August 23, 2016

Work related stress is a very real problem in our modern world. An incredible 40% of US adults say that the stresses of the day keep them up at night. With the average professional having between 30 and 100 projects on their plate at any one time, but wasting over 2 hours per day being interrupted and distracted, it’s no wonder stress is so prevalent.

So if you’re stressed at work, what can you do about it? Here are 8 quick tips to help you through those stressful professional situations.

  1.        Make a Schedule

A lot of work related stress comes from being time poor, or, more accurately, the feeling of being time poor. One of the simplest and most effective ways to combat stress is to make a daily schedule, and stick to it.

  1.        Prioritise

Your schedule needs to be flexible, however, as you never know what might pop up throughout your workday. Don’t do the easy work at the start of the day and the hard work at the end, as is always so tempting; instead, work to identify the items that are most pressing, and be sure to complete them first.

  1.        Find a Confidant

Your office stress may not be able to be solved by simple time management. It may be a more complicated matter, like intra-office politics or a strained relationship with a co-worker. In these cases, it can be incredibly helpful to find someone you can share your troubles with. It can do you good just to air your concerns, but you may get the added bonus of your confidant suggesting appropriate courses of action, or putting things in a healthy perspective.

  1.        Be Proactive not Reactive

Stress is generated when we feel as though a situation is out of our control. To avoid this, be proactive rather than reactive in your workplace. Keep an eye out for potential problems, and be sure to knock them on the head before they come to be.

  1.        Breathe Deep

Focussing on your breathing has long been known as a stress-reliever. It takes your mind off of the stressful situation, and allows your brain to reset. Try this next time you’re feeling on edge: inhale for 5 seconds, hold the breath for 5 seconds, and then exhale for 5 seconds. Do this for 2-3 minutes. You’ll feel far more at ease afterward than you did beforehand.

  1.        Decisively Manage Interruptions

As we mentioned above, interruptions are a seemingly unavoidable aspect of professional life. While you can’t often control these interruptions (although if you can find a quiet, private space, it’s an excellent option), you can control your response to them. Respond to each interruption by either accepting it, analysing and scheduling it, or cutting it off. Essentially it’s either a ‘yes’, a ‘maybe later’, or a ‘no’.

  1.        Treat Your Body as a Temple

Bad diet, limited exercise and interrupted sleeping have all been proven to increase stress. It’s a basic tip, but an important one; if you want to combat work-related stress, you need to treat your body right.

  1.        Adopt a Positive Mindset

One of the best ways you can eliminate stress is by changing your mindset to one of optimism and positivity. Unfortunately this can be about as hard a task as there is; you essentially need to change the chemical makeup of your brain to do so. But if you can find a way to highlight the positives and dismiss the negatives, you’ll be well on your way to a stress-free workplace.

 

Michael Catford


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