“Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work”~ Horace
As you have probably discovered, your work can trigger all sorts of stress reactions in you. These can run the full gamut from minor annoyances to heart attacks. On the job stress is a major cause of many of our mental and physical ailments. Are you suffering the consequences of work place stress?
Questions to consider:
- Do you often find yourself feeling annoyed with your supervisor or co-workers? Everyone gets annoyed periodically, but are you finding that its most of the time you are at work? Are you just one comment away from an explosion or a melt-down?
- Have you been searching for excuses to be late to work or to stay home more often?
- Do you get an upset stomach or a headache within in an hour or so of getting to work?
- Are you having trouble focusing on your work projects because your emotions are flaring up over a work incident?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re probably experiencing some job-related stress. The good news is that if you are proactive about managing your work stress level, you will feel much less cranked-up and cranky, and enjoy more success at work.
Strategies to deal with job stress:
1. It’s your job, not your life. Remind yourself, “it’s just work.” This may sound bad on the surface, but you must maintain a healthy perspective between what is work and what is life. There will be times when you have a difference of opinion with your co-workers or your boss. Consider it a creative disagreement and move on.
2. Learn to recognize the things that you can control at the office. By the same token, let go of trying to “fix” the things you’re not able to control. Your work life will become much lighter and brighter when you can differentiate between the tow and acknowledge this.
3. Change what you can. Work through “resolvable” issues immediately. Rather than letting issues fester and grow, if it’s within your power to negotiate a resolution, do it as soon as you can. Otherwise go back to #1 and #2.
4. Ask for help. When you feel overwhelmed, ask for assistance or guidance. Everyone occasionally experiences work struggles. In nearly every situation it is appropriate and wise to ask for help at work.
5. Prioritize. Establish your work priorities, and then methodically work to complete your projects. If it seems like a long list, make a list of your tasks in the order of their priority. Start at the top of the list and work your way down, crossing off tasks as you go.
If you have any questions regarding which tasks or projects are important to complete first, proceed directly to your supervisor and ask. Avoid excess job stress by seeking guidance if and as you need it.
6. Review. Silently review all the reasons you do the work you do. Re-connect emotionally with all the positives you love about your work. These realities about your career are usually far more important than the things that stress you out.
7. Avoid drama. Vow to avoid drama at work. Refrain from allowing yourself to generate too many over-the-top feelings at or about work. After all, it’s a place of business. It’s best to use tact, neutrality and diplomacy when dealing with your co-workers. Your chances of experiencing work stress will be drastically reduced.
8. Walk. Take a brisk 15 minute walk when you go home. There’s nothing like a walk to clear out the stress from your work day. Tell yourself that by the time you get back to your home, you will be thinking about what you’ll have for dinner. Walking after work is a great habit to develop for many reasons.
9. Visualize. Use visual imagery techniques to let go of those minor annoyances and frustrations.
Here is one technique you can try: Imagine your stress as a big red ball. You throw it into the ocean and watch it bob away on the waves. Say “Goodbye” as the ball is completely submerged far off in the distance.
10. Soothe yourself. Soothe yourself after you arrive home. Snuggle up in your favorite blanket on the sofa and read a book for a bit. Call a relative or a friend to chat. When you soothe yourself, you are showing you know how to take care of your own troublesome feelings. And, you are boosting your self respect.
11. Journal. Journal your feelings about work. When you write down your irritations and sources of stress, you can psychologically release the negative feelings you experience.
12. Center. Practice yoga or meditation to de-stress. The eastern philosophies of yoga and meditation soothe the souls of millions of people the world over. You’ll be surprised at how effective these methods are at eliminating your stress and keeping you more centered and relaxed.
Work stress is an unfortunate result of the human condition. Everyone deals with it periodically. Practice these methods to remain optimistic and keep your work stress at manageable levels. You’ll rediscover the passion you have for your career!