Keep Calm And Carry On: How To Cope With Stress At Work
Hey there, business leader. Got a minute? We want to talk to you for a second about stress in the workplace. Don’t worry. We’re not going to load you up with a bunch of stats on how bad stress is for your physical and mental health. You know that already. We’re not going to give you tips on how to prevent stress in the first place. We know in a high-pressure job like yours it’s impossible to prevent stress from happening entirely. We want to give you some ideas for how to cope with the stress that will inevitably occur from time to time in your workday.
9 easy tips for coping with stress at work:
- Take deep cleansing breaths and count to ten. It seems obvious, but it really works.
- Take a walk. Excuse yourself for a moment and walk away, even if it’s just to go to the rest room. If you are able, take a walk outside and get some fresh air even if it’s just for a few minutes. Walking away can help you regain your composure when you’re facing a stressful moment and help prevent you from losing your temper or saying something you might regret.
- Focus on the here and now. We tend to become stressed and overwhelmed when we think about all the projects and tasks we have ahead of us. It can help to try to pay attention to only the project right in front of you and put those future tasks out of your mind for now. One thing at time. One day at a time.
- Have a mantra. Do you ever have those moments where you are forced to sit patiently and remain calm with a pleasant, attentive expression on your face when you feel anything but calm? In some work situations, you may be unable to show on the outside how you are feeling on the inside. That’s when a mantra can help. Without changing your external expression, repeating a phrase over and over in your head can help calm your internal emotions. Find a phrase that works to calm you down. It can be meaningful, funny, ironic, or soothing – whatever works for you. Some examples we love:
- “I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.
- “I choose peace.”
- “I trust in myself and the decisions I make.”
- “I’m going golfing on Saturday.” (Or hiking, gardening, dancing – whatever you love.)
- “I am here, I am now, and I am well.”
- “Don’t worry. Be happy.”
- Meditation. Meditation’s popularity has been bolstered by a growing body of research showing that it reduces stress and anxiety, improves attention and memory and promotes self-regulation and empathy. Much like training for a marathon, meditation is training your mind to stay focused on the present. If you have never tried meditation, or even if you have, there are several easy-to-use apps that will teach you the basics and guide you through your practice in as little as one minute per day. A few that we have tried and found useful are 10 Percent Happier, Calm and Headspace. But there are plenty to choose from and many free guided meditation resources to be found through a simple Google search.
- Just say no. We know this is not always, or even often, possible. But when you can, it’s ok to politely decline to taking on a task or helping someone else during times that you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Try saying “I’d love to help you another time” or “Can we catch up later? I’m afraid I’m swamped at the moment”.
- Listen to music. Try to find some time in your day when you can listen to music. Put your earbuds in while you are working on a project or go for a drive during lunch and crank the tunes in your car. Music soothes the soul.
- Work it out. Exercise is a well-known stress reliever. If you’re able to take a break during your workday, perhaps on your lunch hour, to walk, run, swim, do yoga, or work out, it can considerably reduce your stress levels.
- PQ reps. A PQ rep is very simple. It involves shifting as much of your attention as you can to your body and any of your five senses for at least ten seconds. That counts as 1 PQ rep. These reps activate and grow your ‘self-command’ muscle which helps you self-regulate your thoughts and feelings. Learn more HERE.
While you can’t avoid stress entirely, we hope some of these ideas can help you cope with stress during your workday so you can keep calm and carry on.
- Take time for self-care
- 4 ways to become a more mindful leader
- Sleep matters
- Work-life integration
- Feeling burned out?
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