Stress at work is unavoidable – how to cope
Work can be stressful. If it’s not stressful, you may not be doing it right. There are two types of stress—healthy stress and unhealthy stress. Healthy stress can help us reach deadlines and stay motivated and productive. Unhealthy stress can paralyze, overwhelm, or affect you negatively.
It’s the latter type of stress that is obviously the most dangerous. Because every job can be stressful, here are five ways to fight stress at work and keep your composure under pressure.
1. Only Focus on the Next Step – Oftentimes, professionals are given too much work for their allotted time. This can create and increase stress levels. You may feel that it’s impossible to get everything done in a day, week, or month. And yet, you probably still try to accomplish every task each day. Sometimes it helps to understand that working that way is a losing battle. You’ll never feel productive or accomplished or even making progress until you learn how to only focus on the next step ahead of you. While it’s important to have the end goal in mind, don’t become overwhelmed by it. Instead, focus on the deadline for the client proposal in three days or even replying to all your received emails before lunch. Just remember, each task you complete brings you closer and closer to that end goal.
2. Give Your Mind a Break – Knowing when to take a work break is a valuable skill to have. Taking a break doesn’t mean you’re not being productive or that you’re lazy. It can actually guard against becoming burnt out and overly stressed. Take a break after a few hours of work or after you’ve completed a difficult project. Walk around, read a chapter in a book, or just sit quietly with your eyes closed. But whatever you do, don’t think about work. You’ll have plenty of time for that once you’ve finished your break. It’s about finding the right balance.
3. Talk to Your Boss – If you’re overwhelmed with assignments, talk to your boss. It’s important to be honest and realistic. If you have too many tasks and they’re impossible to complete when needed, tell your boss. He may be able to assign some of your tasks to others or help you prioritize your tasks according to the company’s needs. If your boss is aware of your workload, he can help you get everything under control, which will limit your overall work-related stress.
4. Get a New Perspective – Sometimes managing your stress and maintaining your composure requires a new perspective. This could mean seeing your work in a new light or coming up with a new method to complete your work. Find ways to maximize your efficiency and find new ways to relieve your professional stress.
5. Give 100% - Stress can cause paralysis. Don’t let it. Give 100% of yourself while you’re at work. That’s what you’re paid to do and that’s what you agreed to when you signed that employment contract. Giving 100% may not mean you accomplish all your tasks, but you can go home at the end of the day feeling confident in yourself and in your abilities. Your boss will also see your hard work, and that can translate into a promotion, praise, or a monetary raise. And that will ultimately translate into personal pride and professional success.