Work Stressing You Out? Feel Better With These Five Tips
No matter how hard we try, most of us feel work stress at one time or another. You may have a tight deadline to meet, a heavy workload or a difficult customer to handle. A little stress in your life is OK; in fact, it presents a challenge that helps you rise to the occasion and do your very best. However, when stress is ever-present for a long time, it starts to be a problem. When your body is faced with too much stress for too long, it can begin to wear you down, both mentally and physically.
But there’s good news! Handling stress in a healthy way is a learned skill—and it’s one you can learn by practicing the following five tips:
1. Identify what stresses you out. Your stress may be completely obvious to you, or it may be more hidden. But it can help to have a sit-down with yourself and think through how you’re feeling. What part of your life is weighing on you? Identifying your stress is the first step to addressing it. Once you know what it is, brainstorm various ways you can find some relief. If you’re bogged down with too many projects, talk to your supervisor about your workload. If you’re dealing with a difficult coworker or customer, ask your supervisor for guidance as to how you should proceed. Good communication goes a long way when you’re under stress!
2. Practice healthy responses. It can feel natural to respond to stress by devouring half a box of cookies, but it’s not the healthiest plan for you long-term. Alcohol, smoking and overeating are common responses to stress that will have detrimental effects down the road. But healthy responses can make you feel just as good—now and in the future. Exercise, deep breathing, taking a walk, journaling, talking to a friend or just taking a few minutes to yourself to cool down are all healthy ways to deal when faced with a stressful situation.
3. Take time for yourself. It’s important to be able to power down and step away from work every day. When you do, take time to do something you enjoy that has nothing to do with your job, so you’re fully unplugged. Spend time outside, or with family and friends. Always take your breaks during the day and don’t let your vacation time go to waste! Letting yourself enjoy life is good for your well-being and will actually help you return to work refreshed and ready to go.
4. Learn how to wind down. Especially if you’ve had a difficult day, you may find it hard to calm down and relax. Exercise can be a great de-stressor, as can mediation, or meditative exercise such as yoga or Pilates. Reading, listening to music or talking about your day can also help you diffuse some tension you may have felt. Different techniques work for different people, so try a few and see what works best for you!
5. Talk to someone who can help. If you’re having an especially hard time and can’t figure out how to make things better, there are resources to help. Contact a counselor or take advantage of your employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Depending on the source of your stress, a financial or career advisor can also help if you’re in search of guidance or direction. No matter what you’re feeling, there’s always something you can do to make things a little easier on yourself, or someone you can talk to!
Practice makes perfect
As with anything, the more you work on it, the better you’ll get. Try a few of these techniques to reduce your stress and breathe a little easier.
*This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as medical advice.