Work stress affects us all, whatever positions we hold, and whatever responsibilities we carry on our shoulders.
What’s a good way to find therapy for work stress? Research shows that we need to start by practicing agency and autonomy.
Autonomy refers to the level of independence in your work. If you have autonomy, you can make decisions, take risks, and exercise judgment without constant supervision. According to self-determination theory, autonomy is one of three basic psychological needs contributing to well-being and vitality.
Agency refers to our level of control over the work environment. This includes having a say in the company's direction, the ability to collaborate with colleagues, and the opportunity to pursue personal and professional development.
When we can make decisions and take ownership of our work, we are more engaged, motivated, and satisfied with our jobs.
Taking control of our work
In today’s fast-paced world, taking control of your work experience is becoming increasingly important. We spend too much time at work to sit idly while others make our work lives a living hell or somewhere near that. Here are some tips to help you put agency and autonomy to work:
Choose a remote or hybrid company
This one you may have seen coming, but one of the easiest ways to build more agency into your work-life is by working for a company that doesn’t demand an on-site 9-to-5. As Tsedal Neeley says: "Autonomy allows for a degree of control over one’s working conditions and processes. For remote workers, this usually comes down to their ability to shape the two variables of space and time."
Ask for clarity
If there's something you don't understand, ask! It's tempting not to showcase your lack of knowledge, but it will only make your work-related stress bigger. If you find unclear objectives and expectations, ask your leadership team to clarify them more explicitly to ensure everyone understands them.
Get involved in what you’ll work on
According to Officevibe research, 32% of employees do not feel appropriately involved in decisions affecting their work. You must be involved in critical discussions and decisions affecting their work. Discussing this upfront will make your daily work much more meaningful. Your stress management will be much easier when you work on tasks that feel important to you.
Set your own career goals
Don't wait for someone else to dictate your career path. Take the initiative and set goals for yourself. Identify the skills you need to gain and the experiences you want to have. Speak up and let your manager know what you want to achieve.
Prioritize your workload
If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed and experiencing high anxiety and depression, take some time to prioritize your workload. Make a list of your tasks and order them by urgency and importance. This will help you feel more in control and reduce stress.
Actively seek feedback
You can learn a lot about yourself by receiving feedback from others. Even if it may feel painful or difficult, getting feedback and making improvements positively impacts your stress and anxiety. It can also help you identify areas for improvement and give you a sense of control over your professional development.
Use your one-on-ones
The one-on-ones with your manager (and vice versa for your teams) are a great time to get clarification and discuss your priorities and broader development. The more you utilize these one-on-ones, the less need for constant back-and-forth during the week.
Tap into colleagues
Tap into your colleagues when you want to check something but don't want to bother your manager. Many colleagues will be very willing to support you, especially those with good communication and alignment with your manager! Build your network of “buddies” system at work where you and a coworker can help each other out, discuss ideas, and test them before going to management.
For short-term impact, it’s important to set boundaries at work. Whether that means saying no to extra work or limiting when and how you’re available to respond to emails and messages, taking control of your boundaries can reduce stress. Setting healthy boundaries is key so it doesn’t take over your personal life.
Find meaning in your work
One of the best ways to take control of your experience at work is to find meaning in what you do. Feeling motivated and engaged is easier when you have a sense of purpose. Take the time to reflect on how your work contributes to a larger goal and how it aligns with your values.
Taking ownership, making decisions, and striving for development help us stay involved and motivated. If you feel dissatisfied or sense your team members do, don’t accept learned helplessness — remember you have options and can instigate change. Gather information, increase your confidence, and amplify your voice.
Read the full article here.