29 Ways to Reduce Your Work Stress (Without a Stress Ball)
You look at the clock and realize you’re going to be late again. You eat your breakfast as fast as you can, barely tasting it, and rush out the door.
But you’re stuck in traffic for an hour because someone cut off another driver, causing a huge accident. All around you, people are hooting their horns in frustration.
Better Ways to Reduce Your Work Stress than with a Stress Ball
- Work stress can be an incredible source of fatigue.
- Work stress is at an all-time high, but why is this the case?
- Fight back and find ways to reduce your work stress.
- Don’t let work stress beat you.
Do you often feel like nothing can go right? Like bad things happen, you get on your nerves, and there’s nothing you can do about it?
You’re not alone. Every year, millions of people experience stressful conditions at work. Some even have to take time off just to recuperate from the extreme stress that they’ve had to go through.
1. Work Stress Can Be an Incredible Source of Fatigue
Many of us are often juggling between different tasks and increasing workloads, deadlines, expectations and targets.
Work stress is any frustration, dilemma, or conflict that arises from your job. Work stress is increased by the complex, fast-paced nature of the modern workplace.
According to statistics, the average worker is less productive on the job when he or she feels stressed out at work.
Work stress also brings additional physical and psychological health issues that further exacerbate the problem.
But the reality is that stress is a part of our lives. It shouldn’t be something we try to avoid. That’s impossible.
If anything, it should be talked about openly and solutions sought after.
2. Work Stress Is at An All-Time High, But Why Is This the Case?
Whether it’s tight deadlines, piling up obligations, unmanageable workloads, or poor management, work stress can be the result of a whole variety of things.
But one thing’s for sure: it doesn’t make for a fun day at the office.
There are many reasons why you may be stressed out at work. Whether you work from home or in an office, it’s important to identify the causes of your stress.
Can you relate to some of these stressors?
- You don’t have enough control over your own work. You have to ask for permission for every little thing. You might be stuck in a position where you’re unsure what to do next or how to do something, and that’s a recipe for stress.
- You’re not sure what your boss is looking for from you, or if your co-workers haven’t told you what they need from you in order to do their own jobs. It can feel like an uphill battle.
You might try really hard to get everything right, but end up getting nowhere because nobody bothered to tell you what “right” was!
- There’s a bad working relationship with someone else. This can be anything from just not getting along with your boss to being bullied by another employee.
Either way, if somebody is making it harder than it already is to do your job well, that’s going to cause some major stress on the job.
- When you’re working from home, you may be feeling the pressures of trying to get all your responsibilities completed while keeping up a good balance between your personal and professional life.
- It would seem that the traditional 8-to-5 just doesn’t cut it for people’s crazy schedules anymore.
Employees are working longer hours and taking on more responsibilities than ever before.
- In many cases, a worker’s stress level is directly proportional to their workload. If they are understaffed, they are expected to take on more responsibilities than they would if they were working as part of a team.
This not only decreases their efficiency but also leads them to experience mental fatigue that can trigger higher levels of stress.
- Another factor is the perception of job security.
If an employee feels like there is a good chance that their job could be eliminated in the future, then all of their actions will be coloured by this fear.
They will do things that ensure their position rather than what is best for the company as a whole, and this can lead them to feel like they are trapped in an impossible situation.
- How much control do you have over your own job duties and schedule? Employees who enjoy some freedom in these areas tend to be happier overall and have lower levels of stress when compared with co-workers who have no such freedom or control.
- You have a boss who is constantly breathing down your neck, s/he probably doesn’t trust you to do your job well.
That makes you feel like they don’t actually value you as an employee, which means you’re probably going to be less engaged with your job and less motivated to perform at your best. In turn, this will lead them to check in on you even more often – creating a vicious cycle where both parties end up feeling stressed out and unappreciated!
- Another type of workplace that can cause stress is one where there’s a lot of pressure to perform at peak levels all the time.
If you’re constantly being pushed to do your best and then told when you fail, it’s easy to feel like there’s no room for error.
Plus, if everyone around you seems like they’re going through the same thing, it might make matters worse!
This type of pressure often comes from management who expect perfection from their employees without ever giving them any feedback or support (which makes sense since these managers tend to be overworked themselves!).
3. Fight Back and Find Ways to Reduce Your Work Stress
Whatever is causing your stress, it’s important to know that there are ways to fight back against it and reclaim your calm.
