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How to Deal with Workplace Stress

September 16, 2015 by Raymond Lee

Stress. A seemingly unavoidable feature of the workplace. Whether the stress is induced by annoying coworkers, an overwhelming workload, or a demanding boss, it is hard to get anything done when working under intense pressure. The anxieties that come with work, while sometimes necessary, can also be debilitating, mentally, physically, and especially emotionally. Here are some simple ways to cope with workplace stress.


6 Ways to Deal With Workplace Stress

  1. Take mini-breaks.

A two-minute trip to the water cooler or a quick walk outside for fresh air can make all the difference in accomplishing your goals in a stress-free manner. Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of Success Under Stress, claims, “If we have intense concentration for about 90 minutes, followed by a brief period of recovery, we can clear the buildup of stress and rejuvenate ourselves.” Getting up from your desk and taking tiny breaks scattered throughout the day lessens stress and increases productivity.

  1. Identify why you’re stressed.

Sometimes it’s incredibly clear what triggers your workplace stress, and typically, once the cause of your stress is identified, a solution can be found. Maybe you’re just burnt out with your current position. There are ways to deal with that. Or maybe a lazy team member is causing you to take on more work. There are ways to handle that, too. Most job-related issues that induce stress come with solutions. Figure out what your problems really are, then address them.

  1. If parts of your job itself are causing you stress, then solve from within.

Maggie Mistal, a New York based career change and executive coach, says a lot of career stress issues can be fixed within your job role. “Find one thing in your current role that you really like and expand upon that,” she says. “If you’re good at something and you enjoy it, why not ask for more? Then you’re building your resume in your current role.” She also advises, in order to find the best within your job restrictions, you should “stop focusing on where you don’t have control and start focusing on where you do.” By doing so, stress within your job can be severely diminished.

  1. Learn how to step away.

Being overbooked, overcommitted, and overworked will undoubtedly lead to stress. It is just as important to be able to say no to opportunities as it is to say yes to them when it is not feasible to take them on. Keeping a steady schedule and negotiating your priorities will ease a lot of your stress. Allow work to stay at work – letting your evenings, weekends, or vacation time be filled with emails and reminders about work will never let you get the healthy respite you need (and deserve!).

  1. Be grateful.

A quality that often goes overlooked on these sort of lists is gratitude. If you are able to find the positives in the work of those around you, often you are able to see the good in your own work. Additionally, thanks go both ways. An aura of appreciation in the office can make work more than bearable; it can make work enjoyable. Beyond the workplace, letting gratitude be a part of your life allows you to see the positives everywhere. If you are able to write down three things you are grateful for daily, from a compliment to a raise, you will find that your day becomes that much more stress-free.

  1. Never lose sight of your purpose.

It is beyond important to stay socially, creatively, and spiritually connected to why we work in the first place. Finding the reason behind each task you do at work will help you in turn find your purpose within them. With goals and a purpose in mind, stress can be focused in a productive manner. Schedule time away from your phone and computer to hang out with loved ones. Let yourself have creative downtime with cooking or art or music. Make sure your hobbies, work related or otherwise, play an important role in your day to day life.

Office stress is unavoidable. However, there are many ways to adapt your routines in and out of the office to make sure that your work stress doesn’t control your life. What methods or tricks do you use to manage your office stress? We challenge you to try the above techniques, and let us know if they work for you.

Raymond Lee

Raymond Lee

Raymond Lee is the President of Careerminds, a global outplacement company based in Wilmington, Delaware. He has over 20 years of human resource, outplacement, and career consulting experience. He has his bachelor’s in psychology and holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Louisiana Tech University. He is active in SHRM and ATD. Raymond’s been featured on SiriusXM Business Radio, CareerTalk, and the Wall Street Journal and he’s published a book titled, Clocking Out: A Stress-Free Guide to Career Transitions.

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