Secondhand Stress at Work - Zinny Factor

Have you ever had the feeling that someone at work has passed down stress to you (secondhand stress)? It could just be a colleague that’s continually complaining about an issue to you.

This is called: secondhand stress.

According to scientists, stress is contagious. This explains why when your colleague is sighing loudly, complaining, shuffling pieces of paper and maybe sending you emails in capital letters to show urgency at work, you automatically feel stressed out and extremely anxious in no minute.

With life comes the need to pay bills, clear off debt, have a roof over your head, have a regular supply of food, navigate the daily traffic (if you live in a congested area), provide for loved ones, take care of yourself among other needs.

The truth is that you don’t need anyone adding to your busy schedule and handing you secondhand stress.

Here are some ways to prevent secondhand stress in the future

  1. Remember that you should always come first

This has a lot to do with working on maintaining a high level of emotional intelligence and realizing that you should take care of yourself first. Someone else’s stress shouldn’t automatically become yours.

  1. Stay ready well ahead of time

Before going to a stressful environment, remind yourself of why you should feel relaxed all through the day.

Speak positive words to yourself as much as possible. As easy as this may sound, it really does go a long way and keeps you lighthearted all through the day despite any negative energy.

  1. Change your response to redirect the stress

If your co-worker is continuously ranting about a problem, try to shift the conversation outside the stressful topic. Proffer solutions where necessary to avoid the endless discussion.

For example, if the issue is with his/ her manager, you can advise that he/she speaks to this manager to resolve the issue. Don’t be a people pleaser trying to solve everyone’s problem if it’s stressful for you.

  1. Take a break

Simply put: take a break from whatever stress around. For instance, if you’ve just received a stressful email, you don’t have to respond immediately. Get up and take a short walk to get some fresh air. Chances are, by the time you get back to respond to the email you’ll be more relaxed.

  1. Limit distractions

In today’s world, there are so many things that can be distracting, which in turn might become overwhelming. Knowing that you have a ton of to-dos for the day coupled with your inbox that needs to be cleared and answering several phone calls in a day might be a handful.

You may want to consider turning off your personal phone or handling your tasks in batches rather than doing it all at once. This might help you avoid the stress of other tasks. You can take a couple of hours in a day to stay of social media to feel recharged.

  1. Consider having a chat

If there’s one person at work consistently stressing you out. You might want to have a quick chat with this person to bring it to his/ her awareness.

However, try to be respectful and mindful of how you go about starting out the conversation because good communication has to go both ways. Think of the best possible way to start up the chat and in the right environment.

Share other ways you’ve been able to handle secondhand stress in the comment section. Remember to subscribe to our blog to receive exclusive information right in your inbox.