Time is finite; work is infinite. Therein lies the basic conflict that causes the lion’s share of stress in the workplace. On-the-job pressure can’t be avoided, but fortunately, there are ways to manage it. Check out these five strategies to fight stress at work.
Start The Day Right
A day’s beginning often predicts the day’s end. If you begin your morning by waking up late, dressing in haste, skipping breakfast, and rushing to catch a train, you’re going to arrive at your workplace hungry, anxious, and frazzled.
Consider shifting your sleep schedule an hour earlier than usual. The extra time in will allow you to get ready at your own pace, run an extra mile, eat breakfast, prepare yourself a healthy lunch, and arrive at work refreshed and ready to tackle your to-do list.
Confirm What Is Expected Of You
Stress is often the child of uncertain expectations. If you’re unsure of the extent of your responsibilities at work, you’ll remain in a perpetual state of anxiety. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll likely overcompensate, which can lead to burn-out.
Keep the lines of communication open with your supervisor. Talk out the issues that concern you with your boss. Be clear about deadlines and the nature of the work product expected, so you can focus on priorities.
Keep A To-Do List
Organization is key when you’re juggling multiple projects and deadlines. Take advantage of technology (phone reminder apps, online calendars, etc.) to keep track of appointments, meetings, and upcoming deadlines. When it comes to large projects, break them down into a series of smaller goals that can be handled deftly in an hour, a day, or a week. Agree to delegate portions, if possible. Having a road map of what needs to be done can ease mounting tension.
Sleep, Eat, Play
When you’re writing your to-do list, include a solid eight hours of sleep and some time to exercise, even if it’s only a turn around the block during your lunch hour. Eat nutritious meals in reasonable intervals and avoid too much sugar and caffeine. Stress is more easily managed when you’re feeling fit, fed, and well-rested.
Customize Your Work Space
Everyone works differently. Some people focus best amid noise and chaos. Others need noise-cancelling headphones to concentrate on the task at hand. If your office space is cold, leave a sweater at work. If hot, bring in a small fan. If your job allows it, consider an ergonomic chair, a standing desk, or a keyboard constructed to stave off carpal tunnel syndrome.
In the end, relieving stress depends on your ability to pinpoint the origin, and then embrace healthy ways to cope. If all else fails, consider meditation, listening to music rather than news during your morning commute, engaging in group sports, etc., until you find what works best for you.