Everyone experiences stress in the workplace from time to time, whether it’s caused by the pressure to complete the thirty deadlines sitting on your desk or the constant interruptions preventing you from tackling your always-extending to-do list.
Most us can manage small doses of pressure but if you find yourself lying awake at night plagued by the stressful events of your work day, you need to take a step back. If left untreated, workplace-related stress is not only detrimental to your work, but it can also spill over into family life and personal relationships.
Here, we discuss seven ways you can combat work-related stress to ensure it does not affect you long-term.
1. Track your triggers:
Keep a notebook for a week or two in which you identify situations that cause the most stress and how you respond to them. Record information about the environment (including the people and circumstances involved), your thoughts, feelings, and how you reacted. Keeping a detailed journal like this will help you find patterns among your stressors and monitor your reactions to them.
2. Learn how to relax:
If you look at your long list of to-dos and find yourself becoming overwhelmed, relaxing techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises and mindfulness can help calm you down. For example, if you feel yourself becoming stressed, take a few quiet minutes at your desk to breathe in for three seconds and out for three seconds.
3. Take time to recharge:
Apart from moving to get up for lunch or to make a cup of coffee/tea, you may find yourself stuck to your desk most of your day, blaming it on having too much work to do. However, to avoid burnout, it’s important you take time to replenish and return to your pre-stress level of functioning. This could be getting outside in the fresh air for a quick walk for 10 minutes, going for lunch with a colleague out of the office or taking some annual leave to switch off completely.
4. Make a to-do list:
It can be overwhelming trying to remember all of the things you have to do. Writing them all down in a to-do list (and keeping that to-do list up-to-date) is effective as it ensures you don’t forget anything and allows you to prioritise the most important or time-sensitive tasks first.
5. Talk to your manager or supervisor:
Various studies have linked employee health to productivity at work, so if you find your workload is having a negative impact on your health, speak to your manager or supervisor about creating an incentive that promotes employee well-being. You need to be in the best physical and mental shape to be great in your role and getting the necessary resources and support from management and colleagues will help keep you in the best working shape, whether it be learning better time management or making changes to your physical workspace to make it more comfortable.
6. Look at something that makes you happy
If you’ve had enough of looking at reports and presentations, take your mind off work for a few minutes by looking at something that makes you happy. This could be a photo of your family, a funny video of your pet, or reading a light-hearted article. Taking your mind and eyes away from your workload for a short period can quickly boost your mood.
7. Leave your stresses in the office
Try to leave your work worries in the workplace and don’t let it get past your home door. It’s easier said than done, but the home should be your sanctuary, the place where you can completely switch off and give your brain a much-needed break. If you must vent to your partner or housemate, give yourself ten to fifteen minutes but turn off your email notifications, put your work phone and laptop away, and focus on de-stressing for the evening.