Everyone, at some point in their adult lives, faces work-related stress.
When I surveyed my audience, asking their most significant stressors and causes of anxiety, their work was one of the top answers.
There have been times in my professional career when I thought about quitting jobs due to the stress it caused meoutsideof work.
Now, it’s crucial to understand that you’re going to enduresomelevel of stress in almost any career you pursue – that’s just the nature of a professional career. I’d even argue that if your job is too easy, is it challenging to enhance your professional growth? The answer is likely a no.
The type of stress I’m talking about is extreme, over the top, where it affects almost every other area of your life. Your relationships, social life, free time, children, and hobbies are all negativity affected by your job-related stress.
That is when it becomes a greater burden than it’s worth.
But you can learn the tools to manage and reduce your stress levels no matter what the career.
Even in high stressful jobs such as stockbrokers, first responders, law enforcement, military, medical professionals, lawyers, and firefighters, you can learn how to maneuver around your stress instead of letting it get the best of you.
10 SIMPLE WAYS TO REDUCE WORK-RELATED STRESS
1. PIN-POINT YOUR SPECIFIC WORK-RELATED ISSUES
Every job and career will present different challenges and obstacles.
No two jobs are created equal. Even if you’re in a familiar position, you might have a different type of boss or co-worker. Your office may be colder or hotter than you’d like, or you may be in a sea of cubicles. If you work outdoors, you’re presented with the changing elements of mother nature, especially if you’re in a climate that consistently fluctuates. There is no shortage of possible stressors with every job. Even stay-at-home jobs come with their unique stressors, especially if you have children.
With all of the potential stressors, it’s critical that you pin-point which specific stressors are causing you the most problems. Sure, your manager may get on your nerves now and then, but his personality doesn’t leave you stressed out at home.
Write down precisely what issues are becoming your greatest stressors while you’renotat work.
Which of them keeps you up at night? Which of them stays on your mind most days?
These stressors can be anything from the mundane to the super challenging, so don’t discriminate.
My rule of thumb: any stressor that you think about consistentlyoutsideof work should be written down.
Then you want to ask yourself these two questions:
- Which stressors can I control?
- How can I improve on these stressors?
Once you have these answers jotted down a piece of paper, you’re ready to start attacking the issue.
2. BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED
Organization comes naturally for some, and not so much for others. If you’re someone who is naturally organized, then this next step shouldn’t present any problems. But if you’re someone who struggles with organizational skills, then listen up – because this is essential to reducing your work-related stress levels.
There’s a difference between being obsessively organized and organized enough. You don’t need to be obsessive about your organizational skills, but you do need to be good enough at them to incorporate everything else below.
There is a myriad of ways to become better organized, and that’s something I will be teaching in upcoming courses. But for now, try becoming more aware of where you need better organizational skills. Is your desk a mess of papers strewn all over? Is your calendar a mess of scribbles? Does your house resemble an episode of Hoarders?
Basic organizational skills play well into every other aspect of your life.
3. REVIEW YOUR DAILY HABITS
Your daily habits define your life.
I’ll repeat it for those in the back.
Your daily habits define your life.
If your habits are unhealthy or push you away from your goals, they will ultimately hinder your progress. Reviewing your daily habits may not directly correlate with reducing work-related anxiety at first glance. But habits are the foundation of how you live your life. If your habits are out of whack, your foundation will be out of whack, and your anxiety and stress levels will suffer.
Remember –unhealthy habits = unstable foundation, whereashealthy habits = stable foundation.
Over a few weeks, jot down every one of your daily habits.
Keep a journal and write down everything you do, including free time or daydreaming, and track it for at least two weeks.
Make a list of every habit throughout your day and mark each as Healthy, Unhealthy, Neutral.
Healthy habits may consist of exercise, yoga, meditation, reading, spending time with family and friends, etc.
Unhealthy habits may consist of eating lots of junk food, not getting enough sleep, porn addiction, drug abuse, overthinking or overtly negative thinking, etc.
Neutral habits are taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, putting on your socks and shoes, etc.
After the two weeks is up, take a look at all the items you have listed. For the ones you marked healthy, see where you can expand on these when applicable. Neutral habits remain the same. And unhealthy habits should be replaced and reduced depending on the habit. Sure, eating junk food every once in a while is usually alright, but eating junk food three times a day will harm your body over time, making your foundation less stable and increasing the chances of increased anxiety. Try looking at healthier options. Other areas of improvement could be sleeping patterns, thought patterns (obsessive or worst-case thinking), exercise, relationships, porn addiction, drug or alcohol abuse, etc.
