Of course, we all experience stress on some level, but it's when stress becomes chronic in our lives that we really need to figure out a way to get back in control and not let stress harm our health or career. The need to cope with stress is so great that in a 2013 survey conducted by the APA's Center for Organizational Excellence, they found that 36% of survey respondents said that organizations fell short in assisting workers manage stress.
Here are 5 ways to tackle your workplace stress!
1. Create a work-free zone! We are so connected through our computers and cell phones that we often find ourselves never hitting the “off-work” button. Establish a cut off time and then remove any and all gadgets that connect you to work. Sure this is difficult, but try it for 15 minutes a day and build up from there. You’ll be surprised how quickly you find yourself carving out an hour or more a day.
2. Talk to your manager/supervisor. Have a conversation with your boss to let him/her know what issues you are struggling. Be sure to pick a time when your emotions are in-check and you are fresh. Plus, take some time to plan out what you want to say and try to find a compromise for the situation before the conversation, so you are coming into it with solutions not just complaints. If your boss is the source of your stress because he/she isn't great at managing and a conversation will only enhance a stressful situation then find a colleague to vent to and help brainstorm solutions. Be sure it doesn't turn into a non-stop “rip everyone at work” session that goes on for weeks and months! That will only bring on more stress and keep you focused on what is wrong instead of looking for solutions.
3. Become aware of unhealthy coping strategies. We all have them, like eating fast foods, eating high sugar foods, drinking too much alcohol, not exercising or even shopping too much! Take a few moments at the end of every day to check in and see how you responded to the day’s stress. Did you hit the gym or the fries! Once you can see where the unhealthy choices come in you are much more likely to be able to make small changes that can have a huge impact on your life. For example, take a 10 minute walk during your lunch hour instead of eating a bag of chips from the vending machine.
4. Invest some time in your schedule. Most of the time we are our own worst enemy because we fail to plan for the future and the demands on our time. Take a really good look at your schedule at the start of every week and assess what needs to be done throughout the week. Then work time into your schedule to handle each task. While things may pop-up and ruin some of your planning, you will find it easier to reorganize your schedule than panic over how in the world you are going to get it all done.
5. Give yourself a break! Remember that old saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff"? Well write it on a post-it next to your phone or computer display. We get so caught up in the day to day issues that we often forget that most of us aren't brain surgeons and lives are not at stake. So when you feel the stress getting ahead of you take a breath and ask yourself, "Is this the small stuff"? Most of the time you’ll enjoy the feeling of realizing that yes, you are indeed sweating the small stuff.
Remember Professional Intelligence is about having the skills, knowledge and attitude to be successful in your career and if you are stressed-out most of the time, you are no doubt working with low P.I.
I'd love to work with your organization and help your professionals beat the stress and create a P.I. Culture!