Dealing with the pressure of work-related stress is an inevitable part of any job, even if you do what you love. Here are 12 tips on what you can do inside and outside your workplace to prevent and combat stress.
How to manage stress at work
Go for a walk
Work environments can be very stressful. Simply changing that environment, even temporarily, can go a long way towards releasing stress. We don't make good decisions when we feel under pressure. Stepping away and taking a 20 to 30 minute walk a day can make big strides towards stress prevention.
Act rather than react
There are many things in life that we can't control. Learning to accept this is a very important step towards coping with obstacles. We can avoid feeling stress from situations that seem frustratingly out of our control by focusing our energy on the areas we can influence, instead of reacting to things we don't have control over.
Work can be a hectic place with a regular flurry of emails, messages, phone calls, pop ins and shifting deadlines, which can throw your schedule off course. While you may not be able to control the interrupters, you can control how they affect you. Start to learn to be more systematic with your responses and adopt one of these three strategies: accept the interruption, cut it off, or diagnose its importance and make a plan.
Just say “no”
There are so many demands at work. You may often feel overwhelmed trying to take on more than you can handle. If you overburden yourself, the pressure you end up putting on yourself can lead to stress. There isn't enough time in the day to do everything that people will ask of you. It is your right to say no, as long as you are polite and explain to your colleagues that you are overcommitted.
Personalise your workstation
Never underestimate the power of your physical surroundings. Take control of your immediate space. Individualise your workspace with things that make you most at ease, whether that be plants, pictures or personal belongings. The familiar face of a loved one may give you perspective when problems seem to mount up. Remember, you work to live not vice versa.
Talk to your boss
If you’re constantly failing to get on top of your workload and struggling to meet deadlines, think about scheduling a meeting with your boss to discuss your projects. Managers are often so busy themselves that they are not aware that employees are not receiving adequate help and resources.
How to deal with stress out of work
We all need time to think about something other than work. During your time away from work, stay away from devices or anything else that will remind you of work and bring back the stress you're trying to avoid.
When we exercise, our body produces endorphins - chemicals in our brain that act as feel-good neurotransmitters. These endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, improving our mood and lowering anxiety rates. Exercise is meditation in motion - it’s a great way to keep a clear head, focus on the sport and forget about workplace stress.
Don't reach for the high-calorie comfort food - that comfort is not long lasting. While these junk foods give you an immediate sugar rush, you'll soon experience a crash that leaves you in a worst state than before. Trying to function with the inevitable lethargy and increased blood pressure will likely make you more irritable.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is the chance for the body to recharge its batteries and begin the day afresh. Getting around eight hours of sleep each night gives a solid foundation to start the day with. A tired brain can easily become impatient and react more negatively than when we are well rested.
Things will not run perfectly throughout your normal workday, but we shouldn't dwell on the negativity of the moment. It's better to look at the situation in the context of the day or the week. Realise that this feeling is temporary and there is much to be positive about. Try to remind yourself of positive things that are happening outside of work.
De-stress your body
Relaxing your body and mind is a very effective method of stress management in the workplace. Since stress is a physical and hormonal chain reaction, you should go for a massage, walk, listen to soothing music, or do any activity that relaxes you in order to de-stress.
In the short-term, while you may feel the pressure of meeting a deadline or getting your head round a difficult problem, in the long term, work stress can become chronic and overwhelming. If unresolved, it can have a deeply harmful effect on both your physical and emotional health.
Avoiding stress at work can often seem impossible. However, you can be proactive by using these stress management techniques to counter workplace stress at its source.