How to Manage Stress in the Workplace

Girl holding her head looking stressed at her computer

By: Megan Jones

Can you believe January is already over? It feels like just last week it was the New Year. This year has been off to busy start and it has definitely provided me with some unnecessary stress. This extends to both my professional and personal life. From trying to get organized to being on top of my workload it has felt like a hefty load to manage. There are a plethora of things that can bring us stress. Today, I want to focus on stress in the workplace. This can be a little more difficult to manage however, it is doable! Here are some tips on how to help you manage stress in the workplace.

Why is Work Stressful?

The question itself sounds a little silly because it feels like the idea of work can be stressful. In my personal experience, the reason for most of my stress are the things that are out of my control. I have yet to find a job where I solely complete everything from start to finish. Therefore, I have to rely on other people and their work ethic, time management or working style—all of which I have no control over. However, their actions can affect the date I receive information or complete projects. There are other stressors, such as quick deadlines or managing a heavy workload that can add to my stress load. It is inevitable that work will provide you with some minor stress. Although, it should never be permanent nor the norm for your working condition, it will happen. When it does you may need some tools in your toolbelt to help dissipate your stress.

5 Ways to Help Manage Your Stress in the Workplace

Locate the Stressor

In the heat of the moment, my stress can feel overwhelming. Take a minute or five, and locate the stressor(s) and there may be more than one. Remember to be specific. If a project is providing the stress, dig deeper. What is it about the project? Is it the deadline, are there new and continuous changes? Find the stressor so you can better manage it and navigate how to mitigate your stress.

Take a Deep Breath

Again take a moment or five, and do some deep breathing. There are some moments when I am stressed that I find myself forgetting to breath or breathing rapidly. Take the time to control your breath. My favorite technique is inhale for four seconds and exhale for six seconds. The counting takes me away from the stressful moment and allows me to be mindful and present. Even after doing this for one minute, I feel like I have the mental clarity to continue or have a fresher outlook on how I will handle the stress.

Take a Break

When I am stressed the last thing I want to do is take a break. I want to continue to push through and get more work off my plate. However, during these times of stress if I don’t try and find a way to relax, the work I produce isn’t always my best quality work. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment you truly need to take a step back. Taking a break usually comes after I have navigated the stressor. Then I go for a walk, remind myself to leave my desk for lunch, or go grab a glass of water. The goal is to take you away from the stress momentarily, so you can find your peace.

Learn What you Can Control

One of my favorite quotes is: Accept the things I cannot control, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. However, candidly, this is one of the most difficult challenges for me. It can be difficult to release your stress over things that are out of your hands. To relax your mind if you are not where you want to be within your workload. However, this is essential and I have to keep reminding myself, that stressing about a future outcome, only disrupts my present and doesn’t create a more positive future. When in the moment, after you have navigated your stressor, ask yourself, if there anything I can do about this? If I can, I take the appropriate action. If I cannot then I have to remind myself, that I have done all I can do and holding on to stress will not help me.

Be Kind to Yourself

Remind yourself, that although stress is not ideal, there are times that you are going to feel it. Navigate the situation the best you can, and the rest will fall into place. Remind yourself that stressful situations will occur, but they should not be your normal. If they are becoming your normal, see if there are areas you can delegate or talk to your manager if you are feeling overwhelmed with your workload.

Stress, is stressful, but we hope these techniques help reduce your stress!

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