The repercussions of the Coronavirus over the last 17 months have wreaked havoc in all aspects of our lives. But the one affected area most American’s can relate to is the additional hassles and upsets it has caused in the workplace. American workers (and employers) are emotionally weary and burned out with the upheaval it has caused. And yet, they are left with the challenge of trying to figure out how to navigate through it. So knowing how to cope with stress at work is more valuable now more than ever.
First of all, let’s get this out there. Stress gets a bad rap, but in reality, we all need and benefit from a bit of stress to perform at our best. However, what we don’t want or need is the excess or prolonged stress that can do so much harm. Thankfully, there are many techniques available to help you successfully cope with stress during these difficult times.
How to cope with stress at work using simple strategies
Get enough sleep
The ability to cope with stress at work begins the night before. That really shouldn’t surprise you. Lack of sleep makes you edgy and irritable. It inhibits your capability to cope with even average amounts of stress, let alone any added pressures you encounter during the workday.
So pay attention to your sleep schedule and make sure you are getting enough quality sleep to recover from the day’s stresses and rejuvenate your body for the day ahead.
Start the day out right
This means to plan ahead, eat a healthy breakfast and leave in enough time to get to work comfortably on time. For some people, this can be quite a challenge. Whether they miscalculate how long it takes them to get ready to leave, or they just don’t get up early enough, they have fallen into a habit of rushing out of the house, expecting to get every green light and find the closest parking space near the door.
And when of course, that doesn’t happen because (a) nobody on the road knows or cares that you left late, (b) traffic lights aren’t timed for your poor judgment, and (c) you’re late, so you get to park in the back, you’re going to start your workday already stressed before you even hang your jacket up. So how do you think you’ll react when your boss tosses you a curveball or the computer system crashes?
So if you are not in the habit, try starting your day with a little planning, good nutrition, and an optimistic attitude. And see if it doesn’t help the workplace stress roll off your back more easily.
Steer clear of inner office discord
There will always be some element of conflict, disputes, and disagreements that have to be dealt with in the workplace. However, it’s a good idea if you don’t go looking for them either. Here are some topics I highly encourage you to steer clear of while in a professional setting:
- Polarizing views about race, religion, or politics
- Personal habits (addictions) that indicate you have a problem
- Gossip about colleagues or people in the industry
- Getting involved with other people’s disagreements
Conflict among co-workers can be a challenge and takes a toll on you physically and emotionally. So it’s a good idea to learn ways to handle conflict appropriately or try to avoid it at work as much as you can.
Have a place to release your stress
And venting around the office water cooler, is not it. However, having someone you trust that you can turn to for a good old-fashioned venting session can sometimes help you talk through your feelings.
I would caution, though, that while verbal venting can be handy in a quick pinch, it’s not healthy to habitually rely on it because there are better ways to handle stress for the longer term.
Some of the other ways you can release your frustrations are:
- Take some deep breaths and visualize the frustration leaving as you exhale.
- Repeat a calming phrase such as, “Everything’s going to be okay,” or “Take it easy.” You can either say it out loud, under your breath or even in your head.
- Move your body. Stretch and flex your leg muscles under your desk. Take a short walk to the break room, bathroom, or through the halls and shake the stress out.
When you feel that familiar feeling of stress building up, mindfully moving your body can release the tension in your muscles.
Take time to relax and practice self-care.
Okay, you already know this blog is titled, How to cope with stress at work. But you’ll notice that a couple of these strategies actually happen outside of your workplace.
And that’s because sometimes the training for the ability to cope at work comes from having prepared yourself before you even get to your job.
This includes the quality sleep and good nutrition I mentioned above. It also entails being physically fit. That doesn’t mean you have to be able to run a marathon. It just means to factor in some physical activity into your daily routine.
During work, be vigilant about taking care of yourself mentally. Know when you’re nearing your breaking point. Cushion your workday with breaks to allow yourself to regroup. Don’t over-extend yourself with unrealistic deadlines.
And lastly, at the end of the day, unplug and have boundaries in place to protect your personal and private time.
Employees who manage their job stress are happier and more productive
So I encourage you to use these simple strategies to help you cope with stress at work. For indeed, stress management can be an invaluable tool for you in ordinary times and also in these turbulent times as this pandemic keeps stretching out.
And if you want to learn additional ways to develop more coping skills to manage job stress and be more successful in the workplace, working with an anxiety coach through breakthrough coaching is a great way to go. I’d love to hear from you.
Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or make an appointment online. There are numerous coping skills that are helpful but not always one best way to proceed. Together let’s figure out which type of coping skill is likely to work best for you in your personal situation.
This article originally appeared on Kris Henderson Coaching