You probably have felt, at some point, the pressure of work-related stress, even if you love what you do. Work is known to be a significant source of stress by the majority of Americans.
What causes workplace stress? Maybe you’re getting stuck with too much work piling up on your desk, you’re unable to meet deadlines, or you’re getting criticized constantly and never praised. It can also happen when your job is too easy, you’re not challenged or inspired enough. Stress comes from all sides.
Sometimes, that stress doesn’t disappear when you get home. It’s still there and it can have a huge impact on your health and well-being. A stressful work environment can lead to headaches, stomachaches, sleep disturbances, anxiety, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
So how can you cope with work stress?
It might sound too simple but it actually helps a lot to deal with stress. Meditation and breathing exercises are proven techniques to reduce stress. A simple exercise you can do to calm your body and your brain is to inhale through your nose for 5 seconds using the full capacity of your lungs and exhale through your mouth for 10 seconds. Repeat that for a minute or two. It has a natural calming effect.
Take short breaks
Taking breaks is very important and very effective to deal with stress. What you need is a brain-friendly break, going on social media might not be the best thing to do. What helps best to reduce the amount of stress you’re having in the job is to take a walk, to go outside, to use your muscles. It will get the blood and oxygen flowing through your system and make you feel better really quickly.
Make a list, write down everything you have to do, get it on a piece of paper. Crossing stuff out helps get a visualization of your progress. We like to start with the hardest task on our list, that way we know that once we're done it’ll only get easier. Or you can do the simpler things first, the ones that are easy to take care of so you can take them out of the way and cross them off the list.
People are constantly interrupted, whether it’s a call, a text, or a coworker talking to you. It actually takes a long time to get back to our train of thought - approx 4min. That means you lose 4 minutes every time you get interrupted, which significantly reduces your performance. Try to focus without distraction, maybe by closing your email tab or putting your phone in a drawer.
Talk to Someone
You have plenty of options here - you could talk to a friend, a family member, a professional therapist, etc.
It often helps to have a friendly ear at work. To have someone you can rely on and turn to when you feel overwhelmed.
If that feels too close to home and you're looking for both objectivity and actual advice based on experience, you can't do much better than a mentor. They've often been in exactly the same mental space and found a way to get through it. That means you can share how you're feeling freely, without judgment, and get practical advice in return that can be invaluable at improving your stress levels.
Take care of yourself
Above all, take care of yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep, prioritize healthy meals, adjust your desk to feel more comfortable. What you do outside of work matters, you need to make time for recreational activities in your schedule. Exercising or hanging out with friends will lower your stress.
Work is stressful, there’s no doubt about it but there are little things you can do to help you feel better throughout your day.