How to manage stress at work effectively
Dealing with stress at work means developing coping strategies which are personal to you, so it is important to experiment with what suits you individually. Try some of the following commonly-used techniques on how to manage stress at work effectively:
- Reorganise your schedule. Much stress at work comes from not having enough time to do everything. Roster all of your weekly tasks and schedule in a little overrun time here and there. Timetable as much as possible so you have a plan you can stick to.
- Take a break. You may not be able to de-stress by booking a three-week holiday in a faraway destination, but you can take a rest. Comfort breaks are perfectly allowable and can afford you the chance to reflect and prioritise your workload.
- Move workstations. If you work in an office, just switching location can be enough to change your mood and outlook on work. Try getting some quality time away from the usual office distractions to complete key tasks on time.
- Leave work on time more regularly. If you stay late every day, you end up working increasingly unproductively as you begin to tire. Most jobs don't end on the dot, but make sure that every day doesn't add to your stress by regularly running over.
- Avoid social media. Although it can be great fun, social media tends to take up time which you can ill afford if you are stressed out at work. Keep social media to social hours and consider turning off your personal phone at busy times.
- Be considerate of your interests outside of work. Getting your work-life balance right is not just about making time for yourself, your family and friends. By doing so, you will also become less stressed at work thus helping you to work more efficiently in the long run.
- Talk to your boss. Most managers won't notice the amount of stress you are under until something blows. Don't leave things too late and snap as a result. Use informal meetings and one-to-one sessions to discuss your stress levels.
- Look at the bigger picture. Some stress in the workplace can be down to things that seem very important at the time. It is advisable to take a step back and think about matters with as much perspective as possible. Ask yourself whether something is as crucial as it seems.
- Delegate and share tasks. Many people are not good at handing responsibility for jobs on to others and prefer to do everything themselves. Try to accept that other people may do things differently, but are just as capable of doing a good job. Trust them a bit more.
- Get a good night's sleep. Proper rest is the key to de-stressing at work. If you lie awake worrying about something, make a note so you can come back to it rather than mulling it over. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon if you are not sleeping well.
- Leave for work a few minutes earlier. When commuting to work you can become completely stressed out before you even get there. Avoid this sort of frustration by leaving earlier, rushing less and going with the flow that little bit more.
- Avoid the perfectionist impulse. Stress can be self-induced if you are in the habit of finessing everything that you do in your job. Perfectionism is for certain high-value tasks only. For the rest do a professional job and move on.
Learning how to manage stress at work takes time, especially if you have been promoted or recently taken on more responsibility. Remember that you are not alone if you find this a struggle and that many employers want to offer a supportive environment that helps you to cope with any stress you feel.