February 7, 2023

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Strategies for coping with stress at work

Health & Vitality Instead of stressing yourself out, follow these tips to work fear-free Posted by: Team Tony

Work Stress: We’ve all felt it, especially in today’s environment. Working from home can be convenient, but it can also mean interrupting spouses and children. Big companies seem to be shedding employees in droves, and uncertainty about the economy can add to our own stress as we wonder if we’re next. Everything seems to have changed in recent years.

Work stress isn’t going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. The good news is that you are not powerless. Work stress doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of your day. You can learn to manage work stress — and even let those emotions work in your favor. But you must focus on what is under your control: you.

What are some examples of work-related stress?

The answer to “What is work-related stress?” is not a one-size-fits-all. Some examples of short-term or temporary work stress include preparing for an important client presentation, covering for a sick colleague, or working on a large project. Prolonged stress at work can be caused by an overly demanding boss, employees who don’t get their way, tough customers, or chronic understaffing. You can even experience work stress if you feel like you’re not in control of your role or don’t have the growth opportunities you desire.

Work stress can also take the form of anxiety – for example, if your company has recently made cuts, you may be afraid of being laid off. Work stress can also be caused by interpersonal conflict, toxic co-workers, or an environment where you don’t feel physically or emotionally safe. In all of these scenarios, you need to learn how to manage work stress before it negatively impacts your condition.

How to deal with work stress

You can often reduce stress at work by improving your soft skills like communication and teamwork, working on your time management, and prioritizing your tasks. Even if work stress can’t be avoided, there are stress management strategies you can use right now. Here are 12 strategies to reduce stress at work—and manage it when it’s unavoidable.

1. Communicate

In a perfect world, you would have open lines of communication with your line manager or supervisor. Tell them you’re feeling stressed. They have the best ideas on how to relieve stress at work. If you feel like you can’t be open with your boss, have a one-on-one with HR or even a manager from another department. You might be able to help.

2. Clarify

Don’t guess what you have to do. Ask questions until you are clear about your goals and the steps to get there. Understanding the “why” behind your tasks is key to managing stress at work. You can also see which factors are under your control in a stressful situation. Let go of what is not and surpass what is.

3. Learn to say no

Sometimes people who need to learn how to manage work stress feel guilty for over-committing themselves. Don’t strive to be invincible – amazing is your achievable goal. Back-to-back planning will almost never work because unexpected things crop up and tasks often take longer than planned. Concentrate on what needs to be done. Cut off the greasy extras for a lean and purposeful schedule.

4. Give yourself a cushion of time

Allow just 15 extra minutes in the morning so you don’t start your day rushed and behind schedule. Schedule regular, short breaks and stick to this schedule. Breaks throughout the day strengthen your focus and clear your mind. During your breaks, go for a walk, listen to your favorite song, or read an invigorating book. You will be more energetic and better prepared to deal with any work stress that may arise.

5. Prioritize

Practice chunking: Organize larger tasks into manageable chunks and focus on each one. Make sure you aim for SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and anchored in a time frame. Tackle the high priority items first. If you don’t like one of the tasks in particular, eliminate it as soon as possible and make the rest of your day more enjoyable and productive.

6. Balance your schedule

Once you’ve prioritized the immediate needs, balance them with longer-term tasks and responsibilities. Finding a work-life balance is key; If you don’t, it’s a recipe for burnout. If you have the right schedule, you can relax appropriately.

7. Practice emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence affects how well you can understand and manage emotions, both your own and those of others. If your work stress is caused by interpersonal conflict, improving your social awareness can help you understand your co-workers’ emotions to better understand where they’re coming from — and defuse conflict before it escalates.

8. Control your own emotions

Become the master of your mental state. Take the time to identify your own bad habits, negative attitudes, and other harmful behaviors that have become second nature to you – you may find that you are the source of much of your own stress. You need to recognize these destructive thoughts and learn from them without letting them drive you into a state of fear. Here’s how to truly beat work-related stress.

9. Use your senses

Use your senses to quickly revitalize and calm stressful feelings. Scent is a powerful sense of stress relief – several studies have found aromatherapy to reduce stress, including lavender, the most popular stress-relieving scent. Relaxing music is another proven way to reduce stress—music activates the brain’s reward system, moving us in ways other tools can’t. Put on some soothing tunes and focus on relaxation.

10. Change your physical condition

Would you believe that figuring out how to deal with work stress is as easy as changing your body language? Like smell and music, our physical state is closely linked to our emotions. Raising your chest, going for a short walk, or doing a power stance will not only change your physical state, but your mental state as well.

11. Practice relaxation techniques

Other on-site relaxation techniques include acupressure, breathing exercises, and humor breaks. When you’re feeling frustrated or irritable, use one of these healthy habits to defuse your emotions and refocus your mind so you can approach work from a place of calm rather than anger. They will soon become second nature.

12. Rely on your support system

A solid support system is key to managing stress in all areas of life, including dealing with work stress. Go to lunch with your co-workers or call your partner to vent. While they may not have control over the causes of your work stress, they can create a buffer zone that allows you to let off some steam.

Remember, you are the author of your story, at work and in life. Taking responsibility for yourself turns your story into a positive, epic adventure. With intelligent self-training, you will develop healthy behaviors and discover how to reduce stress at work once and for all.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares the stories and core principles of Tony Robbins to help others live extraordinary lives.