5 Effective Ways To Combat Work-Related Stress
Work isn’t always a walk in the park. It can be a stressful balance of answering urgent emails, popping from phone call to phone call, and joining meeting after meeting — all while trying to complete your work on a deadline and impress your boss. After a long day at work, sometimes all you can do is flop on the couch and close your eyes.
There are ways, however, to combat this stress. Some of these are job-related, of course; if you’re in sales, engaging in sales forecasting can make your schedule easier, and if you’re a freelance writer, keeping your assignments and to-dos in your calendar is a great tip. But there are also effective non-work-related mechanisms to release stress. Here are a few.
1. Recognize Your Stress
This seems like an easy thing to do, but sometimes it’s hard to recognize that the root of that pit in your stomach is stress. Signs of stress include low energy or fatigue, changes in appetite, digestive issues, insomnia, headaches, low self-esteem, and more; if you find yourself experiencing any of these, think about your work environment and if job-related stress could be involved. Stress can cause long-term effects on your physical and mental health, so it’s important to recognize the signs and do what you can to combat them.
2. Record Your Stressors
After recognizing your stress, it’s time to recognize your stressors. Writing down stressful situations can help you work through them and understand why they’re getting to you. These can be covert sources of stress, like a long commute to work or a way-too-early wake-up time. Or, they can be more overt sources of stress, like an aggressive boss or an incompetent coworker.
Keeping a journal to track your stress triggers and your reactions to them might help. Asking yourself questions like “How did this make me feel?” and “How can I resolve this?” and working through the answers with a pen and paper could be the key to winding down at the end of the day.
3. Take Time for Yourself
Taking personal time to relax and recharge is essential after a long day of work. Whether you enjoy relaxing with a good book, watching your favorite Netflix show, or knitting a new scarf, finding a hobby or pastime that calms and comforts you is an important way to fight burnout.
However, it might be helpful to take personal time during the workday to recharge as well. Listening to a gripping podcast in between phone calls or calling a friend during your lunch break can be excellent stress releasers, and you’ll feel more energized and focused throughout the day.
4. Combat Negative Thoughts
It’s so easy to make up tense scenarios in your mind and convince yourself that you’re an imposter. There’s a reason you landed the job you have, and that’s because you’re good at it. So if your boss doesn’t say “good morning” when he/she sees you in the office, they’re probably not mad at you.
Instead of making quick judgments about your coworkers’ intentions, distance yourself from your negative thoughts. Don’t jump to conclusions, and believe the best in yourself and your work performance.
5. Rely on a Support System
Your job is not everything. Remember that career success is not the key to happiness; what is the key is having a strong support system of great friends and family. If you’re struggling with work-induced stress and mental health issues, talk to someone you love. Their compassion and advice — and just knowing you have people to lean on — will likely make you feel a lot better.
Work is stressful, but this horrible stress doesn’t have to consume your entire life. Be kind to yourself, and don’t let the little (and, frankly, trivial) things get you down. You are worthy, strong, and great at your job. Now, kick the stress and start believing that.
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