Coping With Stress At Work
Working hard should not be confused with overworking at the expense of relationships and physical health.
Coping with stress at work.
Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short-term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfill a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelmingand harmful to both physical and emotional health.
Unfortunately, such long-term stress is all too common. In fact, has consistently found that work is cited as a significant source of stress by a majority of Americans. You cant always avoid the tensions that occur on the job. Yet you can take steps to manage work-related stress.
Talk To A Mental Health Professional
Feeling anxious all the time can be a sign of a mental health issue like depression. If your anxiety becomes excessive and difficult to manage, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional, or contact a mental health professional directly. Talking with a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist who can treat the underlying issue may help you feel better.
Make Time For Friends
Lets be honest here: Parenting can be exhausting. Sometimes a good old-fashioned girls or boys night is the perfect antidote for feeling stressed out by kids, work and household duties.
My girlfriends and I have a monthly standing Friday night date, where we leave the kids with our partners or sitters and head out for a night of fun, says mom of two Nicole Schultz of Scarsdale, New York. I swear, I can be super stressed out or in the worst mood, but as soon as I get out of my house and we get together, were laughing for three hours straight. I always come home revitalized and feeling recharged, even if its a late night!
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Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
Improving Your Ability To Handle Stress
Get moving. Upping your activity level is one tactic you can employ right now to help relieve stress and start to feel better. Regular exercise can lift your mood and serve as a distraction from worries, allowing you to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and dancing are particularly effective, especially if you exercise mindfully .
Connect to others. The simple act of talking face-to-face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve stress when youre feeling agitated or insecure. Even just a brief exchange of kind words or a friendly look from another human being can help calm and soothe your nervous system. So, spend time with people who improve your mood and dont let your responsibilities keep you from having a social life. If you dont have any close relationships, or your relationships are the source of your stress, make it a priority to build stronger and more satisfying connections.
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Offer Yourself Forgiveness And Compassion
Just like the forgiveness you might offer someone who wronged you, self-forgiveness allows you to let go of past events and move forward.
So, instead of giving yourself a hard time, tell yourself its all right:
Waiting to do that project didnt turn out so well, but its OK to make mistakes. Now I know what not to do next time.
Self-compassion can also go a long way toward easing the harsh criticism and self-blame that tend to trail in procrastinations wake.
Instead of focusing on how you messed up , offer yourself some words of comfort.
If it helps, consider what you might say to a friend:
- It sounds like youre struggling right now, but I can tell youre doing your best.
- That assignment sounds really stressful. I know you want to do the best work possible, but its just a first draft, right? You can always improve on it later if your team has any suggestions.
Dont you deserve that same kindness?
Identify Your Personal Stress Triggers
We all have particular situations or people that make us more stressed. Some of these are easily identifiable and may be avoidable. However, sometimes stress may build up over time, and result from a pattern of incidents or events, rather than a single trigger.
This will make it easier to take action to address your stress levels.
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Here Are Some Stress Relievers:
Engage In Diaphragmatic Breathing
You can use this information to think about how to respond verbally or behaviorally. She recommends using diaphragmatic breathing and pranayama, which is alternative breathing or the practice of breath control.
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Effects Of Job Stress
Seventy-two percent of people who have daily stress report that it interferes with their lives. Thirty percent of respondents say they have taken medication to manage their anxiety and related problems like nervousness and sleep disorders .
Job stress can lead to chronic health problems like cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychological disorders, according to The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health , a division of The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you catch symptoms early, you can resolve problems before they lead to more severe consequences.
NIOSH points out that some of the early warning signs to look for are job dissatisfaction, sleep disturbances, headache, trouble concentrating, a short temper, an upset stomach, and poor morale. Also be aware of a change in personal relationships, increased use of drugs or alcohol, and teeth grinding.
The ADAA’s Workplace Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey found that workplace stress can also cause problems on the job. Individuals who suffer from it report problems with job performance, work quality, and relationships with coworkers and superiors.
Develop Techniques That Will Help You To Feel In Control Of Your Life
There is plenty of research that suggests that the single factor that causes most stress is feeling out of control.
One way that you can help yourself to avoid stress is to develop techniques to help you solve problems and make decisions more easily.
For example, one problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place.
There is more about this and other techniques in our series of pages on Problem-Solving and Decision-Making.
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Do One Thing Each Day That Brings You Joy
When youre feeling anxious and want to take your mind off the stressor, Lagoy says to carve out time to do the things you love, whether that is riding a bike, reading a book, painting, or catching up with friends.
Regular exercise can help prevent or alleviate anxiety, as well as learning techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or practicing mindfulness, Lagoy said.
Create A Spa In Your Bathroom
I dont care if your bathroom is falling apart with black sludge dripping from the ceiling .
You can still create a spa in your bathroom.
Fill up the tub, light some candles, and turn the lights off and just soak and sit.
Do a face mask, put in your favorite smell into a bath bomb, whatever you need to do.
Close the door behind you and pretend youve stepped into a spa at a fancy hotel and dont come out until youre feeling relaxed and ready to take on the world again.
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Create Obstacles And Rewards
If you tend to pick up your phone when youre supposed to be working, turn off your phone and put it somewhere out of sight before you get started with the day.
Make sure to reward yourself for your efforts, too. After you get a good chunk of work done, take a break to watch a funny video, catch up with your friends, or swap selfies with your partner.