The key is to take unhealthy habits and eliminate and replace as many as possible.
This will have an overall impact on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being and anxiety.
4. IMPROVE ON YOUR TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Time management (TM) is a trendy area of research nowadays.
There have been many time management practices introduced for decades, some with powerful feedback.
One of the links between work-related stressors (especially for project managers, business owners, or anyone who needs to keep a strict schedule) and TM is that when you fall short of your daily task list, it’s usually because of a lack of quality TM.
There are dozens and dozens of TM techniques to experiment at your job. Many of them will work, some better than others. The idea is to dig into TM a little more and discover the areas you need to improve.
Questions to ask yourself when considering time management issues:
Are you always late for meetings?
Do you have trouble catching up on emails or missed calls?
Are you spending too much time on social media?
Do you never seem to have enough time to finish the big project?
Are you always multitasking to catch up?
Once you understand the areas you are struggling with, you can then begin to deconstruct ways of improving those areas.
5. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH BASIC EQ
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)is the ability first to identify and then manage one’s own emotions and others’ emotions.
Why is this ability critical to reducing work-related stress?
First off, understanding your own emotions is essential in predictingemotional triggers.
And by being able to predict the situations and people that may trigger your stress response, you can better manage it by either avoiding (if possible) them or by preparing for them. Whereas, suppose you’re someone oblivious to EQ and not as adept at predicting your emotional responses. In that case, you’re going to struggle in this area and likely repeat the same unhealthy patterns.
The second part of the EQ equation is understanding others’ emotions.As with our own emotions, being able to potentially predict (even just some of the time) how someone else may respond or react in a work situation can save you and others from potential emotional meltdowns.
If, for example, your co-worker tends to get edgy and agitated when you ask him unprompted questions during a staff meeting, you may want to prep with him beforehand or give him a heads up so he can prepare.
Or, if your manager tends to talk about her divorce for long periods when you meet privately in her office, you may want to send a specific agenda to her beforehand so you can stay on topic or avoid the personal chatter altogether.
Sometimes these are easy things to spot, like above, but many times they are more subtle.
Although some people are “naturally” more emotionally intelligent than others, I believe that over time and with practice, you can get better at spotting the signs of your own stress-inducing emotions and those of the people around you.
6. LEARN THE SUBTLE ART OF LETTING GO
We hear it all the time in the new age spiritual world and the mental health and personal development landscape – “Just let it go.”
But what does “letting go” really mean? How does it apply to work-related stress?
My definition of “letting go” is to let thoughts and emotions pass through you without getting caught up in them.
So, if you happen to get into an argument with your boss, or your co-worker says something mean about you behind your back, or you screw up a big project, instead of holding onto these events and letting them increase your stress level, you find healthy ways of letting them go.
This could include:
- CBT Techniques
- Getting out in nature
- Thought catalogs
- Talking to a trusted friend or family member
Learning how to consistently release those disturbing thoughts and emotions that lend to our stress is extremely important in reducing that stress.
7. ENHANCE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
Productivity is a topic I will be covering more and more, especially related to being productive while managing stress and anxiety.
Focusing on productivity-enhancing activities, such as one’s that author Chris Bailey talks about in his best-selling book, “The Productivity Project,” is one way to not only become more productive (duh) but also to reduce work-related stress.
Because when we are focused on healthy, productive tasks, we don’t have time to be stressed out or overthinking a work issue.
Productivity also lessens the workload at (for most). When you’re getting more done, and doing it efficiently, you will feel good about your daily tasks while also improving the odds of your stress increasing.
Now, every job is different, and just because you’re productive doesn’t automatically mean your stress levels will go down, but in many cases, they will.
8. LEVERAGE YOUR NATURAL TALENTS
One of the many mistakes people make when choosing a career path is that they pick positions that fit their natural talents.
If you are good at working in teams, are a natural leader, and enjoy dealing with customers, becoming a work-at-home day trader probably isn’t the ideal fit.
It took me almost ten years to figure out exactly what I was naturally gifted at compared to what IthoughtI wanted to do.
- What skills come naturally to me?
- What jobs or careers fit my skill set?
- How can I leverage these skills at my job?
- What skills can I improve?
- What skills fit into my passions?
