Work-related stress can easily get the best of us. The constant barrage of emails, phone calls, Slack messages, and Zoom meetings is enough to rattle anyone. Research has shown that the percentage of Americans who are stressed at work is higher than ever before. According to the CDC and Prevention National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, 30-40% of Americans report being extremely stressed at work. Unfortunately, what this shows is that work-related stress is increasing at an alarming rate and that can lead to devastating emotional and physical disorders including anxiety, depression, and even a weakened immune system.
The fact is, feeling some tension at work is normal and experiencing stress from time to time is unavoidable. However, when work stress becomes chronic it can really take a toll on your emotional and physical well-being. The good news is that there are steps you can take to combat work-related stress and keep it to a minimum. Here are some stress management techniques you can use to cope with work stress.
Start the Day Off Right
Many people wake up and scramble to get kids fed and off to school, fight through traffic, and gulp coffee rather than eat a healthy breakfast. This can cause stress before they even arrive at work and it can certainly exacerbate any stress in the workplace. The reality is that a stressful morning can have an extremely negative impact on your stress levels at work. Therefore, it’s so important to start the day off right. Wake up a few minutes earlier so you can plan your day, eat a nutritious meal, and even get the kids out the door ahead of schedule. You will soon find that alleviating much of that early morning stress can help you to have a more positive attitude in the workplace.
Take Short Breaks
Make time in your schedule for short breaks throughout the day. This will help to keep your mind fresh and your body energized. Make it a point to stop after each task you complete, such as a meeting, a report, or a lengthy phone call with a client. These breaks can last anywhere from 2-5 minutes but it’s a great time to close your eyes and take a deep breath or walk around the office to get your body moving. You will be surprised at how refreshed you feel after even a short break and you will find yourself ready to tackle the next task.
Balance Your Work and Personal Life
You may think that answering an email in the middle of the night shows that you’re a dedicated employee but in reality, being available around the clock will burn you out. It’s so important to create clear boundaries between your work and personal life. You need to set aside time away from work for fun, relaxation, and socialization with friends and family. During your personal time, you need to avoid work-related calls or emails and simply focus on yourself.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Purposeful breathing, movements, and positive thinking can help keep you relaxed throughout the week. There are plenty of techniques that can help you calm stress and alleviate anxiety such as meditation, deep breathing, exercises, and mindfulness. Take a few minutes each day to build these into your daily routine. For example, pause for a few minutes before starting your workday. Download a meditation app and use it during your lunch break. Take 5-minute breaks a few times a day for breathing exercises. These techniques will help you combat stress in a healthy way.
Avoid Conflict and Gossip
Workplace conflict can take a major toll on your emotional well-being and it’s just not worth it. Stay away from office gossip and don’t involve yourself in conflict between others. If you know one of your colleagues is prone to gossip or conflict, spend less time with them and ignore negative comments and conversation.
Find a Support Network
Make sure you have a few close friends and family members that you can talk to when you are experiencing stress. It’s always good to have a network of people you trust who can be your support system. Furthermore, let these people help you with other areas of your life such as carpooling on certain days so it can take some additional stress off your shoulders.