Even if some of us need certain levels of stress to get the best possible results at work, too much of it will definitely be counterproductive. High levels of stress are one of the main causes behind job burnout, depression, insomnia and interpersonal problems.
If we want to achieve good results at work, the best piece of advice is to look for the sources of stress and tackle them as soon as possible. It is only in a harmonious atmosphere and under healthy mental conditions that any worker can give the best of him or herself.
There might be many different sources of stress: a very tough boss, communication problems with your employees, lazy workmates, self-imposed pressure, ultra-demanding customers or a nasty work atmosphere, just to mention some of the most common ones.
What you should keep in mind is that no matter which the source of stress is, there is always something that you can do in order to feel better and work under healthy conditions.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the circumstances and never give up. Even if you cannot produce radical changes, there is always some way of arranging the situation or adapting yourself in order to avoid stress.
Table of Contents
- 1. Identify What’s Stressing You
- 2. Avoid Unnecessary Commitments
- 3. Be Punctual
- 4. Exercise
- 5. Eat Healthy Food
- 6. Avoid Conflictive People
- 7. Make Regular Pauses
- 8. Don’t Take Work Home
- 9. Don’t Forget About Your Social Life
- 10. Personalise Your Workspace
- 11. Miracles Never Happen
- 12. Invest Time In Communication
1. Identify What’s Stressing You
2. Avoid Unnecessary Commitments
We usually tend to do more than what we really can do. Many times, when trying to give our best in the office, we end up spreading ourselves thin.
But this does not only happen at work, we do it also at home, with our friends and even during our free time. From dusk till dawn we keep running from one place to the other with virtually no time to relax and think about what we are doing.
If we want to avoid stress this has to stop: take your time and think about what you try to do, what you really can do and what you want to do. Rearrange your activities in a balanced and feasible way.
3. Be Punctual
Being late is always stressing.
At work, but also while not working, everything is regulated with times and deadlines, and if you don’t know how to organize yourself you will find that you are always running from one place to the other.
Try to make a schedule with all your activities at the beginning of the week keeping in mind what you can actually do and not all the things you would like to do.
Leave home always some minutes before the time you should do it and try to get to appointments and meetings always some minutes in advance. Being on time is an efficient way of reducing stress.
Keeping your body busy will help you to release tensions and focus on something other than work. Exercise decreases the hormones associated with stress like cortisol and increases endorphins, making you feel better and estimulating a good sense of humor.
Of course not everyone has time enough to practice a sport after work, but there are some exercises based on repetitions of small movements that you can do in the office while working or during breaks. Taking some inspiration from yoga will prove very useful, as this technique keeps your body in movement without actually requiring previous training or big spaces.
5. Eat Healthy Food
It has been proved that stress can be reduced if we change our eating habits. It is advisable to reduce the consumption of fat and refined sugar as much as possible. Fruits and vegetables should be the basic elements of our diet, consuming between 4 and 5 portions of them per day.
Proteins and carbohydrates should be eaten three times a week each, though not combined in a same meal. Try to avoid sodas and drink as much water as possible.
6. Avoid Conflictive People
You will always come across very competitive colleagues who care only about their success and see their co-workers as contenders instead of as potential allies. Keep this kind of people at a distance and avoid dealing with them.
When it is strictly necessary to work together, relate to them only from a professional level, keeping your personal thoughts, feelings and preferences aside.
7. Make Regular Pauses
It is very important that during your work time you make some breaks regularly. They do not need to be long and they do not require that you leave your office or chair!
It is just about having 5 or 10 minutes for yourself; time to think about what you have done and how you plan to continue, to consider how you are feeling and if there is something that should be changed.
Get distracted for a bit and think about something nice. Go back to work with renewed energies.
8. Don’t Take Work Home
This is extremely important! Do not take your duties and assignments to your house in the same way that you just don’t take your children or your silverware to the office. It is necessary to keep the domestic and the professional domains separated.
If you constantly take work to your house, in the first place, you will have no time for yourself or to relax and, in the second place , this will be the cause of many arguments and discussions with your family. If you want to do a good job having a peaceful atmosphere at home is very important, so don’t spoil it by taking your duties to the private realm.
9. Don’t Forget About Your Social Life
We all want to be excellent professionals, no doubt about it. However, this does not mean that other spheres of our life should be forgotten.
Making friends is not a goal at the office, that is true, but working can be so much more pleasant if we develop good relationships with our colleagues.
Don’t spend your breaks or lunch time alone, join your co-workers and try to find which kind of things you have in common. Join the social events organized by the company or the informal ones arranged by your workmates.
Keeping good relations will not only make your work easier but also more enjoyable.
10. Personalise Your Workspace
Many might not notice it, but the environment affects your performance at work.
You don’t need to have a professional decorator designing your workplace, but it is important to make it as nice as possible. What should you do? It’s simple, just follow your taste. It doesn’t need to be inspired by any aesthetical trend, it should just satisfy you.
Some people like having plants around, others love to have portraits with pictures, while many find very relaxing to look at paintings or posters with images of natural landscapes. Having your own mug and you favourite coffee and biscuits are small details that will make you feel much more comfortable while working.
11. Miracles Never Happen
Many people tend to be over optimistic at work; they think that if they keep on trying, maybe, perhaps, people will
But in most of the cases people don’t change. If your boss is though and never acknowledges all the great things you have done, if your secretary likes gossiping about her or his colleagues or if your employees never listen to you learn how to cope with them, but don’t expect them to change.
Analyze and choose which the easiest way to deal with them is: stop trying to impress your boss, only listen to your secretary when he or she talks about work and consider firing your employees if they don’t work well.
You can’t be trying to solve everybody’s problems, so try to sort them out in the easiest and less energy-consuming possible way.
12. Invest Time In Communication
So many problems could be solved if we were clearer when communicating! Problems of communication lead not only to inefficiency and a waste of resources, but it is also one of the main causes of stress.
If you think you told your boss “A” but he or she understood “B” many difficulties in your relation will arise. Both will be sure to have understood correctly and will act consequently, but whenever you get in touch again a big confusion will be unavoidable.
That is why it is so important to invest time in making sure that you are clear at delivering your messages and in checking that the other part has correctly understood what you were intending to communicate.
Health by choice, not by chance.