Stress management can be tricky.
Many of us don’t realize just how stressed we are until we’re on the verge of burning out. And often, we’re in an environment which easily produces stress, like a workplace.
When we’re at work, usually we’re inundated in projects-in-progress, talks of upcoming projects, fears about missed deadlines, worries on how to communicate best in a professional setting, and on and on the list goes. It’s no wonder so many of us leave work feeling drained!
So this week, we’re talking about ways to help you de-stress when you’re feeling your stress levels rise at work, but as always, they’re not a replacement for further treatment. Stress is different for everyone, so these approaches may not all work for you, but through a little trial and error, you can find the best methods for your own stress management.
What are these workplace stress management tools? Here are six:
1). Map Out Your Day
Planning your day before jumping in can help you reduce stress that comes with the unknown. You don’t know what you need to do, you don’t know how long it will take you, you don’t know when you’ll have time for a new project, etc etc. But when you stay organized about your responsibilities, you can regain a sense of control. When you think of something that needs to be done, write it down! Assign it a priority; is it high priority, should be done asap? Or a low priority and can be done whenever there is a free moment? At the end of the day, start your list for the next day and revisit in the morning after checking your email and settling in. Then organize your tasks as best as you can so you have a better idea of exactly what your day is going to look like.
2). Stop Multitasking
It might feel like you’re achieving more, but really all multitasking does is split your attention & focus and decrease the quality of work on whatever projects you’re trying to get done at the same time. This leads to carelessness, hurried work, errors, etc. Instead, focus on one thing at a time and reduce the likelihood of having to squeeze time into your scheduling to redo work.
3). Schedule Breaks
Do you work through lunch? Don’t! Without breaks diving up our day, we are given 0 chances to rest, recharge, and jump back into more work at 100%. Instead we’re just chugging through, draining our energy more and more without replenishing it. While it may feel like you don’t have time for breaks, the quality of your work will improve if you give your mind and body regular times to renew themselves.
4). Prioritize Effective Communication
A major source of stress in the workplace is unclear communication. It leads to confusion, frustration, resentment, etc. So when you have questions about a project you’re working on, be sure to take the time to ask them instead of trying to charge through with your work on minimal understanding. You can set the precedent yourself; when you’re delegating to someone else, break your expectations down clearly so there is no confusion and allow them the opportunity to ask questions in return (including a simple “Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything further” in your emails can facilitate this!).
5). Track Frequent Stressors
Are certain things stressing you out time and time again? Keep track of what they are and brainstorm a few reasons on why they may be causing you such frequent, intense stress. Then see if you can schedule a time to talk to your supervisor, see if there is a creative solution to help you manage their expectations & your responsibilities without overloading on stress.
6). Establish Clear Boundaries
Are you always connected to work? Make sure you set some boundaries for yourself. Set a time of day where you can no longer take on additional projects for the day. Get comfortable saying “I can help with that but my plate is full right now, so it will have to wait until tomorrow.” Stop checking your email when you leave the office, etc. Letting your work life bleed into your home life will just make both stressful, so establishing (and communicating!) clear boundaries is a great way to keep that stress under control.
Need more help with stress management? Grief Recovery Center in Houston, TX can help. You can reach us at (832) 413-2410 or by filling out the form on our website. Take the time to speak with one of our licensed counselors today.