We’ve all had periods of workplace stress, weeks (or sometimes months) when you feel like you just can’t catch a break. Instead of moving forward with exciting ideas and projects you feel bogged down with small issues and constant fire-fighting.
While workplace stress usually passes (if it doesn’t, it might be time to quit your job), there are things that you can do to help make the stressful times more bearable.
And not at your desk. During busy times at work, it can be tempting to make use of that extra hour in the middle of the day. This is a huge mistake. Your body (and your mind) need to take a break every couple of hours.
You need to eat, breathe some fresh air and give your eyes a chance to relax away from your computer screen. After taking a break you’re more energised and less likely to make mistakes. In the long run, taking breaks is actually better for your productivity.
Lean on your work friends
Research shows that social interactions are critically important for your mental and physical health. In fact, people who have at least one close friend at work are more likely to be engaged in the workplace.
When the workplace stress is building up, grab coffee with a colleague or pop into a friend’s office to chat. Just don’t spend all afternoon complaining about your boss. Be positive and constructive.
Know your remit
If you don’t know exactly what’s expected of you, or if the requirements keep changing at the last minute, you may find yourself much more stressed than necessary.
An easy way to deal with this is to set up a one-to-one meeting with your manager or supervisor. Ask them to provide feedback on your previous work as well as an outline of the tasks you should be in charge of going forward. This should clear up any ambiguity.
Put on your blinkers
Okay, you don’t need to actually blindfold yourself but blocking out annoying distractions can help to streamline your day and eliminate any unnecessary stress.
If you’re under pressure, turn off your phone, close your emails and shut down Slack. Your colleagues will be able to survive without you for an hour and a bit of peace and quiet might be just what you need to clear your to-do list.
Learn when to say ”no”
It’s hard for many of us to say “no” to someone, but sometimes it’s completely necessary, especially when you’re being asked to do work outside of your remit.
In order to avoid workplace stress, you need to know your limits and stick to them. Remember that you can’t do everything. If you spread yourself too thin, you won’t be able to perform at your best.
Enjoy your hobbies
When you’re stressed, it’s easy to neglect your personal life. Perhaps you cancel plans with friends or stop going to the gym after work. Remember that you are not a machine. You need time to rest, recuperate and socialise. If you’re bailing on your other commitments due to workplace stress it might be time to take a step back.