I don’t know a single person who could say they’ve never felt stress at work. Even the best of us have to deal with demanding customers, impending deadlines, or other setbacks that try our patience on a daily basis.
Handling work stress in a healthy way is crucial, as stress can negatively affect your physical health, mental health, and performance in the long-term.
Stress can cause us to lash out or make mistakes we otherwise wouldn’t. If you find yourself dealing with a lot of stress or anxiety at work, here are a few key strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
1. Take care of your physical health.
This isn’t necessarily a quick fix, but in the long term, getting enough sleep and eating right will go a long way towards helping with handling work stress. If your body is healthy, your mind will be better able to cope with stressful situations.
Another health villain is caffeine. Caffeine, while a standard part of most people’s workday, can increase your stress levels, so you might consider cutting back on the coffee. If you find your heart and mind racing even without caffeine, try to start a meditation practice to help you calm down in the moment.
2. Get moving.
Going along with #1, exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels and improve mental health. It’s important for adults to exercise regularly for health reasons anyway, but something as simple as taking a short walk during the workday can help reset your frame of mind and put you in a better position for handling work stress.
3. Vent constructively.
It’s healthy to talk about your problems with someone you trust, but if you’re not careful, it can quickly turn into a cycle of negativity. Beware of falling into the “complaint trap” with your friends or coworkers. It might feel good to complain in the moment, but it does nothing to solve your problems and only prolongs the time you dwell on them.
Instead, think before you vent: can I do anything to change this problem myself? Am I looking for advice, or do I want to complain? If it’s the latter, try to frame the conversation in a more positive way, so you leave feeling empowered, not bitter. Talk to a mentor or other positive person about solutions instead of looking for collusion buddies.
4. Control your reaction.
Handling work stress can sometimes be as simple as holding your tongue. You might not be able to control how you feel in the moment, but you can control how you react to workplace stressors.
First of all, take a deep breath before responding to messages or conversations that stress you out. It’s important not to make any rash decisions while you’re in a stressed state of mind. Give yourself some space to process what happened before you act.
5. Use your time off.
Many of us feel guilty for using our paid time off, but taking a periodic vacation or personal days can help you recharge and lessen the long-term effects of workplace stress. You don’t even have to go on a real vacation: just spending some time at home or with family can help with handling workplace stress.
This goes for the workday, too. Resist the temptation to take lunch at your desk and be sure to take frequent breaks to use the restroom, get some water, or stretch your legs. Even a few minutes away from the computer can help you manage stressful situations.
Handling work stress is an unavoidable obstacle for any business owner. If you’re having trouble dealing with pressure, schedule a free call with me to discuss some helpful strategies.