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 colleagues. When you’re under that kind of pressure, it can negatively affect your physical and mental health, relationships with coworkers, and diminish your work-life balance.
The next time you find yourself stressing over a demanding deadline, overwhelming presentation, or difficult manager, here are a few easy ways you can learn to cope:
Sure, it’s a bit cliché, and doesn’t typically solve the source of your stress, but breathing techniques can help to biologically calm you down and give your brain the oxygen it needs to come up with solutions. 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. Check out this example of a stress-relieving breathing technique:
Pick 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 more time with family and friends.
Use Your Vacation Days
Vacation days are essential for employees to take a much-needed break to clear their heads and relieve some stress. Don’t just wait for them to be paid out on a paycheck. After you’ve gotten past the extremely hectic days at work, wrap up your major projects and take a personal day. Even if you’re spending the day resting up and binging Netflix instead of taking a tropical vacation, you’ll return to the office with renewed energy, creative ideas, and a much more pleasant attitude!
Know When to Ask for Help
One of the most common causes of work-related stress is taking on more work than you can handle. If your 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. Your managers should understand that you won’t produce quality work when you’re under too much pressure.
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. Focus on keeping yourself healthy by making time to exercise each day, eat nutritious foods, and get enough sleep. Make sure to also participate in your company’s wellness program to help reduce daily stress.
Talk to Someone
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.
Spruce Up Your Workspace
It might sound silly, but making your workspace a personalized area is an excellent way to create a comforting, stress-free zone. Decorating it with pictures of family and friends, inspirational quotes, or your favorite memes is an easy way to remind yourself 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.
Sometimes work-related stress is inevitable, and all you can really do is cope with it as best you can. Instead of letting the stress harm your health, try to keep yourself calm and focus on your wellbeing. Remember that stressing out never solves anything. Instead of getting upset and anxious, use the tricks above to help yourself cope.
How do you cope with work-related stress? Share your thoughts below!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Image created by Jcomp - Freepik.com