Let’s face it: stress is a normal feeling we are all too familiar with both in and out of the workplace. Because we spend the majority of our time at work, getting a handle on a work-related stress can change one’s overall quality of life. Many assume stress only comes when you are unhappy at work but no, a job can have stressful elements, even when you love what you do!
Stress can be caused by many factors, including work overload, long hours, increased pressure, big events, feeling lack of support, incompatible management styles, and much, much, more. High stress in the workplace can lead to poor decision making, increases in mistakes (which will cause even more stress), increased absences, poor eating habits, high staff turnover, increased chance of skipping the gym, and poor workplace relations.
Learning how to better manage your stress even just a little bit can make you happier both at work and home, as well as be more efficient and prevent burnout on the job. Easier said than done, right?
Ways to Manage Stress
- Re-connect to your why. This might sound like a cookie cutter answer, but remind yourself why you love your job is a good question to reflect on, on a regular basis. It keeps you aligned with your own mission and hopefully, the organization’s as well. Sometimes stress can push us off track. We need a reminder of our own bigger picture.
- Be mindful of passing on your “vibe.” Be mindful of “oversharing” when something is going wrong.. Get it off your chest and then start thinking of solutions. We can commonly share our stressful “vibe” onto others. That’s not cool either. !
- Feed your stress with the good stuff (literally). Skipping meals, overeating or choosing unhealthy foods during a stressful time are common effects of stress. Unfortunately, they add to the problem. . DO yourself the favor and put good fuel in your body to handle stress rather than put your body through more stress by making bad choices. Preparing meals at home will prevent you from skipping meals and picking unhealthy lunch/snack options while at work.
Tip: Making healthy changes can be challenging at work, especially when you are stressed. However, in a world full of things you can’t control, controlling what you eat can bring a great sense of accomplishment and well-being. Don’t believe me – TRY!
- Be on your “A” game. In order to get ahead of stress, you need to be at your best! This means: planning ahead, seeing patterns, and preparing yourself and your team. Being reactive is a big cause of stress. Try to be proactive and prepared instead. Take time at the end of the week to prepare for what you can control for the following week. When the “uncontrollable” events occur,, you are not thrown off completely and are able to pivot rather than fall.
- Let go of what you cannot control. You will constantly face obstacles that you cannot control. When under a great deal of stress, make a list of what is stressing you out. Put your list in two columns: those you can control and those you can not. Conquer the side you can control, not just for the problem at hand but to avoid seeing them on the list again next time.
- Just keep on swimming. Whatever you do, just keep moving! The brain loves when you are active ( it actually works better when you increase activity). Take activity breaks such as 5-minutes walks or 1-min stretches. Be mindful in these moments. Consider not taking your phone. Just be with yourself for that time. We can’t always unplug for long durations but studies show even a few minutes every day can go a long way.
- Find your go-to de-stressor. Some people go to the gym while others enjoy a glass of wine. Many treat themselves with comfort food. Find a healthy de-stressor…why? If you are always stressed then you have an excuse to keep doing unhealthy things. Whether it’s 5-minute meditation, writing down your stresses, taking a walk, hitting the gym, dancing, playing with your kids, venting to your significant other, cooking dinner, cleaning or throwing darts, pick something that helps you and not the other way around.
Remember: where you can’t control everything you CAN control how you take care of yourself. Try just one tip listed above and in time, you’ll feel a difference in your overall wellness!