10 Tips for Managing Stress at Work
Anyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the effects of work-related stress. You may experience short-term pressures like deadlines, endless paperwork, or angry customers. You may also experience more chronic stressors such as workplace conflict, increased workloads, or unreasonable requests. Regardless of the causes, the way a person responds to these pressures and demands can have a major impact on stress levels, and on overall physical and mental health.
If this sounds like you, here are a few measures you can take to begin alleviating your stress levels:
Start Your Day Off Right
Drink water, eat breakfast, and give yourself the time to fully wake up before scrambling to get ready for the day. Maybe try a morning meditation or read a chapter of a good book. When you start your day off slowly with planning and a positive attitude, you may find that certain stressors roll of your back more easily.
Be Clear On Expectations
If you find yourself not knowing exactly what is expected of you, or if the requirements of your role keep changing, you benefit from having a talk with your supervisor. You can take the time to review expectations and discuss strategies for meeting them. This also shows initiative and commitment to excellence on your part, which can relieve stress for both you and your employer.
Interpersonal conflict can have a major impact on your mental health and stress levels. When possible, try to avoid gossip and triggering conversations, whether they be about politics, religion, or offensive humor. If you know you don’t work well with someone, try to find others to collaborate with. If this is not possible, it may be worth having a conversation with your supervisor to attempt mediation.
Planning ahead and keeping a clean workspace can greatly increase productivity, and in turn, reduce stress. Invest in a calendar or planner, and incorporate cleaning your workspace into your end-of-day routine.
If you are physically uncomfortable, you may also be more reactive to stressors in your environment. If you work a desk job, take a short walk or stretch break each hour. Dress in layers or invest in a desk fan if you know air temperature is a problem. Invest in headphones or earplugs if you are easily distracted by environmental sounds. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Take deep, intentional breaths.
Say No To Multitasking
Splitting focus between multiple tasks can lead to confusion, distraction, and decreased productivity, which can subsequently increase stress. As much as possible, try to schedule out your day and provide adequate time to complete each task. If you find yourself unable to focus on something, you can always return to it later.
Leave During Breaks
If your schedule allows for it, try taking a walk during your break. Go grab a coffee or walk around the block. Short exercise breaks throughout the day can help you blow off steam, lift your mood, and combat the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Strive For Progress, Not Perfection
You may not be able to do everything perfectly every time, especially in fast-paced settings. A good strategy to avoid perfectionism is adopting a growth mindset. This takes work, but if you always strive to do your best and congratulate yourself on your progress, you may find that your results are better and stress levels reduced.
Keep A Consistent Schedule
Inconsistent schedules can lead to poor sleep quality, decreased energy and productivity, and mood swings. Set your alarm for the same time each day. Hone your morning routine. Leave at the end of your shift, or give yourself a firm deadline to leave each day.
Leave Work At Work
Set your boundaries and honor them by leaving work at work. Turn off your work devices, avoid checking email, and do something to distract yourself. If you commute, try listening to your favorite music or a podcast after work, or call a friend to ask about their day.