We all experience stress during high-paced or demanding times in our lives, particularly at work. For example, high-pressure deal with a client or a challenging relationship with a co-worker may cause us to feel stressed out or overwhelmed. Stress can lead to anxiety and mental strife, and it can also make us more vulnerable to physical side effects, such as headaches and recurring illnesses.
It is not always possible to control the circumstances that cause tension, but we can use stress management tips to minimize its impact. These simple, natural techniques will help you stay calm, cool and collected during difficult situations.
Techniques for Stress Management at Work
1. Breathe and unclench.
When you feel your heart start to race, make a conscious effort to breathe slowly and deeply. Shallow breathing can increase your pulse and cause your muscles to tense up, so breathe through your diaphragm and count to three for each inhale and exhale. Also pay attention to your jaw– many people clench their teeth together when they experience stress. Open you mouth, yawn, sing, do whatever it takes to unclench your jaw and relax.
2. Take a break.
Sometimes a little fresh air is just what the doctor ordered. Even if you just have 10 minutes during your work day, you can walk around the block, make a personal phone call or grab a cup of coffee next door. Get a change of scenery and stretch out your muscles. If you have more time during your lunch break, try some more stress management tips: hit the gym to release negative emotions, meet up with a friend outside the office or even get a massage.
3. Avoid burnout.
If taking on too much is causing you stress in your job, see where you can scale back. Learn to say “no” to non-essential projects and delegate to employees when possible. Keep a long-term calendar and use other tools to maximize your personal effectiveness and stay organized.
4. Stay away from drama.
Stress management at work is much easier when you steer clear of unnecessary conflict with co-workers and employees. Don’t get caught up in the office rumor mill or bring up hot-button topics such as religion or politics.
5. Take care of your health.
What you eat and how active you are can have a big impact on how you deal with stress. Make mindful, healthy food choices that will help you going throughout the day, avoiding excess fat and sugar. Don’t underestimate the power of getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.
What stress management tips do you use to stay focused at work?
Learn more about EDSI’s conflict management resources.