For many of us, work can be a source of tension in our lives. We know managing stress is important for our mental health and success, but knowing how to do that effectively is easier said than done. Here are some practical ways to handle and reduce and handle stress at work.
Identify the source of the stress at work
There are likely many facets to your job, from meeting goals to managing relationships. It’s not always easy to pinpoint what exactly is causing the anxiety that you feel. You may think that you have been given too much work to do. Maybe you have periods when you’re not busy at all, followed by bursts of frantic activity. If that’s the case, then you can identify it as a problem around workflow rather than workload and may be much easier to solve than you think.
Think about the days or moments you feel the most anxiety. Noting the work you’re doing or people you’re interacting with around that time may help you figure out where your stress is originating and take steps to solve the problem.
Work on your communication skills
There’s a reason that everyone lists ‘ability to communicate’ as one of the top qualities required in so many jobs! Workplace stress is often caused by people who can’t effectively communicate what they want, or by people who don’t take the time to fully listen.
If you have specific needs at work, work to communicate them to your manager clearly. On the other hand, if you don’t understand what someone’s asking you to do, ask them to explain it again until you do. It’s much better to have a reputation as a stickler for detail than to have one as somebody who doesn’t pay attention or follow directions.
Find someone to talk to
Just talking to someone who is willing to hear you out can go a long way toward alleviating your stress. This person doesn’t have to be able to ‘fix’ your problems– in fact, sometimes it’s better if they don’t even work for the same company as you. What’s important is that they’re able and willing to listen and allow you to let off steam, and maybe even laugh with you about the situation. You’ll likely find that this a great way to relieve stress.
Learn how to say ‘no’
One of the mistakes many of us make when we’re starting out is to think that we have to say ‘yes’ to everything – take on every project, volunteer for extra work to gain experience, and attend every single after work social event. All of these things are great and can help you advance your career, but it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Make it clear that you’re happy to participate and take on projects, but you’ll need to finish what you’re doing now first. Sometimes you can’t avoid a packed schedule; when that happens, try to build in breaks and time for rest when you can.
Take care of your body
When we’re young we feel like we can handle anything, and it’s easy to neglect sleep, nutrition and other things that affect our physical well-being.
Your body will be able to cope with pressure much more effectively if you’re not filling it full of caffeine and sugary snacks to give yourself a boost during the day. Equally, it’s not realistic to stay up late every night and then expect to be at your best the next day. Your body needs rest, good nutrition, and exercise. Try a brisk walk at lunchtime instead of that extra coffee; you may find it clears your mind and helps you focus much more effectively.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
Have you ever spent time on something that doesn’t need to be done until next week because it was fun or easy to check off your list– only to realize that the other task you were supposed to take care of by the end of the day is really difficult? Leveling up your time management and prioritization skills now will save you lots of stress down the road and help you shine at work