If you’re working in a position at your company that your natural skill set does not fit, then speak up and tell your superiors. And if they resist making a change, work to show them your skills better fit another position. If that doesn’t work, it may be time to consider another position or career (depending on your job and skill set).
9. CREATE A SYSTEM FOR STRESS
James Clear, the author of the New York Times best-selling book “Atomic Habits,” always talks about systems over goals.
Goals are useful, of course, and setting them is a great way to plan your future. But systems, Clear argues, are what make the difference.
What is a “system?”
It’s theprocessby which you do something.
For example, take checking and responding to work emails. You may be someone who regularly checks your email every fifteen minutes, and then gets caught up with any new emails that trickle in the door. Whereas, if you “batch” your emails, meaning you only check and respond to them at certain, strategic times throughout your day (maybe 10 am, after lunch, and 4 pm), you tend to free up more time to get other, more important tasks done while still cleaning out most of your daily emails. Emailing batching would be your process.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What are the processes throughout my workday?
- How do I handle stressful situations when they arise at work?
- How do I manage that work-related stress at home?
Then, you want to create a system for your stress.
Think of how you would handle stressful situations, and what procedures would you follow if the stress becomes overwhelming.
These systems can be as simple as the email batching, or more in-depth like performing specific deep breathing techniques throughout your more stressful days, or tracking your moods at home to spot any patterns of higher stress such as, “I seem to be more stressed first thing in the morning or before I go to bed.”
Developing a system for your stress that you can fall back on during high anxiety times will help you become adept at managing it better.
10. MASTER FLEXIBILITY
Whether we’re talking about physical exercise or managing stress, the more flexible you are, the easier it will be for you to adapt to any changes.
Stress can cause many of us to become more rigid in our daily lives. Yet that is the worst way to manage and reduce stress, as rigidity lends to opposing the meaningful change.
Reducing your work-related stress is not going to be a quick fix or will it be easy. But it can be made intosimplesteps that can make a big difference over time if applied and followed consistently.
Being flexible and trying out new techniques, learning new methodologies, and formulating new processes will be what takes you from ultra-stress to feeling calmer and in control.
Learning to become flexible can be difficult, so start with little things. But keep the mindset of being open to change and open to applying new techniques and methodologies to your work life.
Work, for most people, will add stress to your life; there’s no getting around it. But when that stress starts interfering with your home life outside of work, that is when you need to rethink how you’re going about managing it. Although not all work-related stress can be tamed or reduced, it can be limited by making subtle changes. The ten items listed above can help create habits and methodologies that will better serve you in dealing with work-related stress. Not every item will be as beneficial for some as it will for others, but understanding their value and applying what works can help you manage the stress and keep your anxiety levels down.
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Brad has been a blogger since 2013 and a Certified Anxiety & Mindset Coach since 2021. Over his 15 year career Brad has developed many skills by working for several start up companies (including his own) as well as hosting a podcast interviewing former athletes and entertainers. During this time he also was gaining knowledge and learning the tools to manage and reduce anxiety, develop healthy and sustainable habits, and improve mindset. In 2019, Brad decided to use both his business acumen and mental health knowledge to help others by launching Upplifter.
Latest posts by Brad Coreno (see all)
- 8 Proven Tips To Improve Your Communication Skills - April 29, 2022
- 5 Proven Ways To Manage Work-Related Anxiety - April 3, 2022
- 10 Steps To Develop A Growth Mindset - March 13, 2022
What are 10 ways on how do you avoid stress in the workplace? ›
- Create a Strong Work-Life Balance. ...
- Provide Employees with Strong Benefits. ...
- Encourage Open Communication. ...
- Offer Adequate Paid Vacation. ...
- Consider Scheduling Team Outings. ...
- Utilize Flexible Work Schedules. ...
- Provide Employee Recognition. ...
- Encourage Breaks Throughout the Day.
- Get active. Virtually any form of physical activity can act as a stress reliever. ...
- Meditate. ...
- Laugh more. ...
- Connect with others. ...
- Assert yourself. ...
- Try yoga. ...
- Get enough sleep. ...
- Keep a journal.
- Track your stressors. Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them. ...
- Develop healthy responses. ...
- Establish boundaries. ...
- Take time to recharge. ...
- Learn how to relax. ...
- Talk to your supervisor. ...
- Get some support.
- Re-balance Work and Home.
- Build in Regular Exercise.
