Everyone knows the telltale signs of work-related stress: rushing to meet deadlines, answering emails at midnight, taking phone calls at all hours of the day and/or snapping at your coworkers. When you’re under that kind of pressure, it can negatively affect your health, your relationship with coworkers and your work/life balance. When you find yourself dealing with a demanding deadline, overwhelming presentation or difficult manager, here are a few easy ways you can learn to cope.
1.) Breathe deeply.
Sure, it’s a bit cliché and doesn’t typically solve the source of the stress, but breathing deeply can help to biologically calm you down and give your brain the oxygen it needs to come up with solutions. We recommend a walk outside to truly clear your head. With each breath, you’ll truly be able to feel some of the tension leaving your body, and you can return to the problem with a fresh perspective.
2.) Have a shutdown time.
Regardless of the projects or presentations you have to deal with, maintain a strict schedule of when to turn off your cell phone and sign out of your email. Doing so will allow you to maintain a healthy work/life balance and spend time with family and friends.
3.) Use your vacation days.
Vacation days are a perk that you’ve personally earned through hard work. Don’t just wait for them to be paid out on a paycheck. If you’ve been going back to the grind day after day, wrap up your major projects and take a personal day. Even if you’re spending the day lying in bed instead of lying on a beach, you’re going to be able to return to the office with renewed energy and ideas.
4.) Know when to say no and/or when to delegate.
One of the most common causes of work-related stress is taking on too much. If the projects are piling up and you just can’t get to them in a reasonable amount of time, don’t be afraid to delegate them to an assistant or ask for an extension on the due date. Manage the expectations of your co-workers and ask for help when it’s needed.
5.) Take care of yourself.
If you’re shoveling down fast food and sitting at a desk all day, it’s going to be hard for your body to perform at its best and handle the physical, mental and emotional signs of stress. Exercise for 30 minutes every day, eat a balanced diet and participate in your company’s wellness program to help reduce daily stress.
6.) Talk to someone about it.
If coping with work-related stress is a day-to-day battle for you, a good talk with a close friend is a great way to blow off some steam. If the problems stem from coworkers, talk to your manager/superior about the issues – they have a responsibility to hear what you have to say and help you resolve the problem. If you’re dealing with harassment or bullying, talk to your company’s human resources professional.
7.) Spruce up your desk.
It sounds silly, but making your workspace your own is actually a very good way to create a comforting, personalized place. Decorating it with pictures of family and friends, inspirational quotes or funny photos is an easy way to remind you of the important things in life and keep you on track. Even if it’s just a little cubicle, make it a place where you feel comfortable.