No matter the role, everyone that’s had a job has experienced some sort of work-related stress. Whether it’s pressure for sales, pleasing a client, or increasing leads, we’ve all been there. Some of that stress is normal, and even helpful in remaining focused and energetic. But when short-term stress turns long-term, it takes a toll on your body and mental health. This could have a huge effect on the ability to execute your role at work, and even interfere with your personal life. A study by the American Psychology Association noted that 61% of Americans experience significant work-related stress. This is most likely why 43% of Americans lie awake at night. So the question everyone is asking: How to deal with stress at work?
There is no “one-size-fits-all” strategy for how to deal with stress at work. However, we’ve researched some of the most effective techniques for identifying problem areas, how to cope with stress, and ways to proactively maintain a healthy lifestyle.
7 Steps For Managing Stress
Note Your Stressors
When stress at work becomes overwhelming, it’s easy to unknowingly develop a routine of bad habits. Such as grabbing a snack from the vending machine, gossiping with a co-worker, or even choosing to not put forth effort on work projects. Here at DemandZEN, we also experience these bad habits even with in work-from-home environment. I’ve caught myself answering non-urgent personal phone calls during the day just to escape my work load. But by tracking our stressors, we are able to take a step back from a stressful situation and see what’s actually causing the stress, how we are reacting, and any patterns that have developed. While recording stressors, take note of your feelings, thoughts, and other information about the experience.
Act instead of react
“Be impeccable for your 50%,” advises Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist. This is all about owning your actions. Two forces are involved in stressful situations: The things you can control and the things you can’t. We are accountable for our own actions and responses. We have to let go of the rest.
For example: If you’re in a meeting and conflict arises with coworkers concerning the quality of your work, take a deep breath. Realize that you’re not responsible for what they’re saying about you (unless the quality of your work is, in fact, subpar). You are, however, accountable for your response. Defending one’s self doesn’t have to be confrontational. You set the tone for everyone’s perception of you. So, in this situation it’s best to let go of what people are saying about you and let what comes out of your mouth next, be impeccably representative of yourself.
Holding onto things we have no control over will never change the outcome of a situation. Although it’s sometimes difficult to let go of the things that bother us, it’s better for us in the long run. This philosophy will improve your productivity!
Put yourself first
We get so busy worrying about work and what others have going on that we forget that it’s ok to put ourselves first sometimes. Sydney J Harris said, “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” This doesn’t mean we should put important things on the back burner. However, we need to take note of when we need to take a moment for ourselves in order to live our best lives. To avoid burn out and wearing down due to stress, we need to disconnect. When possible, relax and unwind. Don’t let your vacation or personal days go to waste. Take advantage of those — that’s why we have them.
Develop ways to cope with stress
We can avoid negative effects of stress by finding techniques that help us cope. As stated previously, everyone deals with stress in their own way, which means not all techniques work for everyone. There are many ways to alleviate stress and anxiety such as Quick Calm Deep Breathing, walking, meditating, working on a puzzle, etc. These are all things you can do during your work day.
Lucky for most of us, people won’t die if we don’t make that sale or don’t finish that AdWords campaign in time due to emergencies or other tasks taking priority. However, meeting quotas and deadlines tremendously impacts our stress levels. These are stressors that we, unfortunately, cannot eliminate. However, we can learn to cope with the impending pressure. Because we know the stress is inevitable, we can mentally prepare for situations for like this. And that in itself is coping.
Schedule time to refocus and recharge
Many of us have the mentality that when we power through a full 8 to 10 work hours, we accomplish more. However, that isn’t true. The longer we push, the more likely fatigue will set in and we will start feeling stressed. It’s best to take occasional breaks throughout the day to refocus and recharge in order to maintain a steady flow of productivity and positive attitude.
In work-from-home environments, we’re tempted to jump online when we get a message from a coworker in another timezone. But setting strict boundaries helps divide work from home and allows you to disconnect from work more easily.
Before seeking out a psychologist, try talking with a friend or family member. Sometimes, venting about job stress with the ones who we are closest to helps us stay grounded. It’s easy to forget that we have those outlets readily available to us.
It’s also important to note that your supervisor or superior may have resources or credible insight into handling work related stress. Before going to management about stress, determine its severity. Is it one bad day, or is it a pattern? Also, pinpoint the source of stress and ways to relieve it. Try avoiding blame language in these scenarios. Ultimately, If none of these strategies seem to help in managing stress, consult with your doctor for a referral.
Boost your body to boost your mind
Because it’s inevitable, It’s important to know how to deal with stress at work. Living a healthy life outside of the work environment will help prevent stress from becoming a serious issue. This involves exercising regularly, planning meals in order to eat healthy, and consistently getting a good night’s sleep. These are things that set the tone for everyday living.
With close to 60,000 thoughts streaming through our heads every day, it’s likely that some of those thoughts may cause distress. Even if we aren’t currently dealing with high levels of stress, it’s good to have some familiar calming techniques at hand so we know how to deal with stress at work. Note your stressors, act instead of react, put yourself first, develop new ways to cope with stress, schedule time to focus and recharge, seek support, boost your body to boost your mind, are all ways to help us deal with stress at work. Most of these techniques seem obvious and simplistic, but sometimes the best answer is the obvious answer.
Have you considered a work from home position? In dealing with stress — one of the biggest benefits from this environment is flexibility in managing stress. This includes: the freedom to exercise or meditate during breaks, accessibility to healthy food, customizing your workspace, healthy work-life balance, etc. If this interests you, check out our careers page to view open positions.