How to Manage Stress in the Workplace
In our culture, there are a few answers we accept as normal responses to the question, “How are you?”
“Good” is the easy answer--easy to give in a polite, quick conversation, and easy to receive if you asked the question. No follow-up is necessary. We also accept “busy” or “stressed.” We nod in understanding, resonating with the familiar feeling. Feeling overwhelmed and overscheduled is just a part of life, right? But accepting stress as a natural part of life negatively impacts our effectiveness at work, at home, and threatens our mental health. So, rather than trudging through your life feeling stressed out and dealing with its effects as they come, take some ownership in managing your stress. By implementing the following 5 tips for managing stress, you can protect yourself from various health issues and burnout in the workplace.
1. Take Regular Breaks
Your schedule or workload may seem so daunting, that the only logical way to accomplish everything is to power through your day. Instead, try taking a break every 90 minutes. Walk away from your computer, step outside for some fresh air, grab a healthy snack, or have a conversation with a coworker. It may feel counterintuitive, but it’s proven that regular breaks promote creativity and refresh your focus. Avoiding eating lunch at your desk also helps to alleviate stress in the middle of your day and gives you a chance to fully recharge. Additionally, give yourself allotted time to enjoy non-work-related activities and relationships. Take advantage of your weekend and evenings to destress, refusing to check work emails or continue working on assignments.
2. Learn to Manage Your Emotions
Emotional Intelligence or “EQ” is a buzzword that describes people who can manage their emotions in stressful situations. Managing your emotions allows you to communicate effectively, reduce conflict, and reach your goals. Part of learning how to manage your emotions means taking a minute to identify them. Before you find yourself in a stressful situation, identify how you naturally react to stress. Do you tend to lash out in anger or shut down? Do you become overly critical or pass the blame to others? When you know your own tendencies, you can better protect yourself from strong, overpowering emotions. Instead, reduce your stress by responding calmly, and prevent passing your stress onto others through criticism and bursts of anger.
3. Avoid Stressful Office Scenarios
While it may be difficult to avoid stressful projects at work, try to avoid people and subjects that stress you out. If you find yourself outside the office inner circle, keep your head down and let your work speak for itself. Gravitate towards people that are encouraging and let go of the pressure to rub shoulders with certain individuals. Avoid conversation topics like politics and other sensitive issues that will inevitably leave you frustrated. Attempt to be the person in the office that seeks peace and encourages team unity.
4. Prioritize Your Assignments
If you’re a list-maker, it’s easy to simply write down all of the things you need to do. Looking at this list can instantly make you feel stressed because there’s not enough time in the day to accomplish everything on the list. Instead, prioritize your to-do list. Organize your assignments by deadlines so you know what actually needs to be finished by the end of the day. Focus on accomplishing one task at a time rather than multitasking and set aside time throughout the day to read and respond to emails, rather than getting distracted by each incoming message. You can end the day feeling like you accomplished something while avoiding unnecessary pressure to do it all, leaving you stressed out and discouraged.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
It’s okay to know your limits and reach out for help when you need it. This is not a sign of weakness but of strength. People who are self-confident and self-aware can admit to their superiors that they can’t take on another assignment. A good manager will help you adjust your deadlines or reassign tasks so that you can successfully complete your assignments. So, rather than taking on more projects and then finding yourself drowning in work and unable to do your job well, be honest about what you can and cannot do. Your company will actually function in a healthier, more efficient way when you ask for help.
To learn more about how our leadership programs can enhance your company’s employee performance and employee satisfaction, contact Trinity Training and Development today.