Stress is a normal part of the workday, but when it becomes overwhelming, it can have negative health impacts. And while employers and employees alike are learning that the importance of a good work-life balance is critical, overcoming stress at work can seem like something well out of your control. Here are four things you can start doing now that will help you manage your stress better and make the most of your time at work.
Recognize Your Stress for What It Is
Everyone has a different way to effectively handle stress. For many people, the most helpful methods include exercise, eating well, and getting enough sleep. If work stress is taking its toll, it might be a good time to reevaluate your daily habits to see if you can improve in any of those three key aspects. Yoga and meditation are also often found to be helpful to reducing stress and focusing the mind. Maybe keeping lists or talking things out with a friend or coworker would help as well. Also learn how to mitigate your stressors or be proactive to manage those stressors before they become overwhelming.
Ask for Help When You Need It
Today’s job market thrives on a brutal 24-hour availability cycle. More employees are expected to take their work home with them, continue work long after the normal nine-to-five shift might lead you to assume, even come in on weekends or at a moment’s notice. Employees, particularly salaried employees, are often considered to be always on duty, and that can be a serious drain on your health and happiness.
The key to overcoming that trend is to identify and communicate your boundaries and ask for help when you need it. If you are unable to stay in the office past a certain time because you need to pick your child up from school or daycare, that’s a hard boundary. If the constant pressure of nonstop emails drives you crazy, consider limiting your availability to emergency phone calls. The point is to figure out what your hard lines are, then share those limits with your coworkers and supervisors or managers. Chances are they will not only understand these limits but have similar boundaries they themselves need to support.
Control What You Can
Constant emails and text messages can work to compound your stress while you are trying to unwind from a stressful day. The simplest way to avoid this is control the things you can control, like taking active breaks, and turning off your phone or computer between your work hours. There’s a false sense of urgency that is associated with these notifications, constantly pulling you away from your family or friends. If you want to avoid undue stress on those relationships, and on yourself as well, try taking a break from it all.
Positivity can have a big impact on how you handle stress in your life. Remember why you do what you do and remember that you can’t do everything well if you try to do it all at once. It’s ok to pace yourself. Stay healthy. Know your limits and do your best to work within them to stay healthy and balanced for the long term.
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