Work and stress go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Is work overwhelming? Do you dread going to work? Is the transition to remote work just not working? Stress at work can carry over into your life outside of work as well.
Since we can’t just quit, how can we manage work stress? We’ve got some tips.
- Set boundaries: Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves as individuals in relationships. Setting and sustaining boundaries at work is a skill that many of us don’t practice. By setting clear and firm boundaries of when you are available, how much you can take on, etc., you are giving your coworkers and superiors clear guidelines as to your expectations and theirs. More on setting healthy boundaries.
- Pay attention to stressors: Keep a journal where you document all the things that stress you out at work in a week. Write down where you were, what caused the stress, who was involved, how you reacted. Do you see any trends? Are there things you can do to avoid certain scenarios or people? Or are there things you can do to respond in a healthier way?
- Build healthy habits: Moving your body, drinking enough water and eating healthy foods can better prepare you to handle stress when it comes up. Set yourself up for success by eating regular, healthy meals and keeping water on hand to hydrate throughout the day. If you can. Take breaks during the day to move your body. Simply going for a short 10 minute walk or stepping away from your desk to stretch can work wonders.
- Rest and recharge: Nowadays we are constantly connected. That means we can technically be available all the time. But it is so important to take time away from work to rest and recharge. Not only will that reduce work stress, it will help you come back from a weekend or day off ready to tackle work.
- Focus on one task at a time: Multitasking may sound productive, but it actually has the opposite effect and can lead to more stress. When you are juggling several tasks at once, you can feel overwhelmed and anxious. Instead of bouncing from task to task, try focusing on one task at a time all the way to completion. Then move on to the next. You will be more efficient and less stressed. That’s a win-win.
- Learn relaxation techniques: Finding a relaxation technique that works for you can be helpful to reduce stress and help you better cope with stressful situations. Meditation, deep breathing and muscle relaxation are some of our favorites. Here are 9 relaxation techniques to try. Find the ones that work best for you.
- Avoid too much caffeine: I know, I know. Coffee. I love coffee. But did you know that caffeine stimulates the release of stress hormones which can amplify your response to stress, making it worse? So on those days where there is just “so much to do” don’t reach for more coffee to keep you going. Try a relaxation technique or stepping away and going for a walk to regroup and clear your head.
- Talk to someone: If you are struggling with how to deal with a person or situation at work that continues to cause you stress and anxiety, it may help to talk to someone. A counselor or therapist can help with specific strategies for communicating with coworkers or stressful situations.
- Move your body. Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress, clear your head, and fill your body with endorphins to help boost your mood.
- Write down your thoughts and feelings. Grab a journal, a piece of paper, or the notes app on your phone and write down how you are feeling, what is stressing you out. Sometimes just getting your feelings out can help them feel less overwhelming.
- Organize or clean a room in your house or office. By focusing on a simple task like cleaning the bathroom or organizing the pantry, it allows your mind to shift its focus to something different than the stress. Also, a clean, organized physical space can be beneficial to your mental clutter as well, providing a sense of calm and accomplishment.
- Step away from social media. There is so much noise on social media. So many updates and negativity that it can weigh on your mind without you even realizing it. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take some time to step away and disconnect from those external messages and triggers and see what happens.
- Spend time outside. Fresh air, sun, Vitamin D all work wonders for getting out of the spin cycle, resetting and reminding yourself about the simple things we often take for granted.
- Try a “grounding” exercise. Stop and look around you. Find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste. This can help you when you feel like you have lost all control of your surroundings.
- Try muscle relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation can help you reset and relax when you feel stressed or overwhelmed. Start by tensing your muscle groups one at a time. Then, release the tension of these muscle groups one at a time. Pay attention to each individual muscle as you tense and relax it.
- Meditate. Meditation is such a great tool. Close your eyes, practice your breathing and let your mind fall silent. The quieting of your mind for just 60-seconds can have a profound effect on the rest of your day. There are also great guided meditations you can find online and apps you can download like Calm. See some of our favorite mental health apps and resources.
- Deep Breathing. controlling your breathing is a great way to cope when you feel like you are spinning and are stressed and overwhelmed. Here’s how it works: take a slow breath in through your nose, hold it for a couple of seconds, and then exhale and repeat. You can do this while standing, sitting, or laying down.
- Seek help. Please know that if the steps you’ve taken to manage stress aren’t working, it may be time to share with your mental health professional to pinpoint specific events that trigger you and help you create an action plan to change them.
Remember that everyone needs a little help sometimes. Whether for yourself, for your child, or for your relationship, there are seasons where it’s best to seek outside help. We are here for you. We help people like you.
Whenever you’re ready, here are ways we can help:
- Schedule an appointment – Schedule Now
- Try virtual counseling from home – Learn about telehealth
- Text WECARE to 474747 and our Client Care Coordinator will reach out
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