- Eat Well and Limit Alcohol and Stimulants.
- Connect with Supportive People.
- Carve out Hobby Time.
- Practice Meditation, Stress Reduction or Yoga.
- Sleep Enough.
- Bond with Your Pet.
- Exercise. You don't need a gym to exercise. ...
- Go outside. Connect with nature in your backyard. ...
- Aromatherapy. Pull out those old scented candles and inhale a calming scent. ...
- Journal. ...
- Listen to calming music. ...
- Sing. ...
- Laugh. ...
- 2.Relax Your Muscles.
- 3.Deep Breathing.
- 4.Eat Well.
- 5.Slow Down.
- 6.Take a Break.
- 7.Make Time for Hobbies.
- 8.Talk About Your Problems.
- Talk, Talk, Talk! Turn to family and friends, or even a trained therapist, to discuss things in your life that are causing stress. ...
- Exercise Regularly. ...
- Engage in Meditation. ...
- Healthy Diet. ...
- Stay Organized. ...
- Practice Positive Self-talk.
- Excessive workload.
- Lack of control.
- Lack of support.
- Senior staff.
- Insufficient training.
- Job security.
- Working from home.
Some of these stress-relieving activities may work for you:
Take a walk in nature. Meditate or practice yoga. Work in the garden or do a home improvement project.
Devise a stress management policy in consultation with the employees. Encourage an environment where employees have more say over their duties, promotional prospects and safety. Organise to have a human resources manager. Cut down on the need for overtime by reorganising duties or employing extra staff.
What are the 5 types of stress management? ›
- Take a 10 minute walk. According to a few experts if you take a walk it will help reduce endorphins in the system that cause stress.
- Practice mindfulness. ...
- Create an exercise regiment. ...
- Write a reflection journal. ...
- Organize yourself.
There are many different conceptualizations of coping strategies, but the five general types of coping strategies are problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping, social support, religious coping, and meaning making.What are the 5 things we want to stop avoid for stress management? ›
Avoid drugs and alcohol as they can add to stress. Eat a well-balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise on a regular basis. Engage in self-relaxation. Try muscle relaxation, breathing or meditation exercises, prayer, yoga, or swimming to reduce stress.What are the 7 causes of stress? ›
- Feel under lots of pressure.
- Face big changes in your life.
- Are worried about something.
- Don't have much or any control over the outcome of a situation.
- Have responsibilities that you find overwhelming.
- Don't have enough work, activities or change in your life.
- Experience discrimination, hate or abuse.
- Not having enough time. ...
- Unhealthy lifestyle. ...
- Taking on too much. ...
- Conflicts in the workplace or at home. ...
- Inability to accept things as they are. ...
- Failure to take time out and relax. ...
- Non-work-related issues. ...
- Failure to see the humour in situations.
There are six main areas that can lead to work-related stress if they are not managed properly. These are: demands, control, support, relationships, role and change.What are the first 5 steps to managing stress? ›
- Step 1: Identify whether you are stressed.
- Step 2: Identify your stressor.
- Step 3: Identify the reason for stressor.
- Step 4: Identify and apply an appropriate stress management strategy.
- Step 5: Evaluate.
- Offer flexible hours. ...
- Allow telecommuting. ...
- Support the use of paid time off. ...
- Encourage employees to take care of their health. ...
- Provide resources and support. ...
- Ask employees what they need. ...
- Related Reading.
- Prioritize sleep, nutrition, and exercise. ...
- Seek social support. ...
- Get outside. ...
- Practice meditation, deep breathing, and muscle relaxation. ...
- Check your thoughts for negative bias. ...
- Don't neglect your favorite activities. ...
- Get professional help.
- Lower your expectations.
- Ask others to help or assist you.
- Take responsibility for the situation.
- Engage in problem solving.
- Maintain emotionally supportive relationships.
- Maintain emotional composure or, alternatively, expressing distressing emotions.
What are 5 of the 8 things you can do to manage the stress in your life? ›
- 2.Relax Your Muscles.
- 3.Deep Breathing.
- 4.Eat Well.
- 5.Slow Down.
- 6.Take a Break.
- 7.Make Time for Hobbies.
- 8.Talk About Your Problems.
- Use guided meditation. Guided meditation is a great way to distract yourself from the stress of day-to-day life. ...
- Practice deep breathing. ...
- Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition. ...
- Manage social media time. ...
- Connect with others.