6 Tips to Relieve Work Stress

Adapted from Calm.com, read the full article there.

In small doses, stress can motivate you to meet deadlines and achieve goals at work. However, when work-related stress becomes chronic, it can lead to mental health problems like anxiety and depression, and physical health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

Recognizing the signs of work stress

  • Emotional symptoms: These may include irritability, frustration, anxiety, depression, or low morale.
  • Physical symptoms: Signs of stress include headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.
  • Behavioral symptoms: Increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and withdrawal from work-related activities are a few examples.

What to Do About It

1. Identify your stressors

Observe and reflect on when and why you feel stressed to help you see patterns and develop strategies to cope.

  • Keep a stress diary: Record the moments when you feel stressed. Note the situation, your thoughts, how you reacted, and what could have been done differently. 
  • Analyze your diary: Look for recurring themes in your diary. Are there specific tasks, times of day, or interactions that consistently cause stress?

2. Ask for help

Seeking support is a sign of strength, not a weakness.

  • Talk to your supervisor: If workload or a specific task is a source of stress, discuss it with your manager. They may offer solutions or adjustments to your workload.
  • Seek support from colleagues: Talking about stressors with a trusted colleague can provide relief. They might also offer practical advice or assistance.
  • Consider professional help: If work stress is severely impacting your life, seek advice from a mental health professional.

3. Practice mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness and meditation can help you stay centered and calm.

  • Start with short sessions: Begin with a few minutes of meditation or a mindfulness practice daily. Use guided sessions if you’re a beginner.
  • Incorporate mindfulness into your day: Try to be fully present in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s eating lunch or attending a meeting, to help yourself stay present and reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm.

4. Establish boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life is important for stress management.

  • Set work hours: Define clear start and end times for your workday. Avoid checking emails or taking work calls outside these hours.
  • Create physical or virtual boundaries: Designate a specific area for work and avoid using it for personal activities to help separate work from relaxation time.

5. Take breaks

Regular breaks, even short micro-breaks can help clear your mind, improve focus, and reduce stress.

  • Step away from your desk: Take short breaks throughout the day to walk around, stretch, or do a quick relaxation exercise.
  • Use breaks wisely: Rejuvenate yourself with a few minutes of deep breathing or a brief walk outside.

6. Commit to work-life balance

Ensuring a healthy balance between work and your personal life is essential for reducing stress.

  • Prioritize non-work activities: Make time for hobbies, exercise, and spending time with loved ones. 
  • Learn to disconnect: Physically and mentally disconnect from work after hours. Turning off notifications or setting limits on work-related activities in the evening.