Does your job cause you to wake up with a serious case of the Mondays? Workplace stress is one of the most common contributors to anxiety and depression. Your work stress may be impacting your health, your relationships, and your sense of self-worth.
Maybe it’s time to make a few changes. Implementing these four tools will help you reduce harmful workplace stress in just one week. These tips will help you whether you’re 9-5 at a desk, 9-5 as a mom, working two waitressing gigs, or self-employed and making your own schedule. They’ll even help you use work stress to your benefit, rather than at your own expense.
The Four Vital Tools for a Professional “Stresser”
1. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can. Your brain is your most powerful tool against harmful work stress. For example, rather than being stuck ruminating over the person who just won’t listen to your ideas, focus on strengthening your connections with people around you whom you find to be productive, collaborative and supportive.
For another example, find something calming within your day – like an hour in the afternoon where you listen to your favorite album while looking over spreadsheets. Overtime, we program our brains to anticipate work stress. It’s time to reprogram.
2. Prioritize “important” over “urgent.” If you constantly jump around to the new, most “urgent” email or task, your head will be spinning in no time. If you’re not careful, you may become addicted to this high-intensity level of work stress. Channel your stress to work FOR you, not against you, by identifying what tasks are most important and allowing the stress to release once these are completed first. You’ll be amazed to see that urgent things will get accomplished to.
This may require some brave boundary setting when you know that someone may not like waiting an extra 30 minutes – or an extra day. But it will feel better to trust your own judgement, and at the end of the day, it will feel excellent that those important things were accomplished. Work stress will become less of a burden and more within your control.
3. Make time for breaks to reduce workplace stress. Take breaks when you plan for them, NOT when you’re bored, overwhelmed, or avoiding a task. That’s not a real break, that a procrastination stress-fest. And it won’t rejuvenate you like a healthy break will.
Commit to a 5-15 minute breather or walk around the block at a time of your choice, every day – even if that “one little thing” isn’t done. Because there will always be one more little thing. A healthy-break-habit will prove to you that you can survive work stress and take the day one step at a time. You’ll be surprised at how much more focused your brain can be when you practice letting it truly rest.
4. Commit to problem solving your career or job issues at a time when you are the least stressed. Why? Your brain will be more clear, and you’ll feel great once you’ve set something up to help yourself later when times are tough. If you only think about what to do about your future when you’re feeling down, you’ll feel much more stuck.
The same thing goes for job searching – don’t hop on a job search website after a rough day. You’ll only feel more discouraged when a new opportunity doesn’t immediately present itself. Even if you don’t plan to leave your job, occasionally searching through the options on a day when you’re feeling comfortable enough in your current position will help you keep a balanced perspective on what’s out there.
After a hard day, just focus on doing something separate from work that rejuvenates you – like connecting with a friend or loved one, taking a long bath, or reading a good book.
If workplace stress is overflowing into your personal life, don’t waste any more time before learning to implement these tools. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to seek out assistance from a professional that specializes in anxiety and stress reduction. You can design a stress reduction plan just for you.
Contact me with any questions you have about work stress. I offer a free phone consultation.