free of charge.

Further reading

Broaden your understanding of employee burnout with these articles from our leadership experts:

For expert support when it comes to achieving productive and thriving workplaces, our team are here to help. Simply contact us for a no-obligation conversation.