Job and workplace stress is one of the biggest sources of stress in today’s world. More than 32 percent of Americans cite workplace stress as one of the main stressors in their lives. And that stress extends far beyond the office; the stress from a job can affect personal or professional relationships. It can also impact health. In fact, work-related stresses increase your risk of heart disease. But you don’t have to suffer endlessly because of this stress. Here, a few steps you can take to make work healthier for you.
Figure out what stresses you out
Keep a stress journal for a week. Record what events or people increased your stress level. Note how each situation made you feel, how you responded, and what you wish were different. Then review your journal after several days. What is one stressor you think you can change? Maybe it’s how you react to last-minute deadlines or how you respond when a colleague is late with something. Make that stressor a priority—brainstorm ways it could be resolved differently; decide on a game plan for change; then implement it. If that tactic doesn’t work, try another until you’ve found a strategy that works for you.
Be a better steward of the clock
Swamped. Overloaded. Overwhelmed. Drowning in papers. We’ve all been there, and it’s not a great place to be. To the extent you control your daily schedule, make your workload work for you. Time-management skills are vital to planning, prioritizing, and completing tasks. Set hourly or daily goals, but be realistic. If there’s no way you will complete a project in two days, do not push yourself. If, in the end, you’re left with some extra time after completing your project, consider it a few spare moments you can catch up on email or get ahead on your next task.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It can be nerve-racking to ask your boss or colleague for help, but if it keeps you from getting behind or making costly errors, it’s absolutely worthwhile to muster up the courage and ask. They might have valuable insight or information that can help you do your job better and faster. In many cases, people will often respect you more for opening up and making your stress known.
Give yourself adequate breaks
There is a lot to be said for 15-minute breaks. When you allow yourself to walk away from your desk for a moment, you clear your brain, and refresh your internal work batteries. Just don’t reach for a cigarette while you’re taking a break. Nicotine acts similarly to stress on your body, keeping it in a tense state. Instead, take a brisk walk around the block.
Move when you can
Desperate for a quick pick-me-up? Think a cup of coffee is just what the doctor ordered? Not so fast. Research shows coffee or caffeine isn’t the best source of energy. Instead, take a quick walk outside. The natural scenery gives you a boost of energy as does the exercise. In fact, ten minutes of exercise three times a day is just as beneficial as one thirty-minute session.