HEALTHY WAYS TO HANDLE LIFE’S STRESSORS
Some days, you know there are rough patches ahead of you before you even get out of bed. There could be a work meeting looming on your schedule that has you feeling anxious. Maybe tension with a colleague has you dreading running into that person in the office. Or if you are like a lot of us, your to-do list at work is teetering toward being overwhelming.
Everyone has stressful moments in life. But learning how to keep stressors and problems in perspective will help you manage these situations when they arise. Getting a better handle on managing your life skills and practicing a little self care will help you take that stress down a notch or two.
There are lots of reasons why someone might feel stressed about their job. They might be worried about being laid off, or feeling pressured to work more overtime hours than they want to. Sometimes expectations can be really high at work, and employees might be concerned that they are not measuring up. Other people might be struggling under an ever-increasing workload.
Tell-tale signs that stress is taking its toll on you physically and mentally include a loss of interest in your work, irritability at work and at home, trouble focusing, feeling less confident and having trouble sleeping.
But there are some simple ways to get back on the right track. Here are some tips to help you handle work-related stress like a pro.
Form Positive Relationships At Work
When things feel stressful at work, it’s good to be able to rely on supportive colleagues. But first, you have to make sure you’ve built up that support network so it is there when you need it. This means engaging co-workers more often. If you’re normally quiet in the office, start out with small conversations as you refill coffee cups or walk by someone’s office. Ask them how their day is going, or if they have fun plans lined up for the weekend.
Also don’t be afraid to share something personal or meaningful with a few select co-workers. Making these deeper connections can be helpful during stressful times at work because you will have a small circle of co-workers who can support you, offer advice, or just a laugh with you when you need it the most.
Prioritize and Organize Your Goals
Having a plan you can stick to will make things feel more steady, especially at times when your work life is feeling unsettled. If you start to feel overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to make a list of your goals and then write out clear objectives for each one. Focus on the things you can control:
- Set deadlines and stick to them.
- Make a to-do list.
- If you have a lot of tasks, break them down into morning and afternoon tasks to make them look more manageable.
- Cross items off your list as you finish them to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
In times of stress on the job, it’s not uncommon for our work hours to increase or become irregular. You might work late to finish a project or meet a deadline one night, then grab a few hours of sleep before heading into the office early the next morning to try to get a head start on other work that is piling up. But here is where you need to take control and establish some firm rules for yourself. Try to create a consistent work schedule, coming into work and leaving at roughly the same time every day. Make as few changes to your schedule as possible. Random changes can cause you to feel more stress, and leave your work/life balance in limbo.
Prioritize Wellness In The Workplace
A healthy workplace is one that emphasizes employee wellness. This is never more important than during times of stress. When people are anxious and feel overwhelmed, it can sometimes lead to physical illness. It’s in the best interest of employers and managers to do what they can to keep their employees healthy. Here are a few ways you can support wellness in the workplace:
- Take advantage of your company’s discounted gym membership.
- Take breaks, and even take a walk outside if weather allows.
- Create a quiet zone in your workplace, a spot where you and others can relax by themselves or meditate for a mental break.
- Keep your workplace stocked with convenient snacks. In times of stress, some people naturally reach for food that contains a lot of fat or sugar. Be helpful by offering fresh fruit, nuts, or snacks like BodyKey™ Slim Popcorn or BodyKey™ Zesty Protein Snacks. Putting out things that are convenient and tasty is a way to support others and show that you care.
Learn the Differences Between Good Stress and Bad Stress
Not all stress is necessarily bad, so it is important to know if you are experiencing good or bad stress so you can figure out how to tackle the issue. Good stress can be a motivator. Tight deadlines, tests, even times when you have to speak in front of a crowd can all cause stress – but the kind that can spur you to do well.
Bad stress can bog you down in your emotions. It can make you feel sick and harm your health. By identifying what kind of stress a particular problem is causing, you can figure out if you should let the emotion motivate you toward the finish line, or if you need to use your life skills to bring your stress down to a manageable level.
Don’t Be Afraid To Tell Someone You Are Struggling With Stress
One way to get help during times of stress is to talk to a coworker or manager about how you are feeling. They might be uniquely positioned to help you solve the issue. Before you do this, you need to understand the source of the stress, and consider what you want the outcome to be. Do you need help figuring out how to handle a specific client or project? Or do you need to expand your skill set so you can better handle a particular assignment? Once you have the solution in mind, let a colleague know that you are struggling and seek their help so you can reach your goal.
But you will want to tread carefully as you talk to your coworkers. Watch your word choices – you want to make sure you avoid blaming others for the situation you find yourself in. It might be easy to be upset at another employee or your boss for the work that landed on your desk, but it’s not productive and telling someone else that could cause problems with coworkers in the future. Phrase things so that they relate only to you.
You’re going to have times in your life when stressful situations crop up. It’s important to use your life skills to help you identify if it’s a motivating kind of stress, or one that you need to manage by seeking a solution and the support of others to resolve.
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