Fortunately, there are some potential solutions for you:
- How do you start your day? Are you rushing around trying to get out the door on time? Do you feel like you don’t get enough sleep at night? Try setting aside a few minutes every morning to relax and breathe deeply.
The breathing exercises will help you clear your mind and give your body the oxygen it needs for the day.
Then you can use those extra minutes for whatever else is important in the morning: maybe you want to spend some quality time with your beloved before they leave for the day, or maybe you just want a few extra minutes in bed (no judgment :-))
- Consider why you might be feeling stressed and work to change the things that are causing it. If your workload is overwhelming, look into ways to ask for help or to delegate (if you can).
- If you don’t feel like you fit in with your coworkers, consider looking into networking events or social outings that could help you get to know them better.
- Make sure that you’re taking enough breaks throughout the day to give your mind some rest from concentrating so hard on your tasks.
- Instead of working through your lunch break, take a break from your desk. Get some fresh air!
- Do not bring your work home with you.
Set boundaries between work and home life. When you get home from work, don’t check your emails anymore.
- Get out of your chair as much as possible.
- Change the scenery – do your work from another spot if you can, or go to the library or a coffee shop during lunch.
- Take pictures of things that make you feel calm and place them in easy-to-see spots at work (your desk, the break room fridge).
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
- Let go of perfectionism.
- Stretch your legs – it might not seem like much, but moving will help you recharge and be ready to go again!
- Try to focus less on the problems and more on finding solutions to them.
- Be mindful of your posture – your body communicates to your mind, so sitting up straight or walking around can help you feel more in control of the situation.
Sit up straight. Stretching your spine, lifting your chin and keeping shoulders up can all help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
Plus, it’ll also make you look more confident in meetings.
- Eat some protein – low blood sugar can make it harder to focus, so have a snack!
- Organize your desk – You’ll feel more in control if your workspace is tidy and under control.
- Reward yourself for completing a difficult task.
- Try talking to someone about your stressors (such as a friend or mentor).
Sometimes just venting helps us feel better!
- Fill up that water bottle. Dehydration often leads to headaches and feelings of exhaustion – two things that increase feelings of stress.
Try to drink 6 – 8 cups of water a day to stay hydrated.
- Take a break!
It seems counterproductive, but a short break in your day can help you come back refreshed and ready to take on the next task.
It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant or time-consuming – your break could simply be walking away from your desk for a minute or getting some sunshine for a few minutes. If you have more time, try going for a walk around the block or bringing lunch outside if you usually eat by yourself.
- Play music that makes you feel good! Whether it’s calming jazz or upbeat pop music, tune into the songs that help you feel better. Just be sure to use headphones so as not to bother your coworkers.
- Offer to help someone else with their work!
Volunteering yourself to do an extra task can give you an immediate sense of accomplishment and help you feel more in control of your own workload.
Plus, helping others is one of the best ways to build good relationships.
- Get organized by making daily, weekly, and monthly checklists.
If you’re going crazy trying to remember everything you need to do at work, start writing things down in lists. That way, you can see your progress as you go through your day, week, or month, which makes it easier to stay motivated and calm.
- Learn to say no. You’re only one person, but sometimes the demands on your time can make it feel like there are 10 of you.
It’s important to learn how to say no so that people respect your boundaries and know not to overburden you with unreasonable requests.
- Sometimes we just need to take a step back from our work and unwind.
It can seem like an insurmountable task, but with a little creativity and some planning, you can make sure that you’re able to reduce your work-related stress and be more productive.
- Re-center! When you created your calendar for the week, how much time did you set aside for lunch? Or for exercise?
When was the last time you went out to dinner with friends or took some time to just sit in a coffee shop, alone or with someone you love?
Make sure that these activities are included in your weekly schedule. If they’re not already there, add them now!
- Eat well and exercise regularly.
The better your physical health is, the more likely you are to feel energized at work – and less stressed out when things go wrong.
- Find ways to unwind after work – like reading a book, playing with your pet, taking a walk outside… no matter what it is that brings you joy outside of work, make sure that you’re doing it regularly!
29. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can make everything worse, so try to get 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night.
4. Don’t Let Work Stress Beat You
Working is essential to our livelihood, but the stress it induces can be crippling at times. Thankfully, though, there are ways to combat work stress.
If you find yourself feeling the crunch at work, the tips above can help provide some respite from the grind. Don’t let the stress beat you.
Modify your personal environment, try to solve problems sooner, be flexible and understanding, be expressive about your feelings, and look for emotional support.
By implementing some of these strategies into your daily work life, you might find yourself less stressed and more productive.