Tension sometimes occurs on the job. Just like all parts of life, occasional stress is just something we have to deal with. But if the stress at your job is really getting to you, or you feel like it’s nearly constant rather than just once in a while, it’s time to come up with some coping strategies. Here are some of the best free ways to get your stress levels under control at work.
Identify Your Stressors
Often, the most important part of controlling stress is finding out what’s causing it to begin with. Here are some of the most common sources of workplace stress and how you can potentially deal with them:
- Underpaid: Consider what you’ve done to deserve a raise, then approach your boss to talk about your salary. You’re much more likely to get a raise if you come out and ask for one.
- Overworked: If your workload is out of control, talk to your manager ASAP. Tell them exactly how much you can handle and offer a solution for who could help manage the extra work.
- Unappreciated: This is something you should also discuss with your manager. Sometimes, it’s a case of unclear expectations, so rather than approaching it as “Why don’t you appreciate me?” consider asking exactly what your manager wants from you or what their feedback is for your current performance.
Find Ways to Relax
Everyone needs some time to decompress either during or after their work day. Consider adding a new element to your routine to decrease your stress at work. Here are a few ideas you might want to incorporate.
- Forget about work for a few minutes: Schedule a daily chat that’s strictly unrelated to work. It could be a quick morning coffee break with a friend at work, or a short phone call to your spouse when you’re eating lunch. Try to talk about something other than work to get your mind off the stresses of the job and remind you of the other things you have going on in your life.
- Focus on something calming: Meditating doesn’t have to be done in a dark room by candlelight. The same principles can be applied at your desk. Try closing your eyes for a minute or two and focusing on deep breathing to get back into a relaxed state.
- Remove distractions: Having too much going on at work can make your stress levels go through the roof. Try blocking out your schedule to focus on one task at a time. Turn off notifications from your email and phone for short periods so you don’t feel constantly bombarded by new responsibilities and assignments.
- Add a relaxing ritual: Find something that makes you feel calm and make it accessible at work. It could be listening to soothing music, lighting a scented candle or even just taking off your shoes under your desk. Little things like this can make your work feel less oppressive.
Take Care of Yourself Outside of Work
While trying a few new things at the office can certainly help when work feels overwhelming, it’s important to realize that your stress may stem from some factors outside of work as well. Taking care of yourself when you’re not at work can help you handle things more efficiently on the job.
Exercising is a great way to relieve stress. You don’t have to hit the gym at 5 am and get drenched in sweat to feel the effects, either. Consider taking a walk on your lunch break; stepping outside the office for fresh air can be a great way to lower your stress levels. You could also bike to and from work or enjoy a physical activity in the evenings.
Adding exercise into your routine is just one of the many ways you should be taking care of yourself daily to reduce stress. You should also try to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, eat nutritious foods and minimize stress at home. Of course, no one can do this perfectly day in and day out. But making a conscious effort to be mindful of your own well-being in your free time can have positive effects when you’re at work.
Get The Support You Need
For some people, trying one or two of the tips above is enough to make them feel like their stress is under control. But if you’ve tried tips like these and you still feel overwhelmed, it’s time to get some extra support. Fortunately, there are ways to do this even if you’re on a tight budget.
First, check with your human resources team to find out if your benefits include any type of counseling. Many employers offer stress management resources as part of their employee assistance program. This may include consultations with a counselor which can be conducted in person, on the phone or online.
Another option is to turn to someone you trust to advise you. This might be a mentor, a pastor or just your best friend. Ask for their advice and let them know you’re in need of extra support.
Don’t let stress at work continue holding you back. Make a change for the better by trying these free ways to reduce work stress.