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Beating Workplace Stress: The Methods That Work

Stress and work go hand-in-hand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fight it. Here are the techniques that work.

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Workplaces can be stressful, and most people in such environments know this. There are several reasons for workplace stress—heavy workloads, too much interference, your next performance appraisal, fear of losing your job, worries about a lack of work-life balance, among many others.

Though workplace stress has become par for the course, it can still be difficult to handle stress when it creeps up on you.

So, how are people in the workforce expected to handle stress? Here are a few methods that have been known to work.

Move Around the Workplace

Staying in one place all day long is bad for your posture and your mind. Most desk jobs require people to sit at their desks for hours at a stretch, but it isn’t normal to stay in that position, going through your email checker, for sustained periods of time.

Take regular breaks from your desk—stand up and walk around the office or room every 30 minutes. You needn’t walk for too long; 3-5 minutes is fine. You don’t want to be away from work too long, after all.

You should also walk around during your lunch break—have your lunch and then move around outside the office. You don’t have to go far, but the break will do you good, both physically and mentally.

And speaking of lunch breaks—do not skip lunch. Take your full hour, or at least half an hour. Stop working while you eat, and use that time to rejuvenate so you can tackle the rest of the day.

Avoid Toxic People

Workplaces almost always have a few elements who poison the atmosphere—these people spend the majority of their time gossiping, spreading rumours about colleagues, and sowing dissonance in the ranks.

Avoid these people as best you can. As much as people love a bit of workplace gossip, if you think it’s getting out of hand, extricate yourself from that situation as quickly as possible.

If those colleagues keep looking for you or inviting you to spend time with them, make an excuse about having to work on the new business software or doing local keyword research. Consider changing your lunch schedule so you don’t need to be in the same area as them.

It isn’t always possible to avoid toxic people, and if you feel that you can’t get away from them, no matter what you do, speak to someone in management about it.

You should feel safe and comfortable in your work environment, and if there are colleagues who are making that difficult for you, then they need to be dressed down about it.

Stay Away from Negativity

There are several external factors that cause us stress—the last thing you want to do is bring more stress upon yourself by being negative.

Negativity is a slippery slope that everyone has been guilty of sliding on. One thing doesn’t go your way—like getting those small business loans or that persuasive essay you had worked so hard on—and suddenly you can’t stop thinking about everything else that you have executed badly in your life.

Don’t do this to yourself—negativity is not going to motivate you. In fact, it has the opposite effect, and will cause you undue stress.

Whenever you feel yourself slipping towards negativity, create a digital checklist of all the things you have accomplished. Make the list attractive with these simple backgrounds so you will be tempted to look at it regularly and feel better about yourself.

Removing negativity can be hard, especially if you are a perfectionist, but by slowly edging it out of your life, you can stave away stress.

Speak to Others About Stress

As much as stress is part of the working environment, if you are feeling stressed about deciding between .com vs .net for the company’s new website, don’t keep it bottled up—that will only make matters worse.

Speak to someone about what is worrying you and that you are feeling overwhelmed about it. The person you speak to could be a family member, a friend, or a colleague at work.

It may not be possible for whomever you consult with to actually fix your worries about how to get more agency clients—but a conversation about stress isn’t meant for that. Speaking to someone helps you process what you are feeling so you can learn how to tackle it and what your next steps should be.

You should also offer to listen to other people about what they are stressed about—focusing the conversation only on yourself will lead to people turning away from you because they might find you self-centred.

Speaking about stress isn’t easy, but you may find that others feel exactly as you do. This will help you build a community that you can rely on in times of need.

Take a Break from Work

This is easier said than done, but taking a break from work may be just the thing you need to destress and feel better about yourself.

Plan a vacation in another city or country where your mind will not have to be engaged with work at all. It may be tempting to have a staycation, but then you run the risk of meeting colleagues and that will suck you back into discussions about the latest business growth strategies that you want to avoid.

But breaks don’t have to be as elaborate as a vacation—you can take a break from work by switching off digitally after work hours.

Stop email notifications, project app notifications, and mute workplace messenger channels when you leave the office. It can all be handled the next day when you are back at work. If it is an emergency, people can call you instead.

Switching off in the evening will help you focus your energy and mind on things that interest you—such as buying a car for your kids or getting a Masters in economics—which will keep away the stress from becoming overwhelming.

Stay Stress-Free at Work

Stress in the workplace has become dangerously common but there are ways to combat it. Don’t stay trapped in one place during your work day. Move around whenever you can. Avoid toxic people and your own negativity, to the best of your abilities.

Speak to others about the stress you are feeling—they may not be able to help you but speaking about it will make you feel better.

And finally, take a break, by going on vacation or just by switching off your notifications in the evening.

By following these methods, you should be able to destress your work life and feel more rejuvenated.

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