Do you constantly feel like you need to produce more, perform better, or secure a pay raise?
Are you worried about competing with co-workers, a tense relationship with your boss, or a possible lay-off?
Has you partner hinted that your job is getting in the way of your relationship?
Whether you love your job or you hate it, work-related stresses can affect your entire life. What can you do to deal with it all?
1. Pay attention: Take a good look at what’s bothering you.
What exactly is triggering your stress responses? Thoughtfully observe the people you work with, the work environment, and your physical and mental reactions. Are negative thoughts and emotions tied primarily to the people you work with, the work environment, or the nature of the work?
Uncover the patterns that lead to anxious feelings and negative thinking in order to gain some perspective.
2. Respond well: Choose to manage stress in healthy ways.
Don’t allow yourself to be passive when it comes to stress. Stress can lead to overindulgences like overeating or drinking too much. Many people attempt to get ahead at work by stressing their bodies with excessive caffeine intake or minimal sleep.
Exercise, a healthy diet, and a full night’s sleep are natural and highly effective stress reducers.
3. Set Limits: Reduce the overlap of work-life and home-life.
Boundaries are an important safeguard against stress. If you feel like you are constantly tethered to your job by emails or take-home projects, you may need to reevaluate the cost to your personal life. Make small changes. Deliberately switch gears to concentrate on your family or a hobby after work.
Give yourself space and permission to engage in more than your work-life.
4. Get real: Maintain realistic expectations.
Accept that your abilities and productivity are finite. Generally, perfectionism and unrealistic expectations at work lead to stress-inducing thoughts of failure and punishing work schedules that tax your body.
Acknowledge what you can reasonably accomplish. Reach your goals without killing yourself.
5. Take breaks: Recharge and reset your ability to function well.
Your best work performance is boosted, not hindered, by time off. Spend your morning break listening to music or eat lunch away from work to help refresh your mind. Similarly, a few vacation days offer a mental reset that can provide a needed energy boost and renewed focus.
Learn to see time off as a necessary and useful part of your work life. Use it as a tool for managing stress and improving work performance.
6. Unwind everyday: Make a deliberate effort to relax and let go.
Consciously letting go will help you feel more in control and less at the mercy of stress. Use mindfulness meditation, journaling, prayer, or deep breathing techniques to release the negative thoughts and worry that build in your mind and body daily.
Practice purposely relaxing for a few minutes at the end of every day, gradually increasing time as letting go becomes a habit.
7. Seek Support: Gather people around you to talk to.
In any stressful situation, having people who know and understand what you’re going through makes a huge difference.
* Reach out to sympathetic co-workers with whom you can share the stresses of your job.
* Meet with your boss to discuss the possibility of modifying your position or responsibilities to alleviate stress.
* Meet with a therapist who may be able help you correct unproductive or unhealthy ways of coping with stress.
Work and stress are sometimes unavoidably linked.
But you don’t have to suffer the daily grind indefinitely.
To work well, take good care of your body and mind.