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How to Reduce Stress at Work in 12 Easy Steps
Is work sending you over the edge? Do you find it hard to decompress even after you leave work and are in the comforts of your own home?
Work stress comes in a multitude of ways. Maybe you have so many projects going that you can’t keep them straight, or you’re working on just one project but it’s a large one that’s very complex and time consuming. Or, perhaps you’re having difficulties with a boss, employee or coworker?
No matter where your stress comes in, the results aren’t pleasant. If you’re on edge while you’re at work, you’re likely to be on edge even after you get home. Maybe you’re able to shake it off after you unwind a bit, or perhaps you can’t drop the tense feelings no matter how hard you try.
One thing is certain; if you don’t decompress, you’re likely to suffer physical and mental consequences. If stress continues day in and day out for long periods of time, you’re more likely to suffer from headaches, chest pains, irritability, mood swings and more.
Knowing how it can negatively affect you, you can take steps to help reduce your work stress so that it doesn’t take over your life.
Here are twelve suggestions to help you do just that:
1. Accept what you cannot control. Sometimes you’re stuck with a policy that you don’t agree with or a coworker that drives you nuts. There’s nothing you can do about it, so why let it drive you crazy? You don’t have to like it, but you do have to deal with it. Accept that it is what it is and let it go.
2. Change what you can. If there is something that’s bothering you and it’s within your control, change it. For instance, if you’re frazzled because coworkers keep taking things from your desk and not returning them, keep those items locked in a drawer so no one but you has access to them. That way you know where they are when you need them.
3. Take care of yourself physically and mentally. You can’t feel your best when you don’t take care of your body and mind. Eat nutritious meals and get active whenever you can, even if it’s just walking around the block at break time or pacing while on the phone. And, give your mind a few minutes to shut down every day. Try meditation. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Let the stress slip away so you regenerate your mind and renew your energy.
4. Take regular breaks. Walk away from the job every couple of hours, even if it’s just to the bathroom. Give your mind and body a second to recharge.
5. Delegate if possible. If there is something you can pass off, do it. Give it to someone else so you can focus on other more important things.
6. Prioritize. Take care of the top priority stuff first and quit wasting time on tasks that don’t matter. Make a list every morning so you know what needs to get done.
7. Don’t take more than you can handle. You’re not helping anyone, yourself included, by being a ‘yes’ person. If your plate is too full, you’re likely to drop it so do your best to keep your workload manageable.
8. Ask for help if you need it. There’s no shame in admitting when you’re overworked. In fact, it’s preferred that you address the problem before it turns into something that can’t be handled.
9. Break tasks into manageable parts. If you’re working on a project that seems overwhelming, break it down. Creating smaller increments that are easier to handle contribute to the overall success in reaching your goal.
10. Keep your sense of humor. This can be hard when you’re stressed, but if you keep your ability to laugh, the whole process isn’t quite so daunting. Yes, the project is important, but so is your sanity.
11. Resist being perfect. If you accept nothing less than perfect, you’re setting yourself up for massive amounts of frustration. Do the best that you can do and let go of perfection because it’s impossible to achieve.
12. Look at challenges as opportunities. When you’re faced with something that is difficult, look at it as a way for you to grow and strengthen your qualities and characteristics. Let it build you up, not tear you down.
Just because you have to work doesn’t mean that you have to endure a truckload of stress. Find ways to limit your anxiety and frustration so that you can enjoy life, in and out of work. You’ll be happier for it.