Stress because of work is something we are all familiar with. Even the job you love involves some stressful situations sometimes. Too much stress at work can hurt the quality of work you are able to produce, which is neither good for you nor the organization you are working for.
Here are a few ways you can stop stressing at work, so you can focus on doing good work instead of just “doing your job.”
Get yourself organized
Have you ever walked into the office first thing in the morning and spent the first five minutes of your work day just staring blankly at all the work you have to get done? Looking at everything at once can be overwhelming, especially when you have failed to prioritize your tasks or keep track of what you are going to get done when.
You can use online tools like RescueTime to figure out where you’re spending the most time on your laptop or device, so you can better manage every hour of your day. We check social media a lot more often throughout our work day than we like to admit.
It might also be a good idea to try deciding, before your day starts, exactly what you absolutely need to get done before you leave for the day, what order you are going to accomplish those tasks in and when you are going to take breaks.
All of this might seem like a lot of time spent planning when you could be working, but knowing exactly what’s coming next and when will really help to keep your stress levels as low as possible throughout the day.
Take charge of your health
Your physical and emotional health should be a priority both when you’re at work and when you aren’t. Not only does staying healthy help reduce stress; it also helps you better manage the stressors that pop up throughout your day.
Activities like regular exercise actually help to reduce stress, whether you’re in the office or outside of it. So if you’re having a high-anxiety moment, take a short break and go walk up and down a few flights of stairs to burn off some of that extra energy.
When you get home after a long day, keep moving. Exercising regularly also gives you an excuse to think about the things that are stressing you out at work. Taking some time away from starting at a screen to organize your thoughts is also beneficial and can help you better figure out how to handle stressful situations.
Eating well also helps manage stress, including what you eat before and after you leave for the office and what you bring with you or purchase for lunch. It isn’t just about eating the “right” foods, either: stress tends to make us eat too much or too little, so it’s important to keep your stress eating habits in mind.
Improve your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a measure of how well you can interpret and cope with your emotions and the emotions of the people around you. Sometimes, stress at work comes from those you must work with on a day to day basis, and being aware of how they are reacting to you, and vise versa, is essential to reducing work stress.
A higher emotional intelligence will allow you to better understand how a specific person might react to a situation, so you can plan ahead and avoid conflict before it becomes a problem. It will also help you understand the root causes of some of your initial reactions to certain situations and people, so you can begin to resolve conflicts you weren’t initially aware were present.
Increasing your emotional intelligence is all about becoming more aware of yourself and those around you. Here are a few tips to help you improve your emotional intelligence and communicate more effectively with those around your workplace.
Be honest with your boss and co-workers
When we are feeling overwhelmed at work, we are not always quick to go to someone else and ask for help. Especially not our bosses or supervisors, who, a lot of the time, we are constantly working very hard to impress.
Being open and honest about your stress at work is a lot more important to the quality of your work than you might think. Not everyone sees a task through the lens you do, and if you keep everything to yourself and never mention how things could be accomplished in a more efficient way, no one will ever know.
Sometimes, without realizing it, the work you are assigned is just too much for you to handle. Even those in charge make mistakes sometimes. Your boss may have assumed you could get a large project done in a short amount of time without really thinking it through, and won’t even be aware of it unless you speak up.
There’s also nothing wrong with being the bigger person and confronting a co-worker, in a professional way, if you don’t think they are pulling their weight in a project you are both working on.
It’s also okay to ask them if they have any extra time to help you out if you are having a particularly stressful week. They might say no, but it doesn’t hurt to ask just in case. They might even say, “Well, I’m swamped, but Julie might be able to help.” You’re all on the same team, working toward a common goal. It’s not always about who gets the work done; often what matters most is that it gets done, and gets done well.
Managing work stress does take a lot of practice. It’s a combination of getting and staying organized, staying healthy, remaining aware of those around you and not being afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Remember that it’s okay to take a day off or even a whole vacation every once in awhile. If you can, leave your work at work and spend your time at home working on reducing your stress levels. Use your weekends to rest and recharge. Make the most of the work you do, even when it’s stressful.