29 Jan Tips to Handle Work Stress
Stress is a normal part of life. As we face everyday challenges, it enables us to deal with difficulties and even danger in our fight or flight response through the release of cortisol and adrenaline.
Stress in the workplace can vary from effects of the recession and problems in the economy to company restructures, dealing with complex projects, negotiating with difficult clients and simply meeting deadlines. If you suffer from tension headaches, stomach problems, have trouble concentrating and prioritising, feel lethargic, and constantly irritated – you may be suffering from symptoms of stress.
The better you manage your own stress, the more positive you will be in handling work challenges, improve your working and personal relationships, and boost your own mental and physical health. You can beat stress – as Heather Wright says “Control the controllables.” Here are some tips to help you manage the controllables:
Organise and prioritise
Write down your goals for each day and prioritise the most important tasks, so that you know you will meet your deadlines and be prepared for presentations and meetings in good time. Tackle those difficult tasks first, so you are not wasting energy worrying about them over the day.
Remember when organising your schedule to set manageable targets for achievement. Give yourself time for reflection and actions following important meetings, and consider the learning points as you go.
Take a break
Many individuals feel the need to show how hard they are working to their manager and colleagues, however, it is vital for your wellbeing to take time away from a desk. If you have a sedentary job, make time to stretch, get moving and have space to think. Build in break times to take a walk and eat a healthy snack or lunch, and drink water to keep hydrated. A break from your desk can also give you time to focus and inspire creativity.
Avoid unnecessary conflict
When you do feel stressed, you feel irritable and more anxious and other people’s habits can annoy you. You may genuinely need to deal with conflict in a situation at work as part of a project, sales deal, or future plans, but you also can “let go” of other minor challenges. Ultimately it’s your choice to choose your battles – pick wisely!
If you struggle with conflict and handling difficult conversations, consider working on building up your empathy and communication skills, so that you perform more effectively thus relieving your stress. Advance Performance has designed a specific workshop to help people improve these techniques.
Really connect with your colleagues
We spend much of our lives at work. If you do not bond with your colleagues you can become isolated, heightening your negativity and stress symptoms. Remember to offer your support to your work colleagues and ask about their weekends and holidays and join in when there is a social event. If your organisation doesn’t organise social events, suggest a team trip one evening to help to break down social barriers.
Share your problems
A problem shared with a supportive and empathetic colleague can be a great stress reliever to let off steam. Another person can have a different point of view to help you clarify a problem and work out a solution.
Visualise your success
As you are planning for a meeting, a difficult conversation or presentation, take time to visualise your successful completion of the task. Remember your posture, think about your words and how you will react to any challenges and visualise the successful solution. Writing down your affirmations of a successful outcome will help perform the task at your best.
Use your positive triggers
Positive triggers are a direct boost for your attitude and mood. Listening to a favourite song can immediately bring joy and a smile, a positive mantra on your desk can help focus your attitude, a favourite photograph can relive happy memories and a token from a previous success can remind you of your capabilities and potential. Use your positive triggers to boost your mood and attitude as a positive mechanism to beat stress and help you get through difficult situations.
Control the controllables – and let go of the uncontrollables! Remember you and only you are in charge of your attitude and your behaviour. Learn to manage the stresses in your workplace to enable you to perform your best in your career.
Image by Jean Pierre Gallot – licenced to reuse