These 10 tips for managing stress at work can help you have a happier, healthier life.
Managing stress at work is critical to physical and emotional well-being. Even the “toughest” employees can succumb to the damaging effects of stress, such as sleep deprivation, excessive weight gain or loss and other health problems. In order to strive for a happier, healthier life, follow these 10 tips for managing stress at work.
1. Know the Signs
Some of the physical and mental manifestations of stress are obvious, such as feeling anxious, irritable or tired, but others signs of stress are less obvious. Constant headaches or muscle tension throughout your body may be signs of stress. Losing interest in your work or suddenly being unable to meet deadlines may also be red flags. And if you’re having trouble eating or sleeping, stress may be to blame. Don’t ignore these warning signs — your body may be trying to send you a message.
2. Acknowledge That You Can’t Do Everything Yourself
Filling your work schedule so that every last minute is booked, or losing the ability to distinguish between what must get done and what should get done, can lead to stress. The same is true about expecting every project or task you complete to be perfect. Trying to achieve an impossible goal can result in disappointment and doubts about your professional skills — even if you know you’re good at what you do.
3. Take a Different Approach to Big Projects
A company initiative endorsed by the CEO can cause stress for everyone involved. Instead of getting stuck on the big picture (and how impossible it seems to achieve), break the project into smaller tasks and take a step-by-step approach. If one of your co-workers finishes their part and is then able and willing to help you, don’t pass up the opportunity.
4. Stay Organized
Does your desk resemble the aftermath of an earthquake? Are you always the last person to show up for an all-staff meeting? Clutter, chronic lateness and similar symptoms of disorganization nearly always induce stress — and only make these troubling behavioral patterns worse. Carve out some time in your workday to organize your desk, belongings, emails and calendar. Put more effort into staying organized, and remove anything that distracts you from what truly needs to be done.
5. Take Breaks
Some employees work straight through the day and prefer to avoid any interruptions. However, a more sensible strategy incorporates regular, short breaks throughout the day. This will not only give you a mental rest but also give your eyes a much-needed break.
6. Talk It Out
If you’re feeling stressed, it can be helpful to share your feelings with a trusted friend or family member. If something’s bothering you, getting it off your chest can be a relief, and your confidant may be able to offer you some advice or a solution. Even if a co-worker is unable to help, just hearing you out can do wonders.
7. Set Boundaries
A big source of stress for many employees is the feeling that the workday never truly ends. This is augmented by technology, including mobile phones and email. According to the American Psychological Association, setting work/life boundaries can help reduce the work-related stress that comes along with work/life conflicts.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Unfortunately, stress can lead to sleep deprivation, and insufficient sleep can generate more stress. It’s a vicious cycle, but you can avoid it by setting up a regular sleep schedule with a target goal of eight hours of shut-eye a night.
9. Take Time to Exercise
Many jobs in the U.S. are sedentary, and workers aren’t getting the physical activity they need. If you spend your workday at your desk, look for ways to incorporate physical activity into your workday to relieve stress, such as a brisk walk outside during your lunch break or a genuine commitment to going to the gym.
10. Make Better Food Choices
Bad food choices can easily lead to fatigue, anxiety and lack of focus. Small, healthy, frequent meals can result in a balanced blood sugar level, more energy and better focus.
Stress is a normal part of life. However, too much stress during your workday can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Following these tips will help you make healthier choices and decisions, which will contribute significantly to reduced levels of stress in the workplace.