How to Keep Work Stress from Taking Over Your Life

We are all susceptible to the effects of work-related stress. Anyone can become stressed out by emails, Slack messages, ringing phones, and coworkers dropping by for spontaneous meetings.

It’s normal to have some tension, especially when a deadline or difficult job is approaching. But if work stress persists, it may have an adverse effect on both your physical and emotional health.

Even if you enjoy your job, work stress is inevitable. However, there are things you can do to reduce workplace stress.

1. Recognize its effects on you.

Although it may seem extremely straightforward, it’s possible to overlook the impact stress has on you. By the end of the day, pay attention if you feel emotionally spent and pessimistic.

Unmanaged stress can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health over time, and current study (Trusted Source) indicates that there may be a connection between work-related burnout and depression and anxiety.

Signs of stress

Here’s a look at some of the subtler signs of stress:

  • low energy or fatigue
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • changes in appetite
  • digestive issues
  • rapid heart rate
  • sweating
  • low self-esteem
  • loss of sex drive
  • frequent illnesses

2. Make a list of your stressors.

You can better grasp what’s upsetting you by recognising and documenting stressful situations. Some of them, like an uncomfortable office or a lengthy commute, might be quiet sources of strain.

For a week, keep a journal to record your stressors and your responses to them. Include the people, places, and things that caused a bodily, mental, or emotional reaction in your list.

As you write, ask yourself:

  • How did this make me feel? (Afraid, angry, hurt?)
  • What was my reaction? (Did I visit the vending machine afterward or go for a walk?)
  • What are some ways of resolving it? (How can I find solutions to this stressor?)

3. Give yourself some rest.

Burnout can be avoided by scheduling even a brief period of personal time throughout a busy day.

You can unwind during the day by watching a hilarious YouTube video or listening to an engaging podcast between meetings.

Additionally, it’s crucial to take breaks from work-related thoughts by not checking work-related emails on your time off and putting your phone away in the evenings.

4. Improve time management abilities.

How organised you are can have an impact on whether or not you feel overburdened by work. Consider creating a priority list at the start of your work week by organising your responsibilities and prioritising them.

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5. Maintain a healthy work-life balance

Being accessible all the time will quickly wear you out. To help you prevent potential stress, it’s crucial to establish clear boundaries between your job and home lives.

Setting aside time for socialising and creating guidelines for when to check emails or answer the phone are both parts of this.

6. Reconsider unfavourable ideas

When you’ve been dealing with worry and chronic stress for a while, your mind may have a tendency to draw negative conclusions and interpret everything negatively.

For instance, you might assume “they’re upset at me” if your boss doesn’t greet you when you arrive at work.

Try separating yourself from your negative ideas and simply observing rather than jumping to conclusions.

7. Count on a solid network of allies.

To cope with tough job situations, stay in touch with close friends and family.

Try asking parent friends if they can assist out with carpooling your kids to school on specific days if you’re having a particularly difficult work week.

Some of the tension can be released by having friends you can turn to in difficult times.

8. Look after yourself

If you frequently feel stressed out by work, you must schedule time for self-care. This entails giving sleep top priority, scheduling leisure activities, and ensuring that you eat regularly throughout the day.

Remember that when your basic requirements are being satisfied, you’ll probably be able to handle work-related challenges better.

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9. Acquire relaxing skills

You may maintain your calm throughout the week by deliberately slowing down and being aware of your surroundings.

Your anxiety can be reduced by practising awareness, deep breathing, and meditation.

Start by setting out a brief period of time each day to concentrate on being present and appreciating a straightforward activity, such as taking a quick stroll in the park or enjoying a meal at your desk.

Make it a habit

Here are a few other ways to build mindfulness into your daily routine:

  • Pause for a few moments before starting your workday and set your intention.
  • Download a meditation app you can use when feeling excessive pressure at work or during your commute.
  • Schedule in a 5-minute break to try breathing exercises.

10. Avoid engaging in office gossip.

Conflict at work can have a very negative impact on your emotional health. Try to stay away from situations where gossip is prevalent.

Find a means to spend less time with them or change the topic of conversation if you are aware of a coworker’s propensity for gossip.

Some other strategies for staying out of the fray include:

  • emphasizing the positive (“Tom has been juggling a lot lately and handling it really well.”)
  • ignoring the conversation and changing the subject to something unrelated
  • walking away (“Sorry, I have a huge deadline due after lunch and can’t stay and chat.”)

11. Give up trying to be flawless

It might be time to sit back and think things through if you need to perfect that presentation or find yourself working extra hours on a paper you finished days ago.

While there are certain advantages to perfectionism, it may also be quite demanding and cause burnout.

Focusing on the effort you put into a project and avoiding taking failure personally when you make a mistake will help you keep your high standards in check.

12. Take a trip

Being able to “switch off” from obligations and work-related tasks might help you unwind and relax unlike anything else.

Additionally, you don’t need to fly halfway around the world. You can still recharge with a short holiday or staycation away from work.

13. Speak with your manager

Having your boss’s support can greatly reduce feelings of burnout.

Set aside some quiet time to speak with them how you feel overwhelmed by difficult chores. Instead than launching into a litany of grievances, start the conversation by trying to solve a problem.

For instance, you can mention that you feel a little overwhelmed at the moment and would like to review what is expected of you outside of work hours. The goal is to come up with a solution that eases tension.

Reach out to a member of your company’s human resources department if this work seems overwhelming or you don’t get along with your boss (if available). They can give you conversational guidance and troubleshooting advice.

14. Consult a counsellor

You can try counselling even if you don’t have a mental health issue. Reaching out for more assistance and support when feeling overburdened at work is quite appropriate.

Working with a therapist can help you more clearly pinpoint the causes of your work stress and develop strategies for coping with them. They can also assist you in creating techniques for unwinding and caring for oneself.

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