Thinking in terms of rewards rather than punishments can help you encourage yourself, too.
- Instead of: If I dont work out tonight, I cant watch the next episode of Lucifer.’
- Try: Ill go for a jog after work, and then Ill watch an episode of Lucifer before bed.
If youre a long-time procrastinator, breaking the habit may require a little extra support.
Connecting with a therapist may be a good next step when procrastination:
- affects your performance at school or work
- creates problems in your personal relationships
- leads to feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, or makes existing symptoms worse
A therapist can help you identify and explore possible emotional triggers. They can also provide more insight into any underlying mental health concerns contributing to procrastination.
Tip : Practice The 4 As Of Stress Management
While stress is an automatic response from your nervous system, some stressors arise at predictable times: your commute to work, a meeting with your boss, or family gatherings, for example. When handling such predictable stressors, you can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose in any given scenario, its helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
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Do A Mental Scan Of Your Body
Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder of meditation app Headspace, told Entrepreneur that if you’re stressed, shut your eyes and for 30 seconds, do a mental scan of your body, from the top of your head to your feet. “By shifting the focus to physical senses, you are stepping out of the thinking mind and bringing the mind into the body, which immediately has a calming effect,” he said.
Drown Your Troubles In A Bottle
Alcohol is rarely a good answer to your woes. You cant run away from your problems by forgetting them through a booze-induced blackout. The stress will still be there in the morning, along with nausea, a headache, and the sinking feeling that you did something youre glad you dont remember. This goes for drugs and over-eating too. Just say no.
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Procrastination And Emotional Regulation
Research suggests that procrastination often relates to your mood and emotional mindset.
In other words, procrastination doesnt happen because youre lazy and unproductive or dont know how to do something . It happens because you dread the emotional distress you foresee.
Maybe you already experienced this irritation and frustration firsthand and dont want a repeat. But you could also have some preconceived ideas about how awful and difficult that chore or assignment will turn out to be.
Either way, you set the task aside, promising yourself to handle it later when you feel better able to manage those feelings.
Sometimes, its easy to see where the distress comes from:
- You put off a quick phone call to schedule your dental check-up, because youre certain you have a cavity or two and feel anxious about facing an afternoon of drilling.
- You avoid calling your sister after an argument, because you know you need to admit you were wrong and apologize.
You might have a harder time pinning down other sources of emotional distress, especially when they relate to ongoing or deeper-seated sources of emotional turmoil.
How Can I Better Cope With Emotional Stress
There are many techniques that can be tried to help you better manage your emotional stress. Try one or more of the following:
Take some time to relax: Take some time to care for yourself. Even if you can devote only five to 15 minutes a few times a day to relax, take a break from reality. What activity helps you relax? Some ideas include:
- Read a book.
- Take a walk. Practice yoga.
- Listen to music, sing along to a song or dance to music.
- Enjoy a soothing bath.
- Sit in silence with your eyes closed.
- Light a scented candle.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is learning how to focus your attention and become more aware. You can learn to feel the physical changes in your body that happen in response to your changing emotions. Understanding this mind-body connection is the first step in learning how to better manage your stress and how emotions affect your body. Mindfulness can also help you focus your mind on the immediate what can I do to bring my mind and body to a place of calmness. If you can figure out what helps you feel more calm and relaxed in that moment, you know youve figured out one of your stress triggers and what works to manage it.
Distract your mind and focus on something else: Focus your mind on something other than whats causing your stress. Do something fun. Watch a funny movie, play a game, engage in a favorite hobby . Volunteer for an activity to help others. Do something with people you enjoy.
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What Else Can I Do To Help Myself Better Manage Emotional Stress
In terms of your general health, which affects your ability to manage and cope with stress, you need to take care of yourself the best that you can.
- Get quality sleep. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Relax before bedtime with a soothing bath, some reading time or warm cup of chamomile tea. Learn other ways to sleep better.
- Maintain a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Connect with others. Keep in touch with people who can help support you, both practically and emotionally. Ask for help from family, friends or religious or community groups you are associated with.
Make Major Life Decisions
Good life decisions rarely come from rash actions. While packing up all your belongings and running away to Madagascar may seem like a dandy idea at the time, youll regret it later. The only exception to this is making decisions that directly impact your stress level, like taking a new job or ending a toxic relationship.
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What To Say To Someone Whos Stressed During A Tragedy
Tragedy strikes often at unexpected times, leaving people struggling to pick up the pieces. Its not always easy to sympathize during times like these, especially if you havent experienced a tragedy of your own. However, you should still support them through these messages.
1. Im so sorry for your loss.
If youre not very close to the individual, this is the best way to let them know youre thinking of them. Not everyone knows how to console someone, but you can still say something helpful.
2. Is there anything I can do to help?
If youre closer to the individual who experienced a tragedy, ask how you can help. They might not need you, but its still nice to know youre willing and able. However, make sure youre willing to follow through before you offer.
3. Do you need to talk about it?
While your loved one might not be willing or ready to talk about their particular tragedy, it never hurts to ask. Having an option to talk through your feelings and experience with someone you trust does wonder in times of need. Dont be offended by their answer, just be prepared to listen if you need to.
4. Im here for you during this difficult time.
Even if you cant take away their pain, you can still be there for them while theyre facing a crisis. This is a kind way to say youre sorry for their loss without going too in-depth into your own feelings.