Ten Ways to Manage Stress on the Job
Workplace stress is very real. Chances are that at some point in your working career, you have experienced stress. Sometimes stress can be beneficial and help fuel you to the finish line, but sometimes it becomes too much.
The first person who will help you manage stress is you, so here are ten ways you can manage stress levels on the job.
Identify Stress Triggers
Sometimes when you feel the most stressed out is far past the time that stress triggers began. Over the period of a week or two, start recording when you feel stress. Also record your body’s response to stress. Maybe you feel tension in your neck or a surge rising through you. As you become aware of your body’s responses to stress, you can start determining moments, activities, and people that cause you stress.
You can’t determine the best way to deal with your stress until you know the causes.
Change Your Response
As you learn the causes of your stress, sometimes changing your response can change your stress levels. In the moment you begin to feel stress creep up, take a deep breath or two. Maybe you need to walk away. Maybe you need to change your outlook. Try breathing in for a count of four, holding your breath for four and then exhaling for four.
Changing your response also means changing the decisions you make about how you handle time. For instance, if you have a looming deadline at the end of the week and you’ve scheduled a routine doctor’s appointment for the same week, don’t try to do it all. Decide what you can change. Chances are, you can’t reschedule the deadline, so reschedule your appointment.
Take Time Off
Assess how much time you have taken off work in the last few months. If the answer is “zero,” you may want to use your vacation time.
It could be that stress is building because you just aren’t giving yourself a break.
It’s okay to take a mental health day. Chances are, if you aren’t taking a little time to yourself now, the stress is going to build and create other health issues for you – which will take you away from work for a much longer time.
Are you checking work emails outside of office hours? Are you taking calls on the weekend? If the answer is yes, then make a change!
We need space from our jobs. A healthy distance gives us perspective. Setting boundaries is a good thing.
Take your work email off of your phone. Stop answering work calls.
You need to respect the boundaries you set if you expect anyone else to respect them. When you respond to a text or answer the phone on a Saturday night, then your co-workers will think it’s okay for them to contact you outside of work hours. Let phone calls go to voicemail. If you do decide to listen to the voicemails, ask yourself if this is a problem that can be solved tomorrow. Most of the time, the urgency is a façade.
Get up. Get active. Getting the blood pumping and endorphins’ flowing creates a natural high. Endorphins are your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. When you exercise, you increase the production of endorphins.
Exercise can also boost confidence levels. This can be of benefit in a lot of areas in your life, but it may also help give you courage to say “no,” to co-workers who are taking advantage or you.
Exercise doesn’t need to be an intense effort. Go on a walk. Take a hike. Go work in your garden. Hit balls at the batting cage. Pull up a workout session on YouTube. Do what you love!
But remember, before you start any exercise routine or drastically increase your physical activity levels, you should consult your a doctor.
Psychology Today defines mindfulness as:
“. . . a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”
There are a variety of ways and resources to help you practice mindfulness, but remember, keep it simple. An easy way to start is to set aside a minute or two to just stop what you are doing. Be intentional about your breathing and let thoughts float through your mind. Don’t push them out or judge them. Just let them be.
You can practice mindfulness through meditation or yoga. You can also practice it while you are vacuuming or doing dishes. It’s simply being in the moment.
Exercising is also a great way to be mindful because you focus on the activity you are doing. On a walk you might try to really enjoy the moment.
One quick way is to set aside simply focus on your breath and then letting your thoughts pass through your mind without judgement.
Mindfulness can help put things in perspective and something that seemed like a huge deal, just isn’t.
Get some rest
Getting a fresh perspective means feeling refreshed in the morning. While stress can cause sleepless nights, sleepless nights also increase stress. Here are some quick tips to help improve your sleep.
- Exercise on a regular basis.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
- Take “power naps.”
- Turn off screens one hour before you go to bed. This doesn’t only help you wind down, but will help maintain your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. The light emitted from screens (like your phone, the TV, tablets, and computer screen) reduces your body’s production of melatonin.
- Prior going to bed, have a routine that helps you wind down. Maybe you read a book, listen to quiet music, or have a warm cup of milk. These activities help you mentally prepare for bed, but also a consistent bedtime routine will prepare your body.
Make time for yourself to participate in activities and hobbies you love. This will increase your level of satisfaction and happiness in life, which can help you work through stressful situations in a more productive manner.
Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. Use lists to determine upcoming deadlines and daily to-do’s. This will help you create a plan of action for each day.
As more items and projects are handed over to you, learn to say, “no.” Now, while it may be hard to tell your supervisor “no,” you can ask them about their priorities for your work.
For instance, let’s say you are working on Project A. Then, your supervisor wants you to start on Project B. You can say,
“Because you’ve given me Project B, I need to know what is the most important for me to accomplish. Project A is supposed to be complete in one week. If I understand you correctly, you also want Project C completed in that amount of time. In order to accomplish Project A, I need every minute of my day to get that done. Can we move the deadline on one of these projects?”
Your supervisor may have forgotten about a project they initially assigned you, or something else came up that was more urgent. By clarifying their objectives, you are allowing them to help guide you, but it’s also a nice way of telling them: “My plate is full. I can’t do this under the current circumstances”
Don’t forget to reach out. Ask trusted colleagues if they experience similar challenges. Talk to professional peers who work at other places. Visit with your friends and family about your stress levels. An outside perspective can give you a new way to look at your circumstances, but it also helps just to vent.
You could also reach out to your supervisor if you believe they will be supportive. They may not realize what is happening and could offer assistance.
And never be afraid to set up an appointment with a doctor or counselor. They are professionals and are there to help!
Workplace stress is becoming a huge issue within the business environment. Having been there myself I realize how debilitating it can be. Learning how to mange stress on the job is a crucial element to staying sane and being able to enjoy the other components of your life.
It was stress at work that made me look for other avenues for income. Creating this website has given me a completely new, mostly stress free life (I have children so life can never be stress free!!)
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As always if I can be of any assistance in helping your create your own online business and get rid of the workplace stress issues then leave a message below or contact me on email@example.com