How Best to Eliminate Work Stress 9 Tips
Work is a great source of stress, which is a major issue for many people today—often spilling over into personal life. An epidemic in itself—if cannabis is a gateway drug, then job stress is a gateway for anxiety disorders and depression. With such high stakes, work stress should never be ignored.
Ridiculous demands, bullying, perfectionism, and immense pressure from parents, peers, employers, and the individuals themselves all contribute to this vicious cycle. On top of that, an education system that focuses on conformity—and rewarding only those with high grades—sends children out into the world ill-equipped to take care of their physical and emotional wellbeing.
The so-called path to success was laid out long before we were born, with little deviation in spite of the tech explosion and a massive cultural shift, which leaves many people asking questions they can't seem to answer. This path to success—it would appear—focuses solely on money. And while we know that money doesn't buy happiness, the narrative remains strong, and fears of breaking from tradition ensure most remain trapped.
Our strong desire for success and happiness, along with a distorted view of what that is, paradoxically, carries with it high levels of workplace stress, which often ensure financial freedom or happiness is never achieved.
Unfortunately, most career decisions are made for others. If your work causes you more stress than joy, you're not doing it for you: You're doing it to impress others or to make peers jealous or parents proud. And that mindset will get you in a lot of trouble.
Chronic job stress is not something you should accept. Here are nine tips for better workplace stress management:
1. Plan your day
At the end of every day, by taking five minutes to write and plan out your next day, you will leave work with greater clarity and a plan of action for tomorrow so all work-related stress is left behind in the office. Besides which, your subconscious will get to work while you're asleep, coming up with how best to manage any challenges ahead.
This includes your email time too. Try to plan ahead the time spent on your email by assigning a certain time to it to avoid getting lost in that task. Email desktop clients like Mailbird (Windows) or Airmail (Mac) are great tools for going through your email in the most effective and fast way possible, especially for people that have to manage multiple email accounts.
2. Change your environment
Sitting at your desk throughout the day is not only bad for stress—it's terrible for overall physical and mental health. Best practice suggests getting up at least once an hour for two minutes. If your stress level is high, go for a walk and get some fresh air to clear your head.
3. Listen to music
Not only is music a great distraction to reduce stress, but listening to slow, classical or chilled-out music is incredibly relaxing for both the body and mind. The soothing power of music is well-established. It has a unique link to our emotions, so it can be extremely effective in decreasing the levels of stress hormones. Try this playlist on Youtube to keep you calm and focused.
If not the best, meditation is one of the best tools to manage stress. Make a habit of taking 10 minutes a day to sit undisturbed in a silent room just to breathe. Play some relaxing music to enhance your experience.
5. Ease off the caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant, and if you consume too much, it can cause anxiety. I wouldn't deprive you of your morning coffee, but by limiting consumption, you can avoid the adverse long-term effects that come with it. Instead, try herbal tea. There is an endless supply of delicious teas that promote a feeling of calm.
Sleep is so important to your overall physical and mental health. I used to be of the opinion that the sooner I went to sleep, the sooner I had to go to work. And I didn't like that because I didn't like work. So, I would deprive myself of sleep to put off work! Stress, focus, mental clarity, and productivity will all take a hit if you are sleep deprived. Besides, it can contribute to many serious diseases in the long run. Take time to unwind, turn off all distractions, unplug from social media, and tuck yourself in for seven or eight solid hours of sleep every night.
7. Adopt a solution-focused mindset
Problems will always arise. How you respond to them is what matters. Focusing on what happened, placing blame, or allowing yourself to get worked up instead of employing a problem-solving mindset will only increase stress and prolong the punishment. What's done can't be undone. The only question you should be asking yourself is What's the solution? Once you've figured that out, execute on it
Don't suppress any frustrations or emotions as they will manifest over time if left ignored. Communicate with your manager or colleagues if something isn't working out for you. The conversation in itself will be liberating, and it might provide you with everything you are looking for. Speaking of which, if you're not a confrontational person, even venting online can help. Just don't do it over Facebook, it's better to start a blog instead.
If all else fails, and you're doing something you can't stand—you shouldn't be doing it. If you're working with people or for people you don't get on with—you shouldn't be working with them. There is no magical formula for this one besides two magical words, I Quit. Whether it's for a new career or a similar job at a new company—your options are endless. So, get out there and make something better for yourself. Life is way too short to hate what you do every day.
"For optimum performance, we need balance—time for work, time for rest, time for play—honor them all, and you'll be far more productive and happy in all aspects of your life," — Nick Cullen about time management.
For more tips to eliminate stress in general, you can check out our previous article.
About the Author:
Nick Cullen is a writer and anxiety coach. Having suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, and depression for a decade, he uses his experience to teach his clients the solutions he wishes somebody had taught him 15 years ago. You can learn more by clicking here.