If you’ve ever felt stress at work, you’re not alone.
In fact, according to a recent study, 76% of people said they experience stress on the job. And almost 50% describe that stress as moderate or higher.
While you may not be able to completely eliminate stress from your life, there are steps you can take to lessen its grip on you.
Here’s how you can handle work-related stress:
- Identify your stressors
- Improve your time management
- Establish clear expectations
- Take your scheduled breaks
- Establish healthy work relationships
- Communicate with your supervisor
- Celebrate the wins and don’t dwell on mistakes
Following these steps can help you cope with stress and feel more comfortable at work. We’ll outline how.
7 Tips to Reduce Stress at Work:
1. Identify your stressors.
Workplace stress can easily feel all-encompassing, but it’s likely that specific aspects of your job are causing you to feel anxious.
The first step to reducing your anxiety is to pinpoint exactly what triggers your stress responses.
Take a few days, maybe a week, and monitor your mental state. Write down situations that cause you anxiety as they happen. Then, track how you reacted to them.
When you’ve identified your stressors, ask yourself:
- Is there a common theme to my triggers?
- Is there a specific recurring situation that causes me stress?
- Are there particular types of interactions that amplify my anxiety?
- What are my usual responses to stress? Do they actually help me feel better?
Once you understand how different aspects of your job affect your state of mind, you will be in a better position to create a plan for dealing with your triggers.
2. Improve your time management.
Poor time management can be a major cause of stress. If you feel like you’re constantly overwhelmed and in a rush, you’ll probably benefit from taking a moment to manage your schedule.
Do you tend to run late? If so, carve out more time to get ready for work every day. It will ensure you start your day off with one less thing to stress about.
Another thing to consider is optimizing your work schedule.
- What tasks are a priority?
- Are any of them less urgent?
- What days are typically busier in my week? Is there a way I can front load some of the work to free up time during those days?
- What recurring tasks do I have to perform? And how long do they take me?
Once you’ve answered these questions, plan your next week accordingly.
If you need to visualize your days, try using an hourly planner. It can be an app on your phone or computer, or simply a notebook. It will help make sure you don’t add too much on your plate.
Need more help reorganizing your schedule? Read these helpful time management tips.
3. Clarify expectations.
Do you have days when you feel like work is moving so fast, you can’t catch a break? If you do, you can reduce that stress greatly by clarifying expectations on your time.
If your boss or colleague asks you to do something extra on a busy day for you, instead of saying “yes” or “no” right away, make sure they are aware of how that will impact your other work.
You can ask questions such as:
- How much of a priority is this? If I do X now, I won’t have time to do Y until later. Is that ok with you?
- I would love to help you with this. I’m really busy at the moment but I can look at it tomorrow if that works for you.
Knowing what is expected of you will set you up for success and help ensure that you are delivering good work. In turn, you will find yourself a lot less stressed by the demands of your job.
4. Take your scheduled breaks.
Your brain and body are not wired to go all day without interruptions. They need regular breaks in order to reset and re-energize.
Recent studies show that taking regular lunches is especially important. So if you can, go on a walk or eat your lunch away from your station. The goal is to change your environment for a few minutes.
You’ll find that getting away, even for a short amount of time, will help you relax and boost your productivity when you come back to your work.
Can’t take a break but need to destress? Pause for a second to stretch and breathe deeply. Even a moment taking care of yourself can help calm you down and refocus.
You will find that going on your scheduled breaks will not only be restorative, it will provide some distance from stressful situations.
5. Establish healthy work relationships.
Setting up good relationships with your colleagues can go a long way to making you more comfortable at work.
That’s not to say you need to be friends with all your coworkers. But, forging a cordial relationship built on trust and mutual respect will go a long way.
So try to get to know the people you work with.
Engage with them, communicate, and be helpful and kind when they reach out to you. Establish yourself as someone they can rely on and you’ll notice they will be more willing to help you when you need it.
Creating strong connections will provide you a support system at work. Not only will that do wonders for your stress levels, it will also lead to a more effective and productive team.
6. Communicate with your supervisor.
If you’ve already taken steps to reduce your stress and find you need more support, your supervisor might be able to help.
Tell them what’s affecting you.
- Is your workload too heavy?
- Are you struggling to meet deadlines?
- Are your interactions with colleagues or clients adding to your stress?
- Do you feel like you need extra training?
- Are you nervous about your work performance?
Then, share what steps you’ve already taken to reduce your stress, convey your ideas on what you think may help you and be open to their suggestions and opinions.
The goal is to establish an open channel of communication with your supervisor. Be honest about your struggles but be mindful. Remember, you’re reaching out for their constructive help, not laying blame or complaining.
You may find that simply having a conversation with your supervisor already reduces your stress levels. They might be able to ease a lot of your worries and help you come up with a plan to manage your anxiety.
7. Celebrate the wins and don’t dwell on mistakes.
While there are many external elements that can cause us stress, it can also be self-induced.
It’s possible you’re being a lot harder on yourself than anybody you work with (including your boss).
Try a little self-kindness.
Rather than focusing on what you haven’t achieved, celebrate the wins.
Maybe you and/or your team have met a goal. Maybe you’ve learned a new skill, managed to stay on schedule or even completed a small task. Whatever it is, remember you had a part in achieving it and you may feel a lot more satisfied about your job.
And don’t dwell on mistakes. We all have bad days. And that’s OK! Try to shift your perspective. View mistakes not as huge failures but as learning opportunities.
It may give you a better relationship with yourself and your work.
Keep in mind that managing stress is an ongoing process. Give yourself the time to learn about your triggers and establish healthy coping mechanisms.
You may not eliminate your anxiety right away, but you will definitely be able to bring it to a healthier level. Not to mention you will set yourself up for longer term stability.
And what’s more, if new stressful situations arise, you’ll have tools in your belt to handle them.
How TERRA Can Be a Resource
If you are interested in more career tips, check out our blog. We have a variety of great articles to support you in your work life.
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