How to Handle Stress at Work

Work—you do it to live or live to do it. Either way, it can get the best of you both mentally and physically. You’ve all been there at one point in your lives—the fear of being laid off, taking on more tasks and responsibilities without being fully compensated, pressured into performing at high levels with no recognition, and for many at one point in your careers, a feeling of being unappreciated, overworked and stressed beyond words.

So what do you do? Do you suck it up, drive on and continue to be stressed out OR do you find ways to alleviate the everyday pressures and develop strategies to overcome the worry and anxiety? The answer is the latter of the two. When stress goes from acute to chronic, it affects your body and mind and also personal and business relationships. It also affects your productivity, your passion, and your overall drive.

In a study conducted by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful, while 25% viewed their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. This is not how you should be living. And in a subsequent survey, 29% had yelled at co-workers because of workplace stress, 14% said they work where machinery or equipment has been damaged because of workplace rage, and 2% admitted that they had actually personally struck someone. When you read these statistics, it’s not hard to reflect back on a time when you either experienced a freak-out moment on the job or saw a co-worker “losing it.” So what can you all do as employees, more importantly, as human beings, to live a less stressful life at work?

First, you need to become aware of what it is that is actually agitating you. Is it a fellow co-worker? Could it be your boss/manager/owner? Or are you bringing your personal life stress into work with you? Whatever it is you need to take responsibility, address it and remedy the situation. Are you having trouble communicating with others? Are you having a hard time with being on time or managing your time? Once you pinpoint exactly what it is, it will make for its removal more effective.

And while you’re working on that, you still need to feel better and move forward. You can’t continue to feel heavy-chested, have tension headaches, live in constant worry, and physically feel ill and eventually become ill. So here are some quick ways for you to “check out” of the stress and “check in” to feeling better before, during and after a stressful day on the job:

  • Take a deep breath. No really, inhale deeply. Now slowly count to 10 as you exhale. Repeat this 3-4 times. If your tension has not subsided, then let’s try a few more things.
  • Drink some water & eat a snack. Sometimes getting a break is unheard of, but when you’re feeling stressed or feeling a heightened level of anxiety, it may be because you’re dehydrated or your blood sugar is low. It may not be stress or anxiety—your body may be signaling to you that it needs nourishment to keep going.
  • Take it out back. One of the quickest ways to feel stressed is to be around it. It’s the domino effect. When one person is stressed it is not uncommon for others to get all riled up. Either remove yourself from the situation or have it relocated behind closed doors or outside the building.
  • Get more sleep. If you don’t allow your mind and your body to rest, then you’re going to be more inclined to let the little things get to you quicker than they should. Sleep deprivation is a stress trigger.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Just breathe.
  • Don’t get hungry or dehydrated.
  • Prevent a domino effect.
  • Stay out of and away from drama.
  • Get some rest.

And let’s not forget one very important thing: it doesn’t take a ton of products, devices and gadgets to feel less stressed. It takes control and getting a grasp on life. You can read more about that in this You Don’t Need Shit To Relax article, HERE.


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