No matter how much you love your job, chances are good that it stresses you out sometimes.
It’s normal to experience work-related stress from time to time, but if you’re constantly experiencing stress on the job, you might soon find yourself burned out or develop health problems.
Chronic stress can easily kill your focus, productivity, and general life satisfaction.
Everyone has their own way of managing stress. Unfortunately, our coping methods aren’t always safe or healthy and can lead to a whole range of problems.
Instead of strategies like trying to work harder, overeating, or turning to alcohol and other unhealthy outlets, it’s important to develop stress management strategies that will enhance your health and happiness.
Not sure what that might look like? Here are some safe strategies you can use to manage your work stress.
Get a Clear Picture of Your Stressors
Do you actually know what makes you stressed out at work? Identifying the triggers that affect you the most can help in minimizing stressful situations.
Start by keeping a log and identifying times of stress. Once you’ve done that, see if you can make some simple changes to your workflows to reduce those stress triggers.
Don’t get hung up on what “should” be stressful. What’s stressful for you might be easy for someone else.
It’s important to remember that we’re all individuals and comparing ourselves to other people isn’t helpful for our well-being.
Communicate Your Needs and Control What You Can
If your stress partially comes from other people, it’s important to realize that your communication can play a role.
Get stressed out when coworkers interrupt you? See if you can designate “quiet hours” when you can get some focused work done.
Communicating your needs will help you be more productive and less stressed.
You should also try to stay out of any office drama. Getting involved in the rumor mill is stressful and pointless!
Create a Comfortable Workspace
Being physically uncomfortable can make stress a whole lot worse.
Consider upgrading your space so you can be happier and more productive! Whether you work from home or in an office, there are lots of ways to make your workspace more comfortable and inviting.
Chair hurting your back? Replace it! Bad lighting? Choose a bulb with a softer glow. Your body and brain will thank you.
Unplug & Leave Work at Work
Lots of people experience work-related stress because they never truly leave work. They’re up at all hours, checking email and mulling over various work problems.
This is a recipe for burnout since you’ll never truly get a break.
Make a practice of unplugging at the end of the day and leaving work and work, even if that just means shutting down your computer at home and focusing on other things.
It’s tough at first, but it’s important for stress management.
Learn Mindfulness Practices
Mindfulness practices, such as breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga can all be helpful for managing stress. As a bonus, breathing exercises and meditation can be done almost anywhere.
Incorporating mindfulness practices can help you feel more centered and better able to cope with variables you can’t control.
Get Enough Sleep, Watch Your Diet, and Move More
Caring for yourself can feel even more challenging when you’re working a stressful job—but that’s when you need it the most.
Coming home and eating comfort food on the couch might feel good, but it won’t help you manage your stress in a safe and healthy way.
Focus on getting quality sleep, time to unwind, and a healthy diet. Exercise is also critical for stress management, overall health, and well-being.
Carving out time for meal prep, exercise, and sleep when you’re already busy can be tough, but it will ultimately help you deal with your work stress.
Take a Break
Having fun is underrated, and it’s necessary for managing stress and enjoying your life. Make sure to incorporate activities you enjoy into your daily life.
Every once in a while, take some serious time off for a long vacation.
These kinds of breaks will help you prevent burnout and feel more energized about your work.
Just make sure that you’ve delegated before you leave so you don’t return to a mountain of stressful work to catch up on!
Managing Stress Takes Effort…But It’s Worth It
If you’re still struggling with stress management after implementing safe coping strategies, then it might be a good idea to talk with your supervisor and/or a counselor.
You might also need to consider if a different environment would be better for your mental health if your job is causing long-term, constant stress that is difficult to control.
Managing stress is tough. It takes effort, and developing strategies that work for you can take time.
However, it’s extremely worthwhile to put in the effort so you can enjoy your job more, feel better, protect your health, and avoid burnout!
Sandra is a health blogger based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. She loves being outdoors and exploring new places with her husband. She is a mom of two awesome kids and a dog named Luna!