7 Tips to Reduce Stress at Work (6 Powerful and 1 Super Quirky
Your profession doesn’t matter. Everyone experiences stress at work. Reducing stress in the workplace is one of the most discussed subjects with my clients. If we can reduce stress at work, we tend to lead happier and healthier lives. Below I’ve listed out 7 ways to manage stress at work. There are many more, but starting with these will put you in a better place.
1. Plan your day, the day before
Many people walk into the office, open their calendar, and then plan their day. This means they spent a ton of time worrying Leave your planning at the “office,” don’t take it home. Take 5-10 minutes at the end of each day to review progress and plan for the next day. Once you’ve planned for tomorrow, clear that stress out of your head. You can go home knowing you are prepared for maximum productivity tomorrow.
2. Everything has a solution
You are a problem solver. There is a solution. Take a deep breath and relax. The longer you hold onto your negative reaction to a stressful situation, the more it weighs on your mind, the worse it gets. The stress reaction you are experiencing is acting as a filter and limiting what you see as potential solutions. Remove the stress reaction, remove the filter, and shift your mindset problem spotting to solution focused.
Consider purchasing a Problem/Solution rock (pictured below). As a problem arises, take the time to reflect on the challenge. Close your eyes. Hold the stone in your hand as you rub the problem side. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Let go of the stress as you flip the stone to the solution side. Feel the texture of the engraved letters spelling out “solution.” Allow ideas to flow into your mind. You have the solution.
3. Build Supportive Relationships
Having supportive and happy relationships is one of the most important ways to reduce stress. Avoid relationships that revolve around negativity. Subjecting yourself to constant drama, office politics, complaining, and general negativity only brings you down.
Develop strong relationships at work and at home. Having healthy, supportive, and positive relationships provide something to look forward to before, during, and after work. By surrounding yourself with positive people drains away your negative energy.
4. Get up and take a walk
If you can feel the stress building, get up from your desk and take a walk. Spend 5-10 minutes away from your desk and the stressing situation. Breath in and out slowly as you are walking. Try to clear your mind or think about something pleasant. If you can get outside, take in some fresh air. No matter where you decide to walk, take a break from the negative emotions building up.
5. Build a stress-busting playlist
Numerous studies show the impact music can have on our mood. If you want energy, you can listen to music that pumps you up. If you need to relax, you can listen to music that’s slower and chills you out. Music is extremely useful for reducing stress, as it connects to our emotions. Try making a calming playlist specific to reducing your stress.
6. Learn to have “prioritization or timing” conversations with your boss (or client)
There’s only a certain amount of time in one day, week, month, or year. There’s a finite amount of work one person can complete without going insane. Keep a list of the activities, tasks, or work that you have on your plate. When your boss assigns another “priority,” revisit your list. If your list is too much for a certain period, you need to have a prioritization or timing conversation. Always bring several solutions to your boss, not just problems.
First, start with the pleasantries such as, “Hi. How’s your day going?” … All that fun stuff. Then, jump into the conversation –
Your beginning to the timing conversation (please put in your own words):
You: Boss, here’s my list of tasks to complete this week. According to the timing, I’m supposed to complete these ten tasks. This morning you asked me to finish this additional task by the end of the week. For me to complete this new task, I’ll need to adjust the timing of the other ten items. My suggestion is that we can move the schedule of X to next Wednesday and Y to Monday. What are your thoughts?
Your beginning to the prioritization conversation:
You: Boss, here’s my list of priorities for this week. According to our agreed upon prioritization, I’m supposed to complete these ten items. This morning you asked me to prioritize this additional task. For me to prioritize this new item, I’ll need to adjust the prioritization of one of the other ten items. My suggestion is that we can move X down to the end of our prioritization. Moving X down means I may not complete it until next week. What are your thoughts?
Your boss may say no, but this is an excellent way to start “managing up” in an organization. You can even have this type of conversation as a manager for your team. Remember, nothing is a priority if everything is a priority.
7. Find a private place to yell, scream, and get it all out
Maybe you’ll think I’m weird because of this one, but guess what … it works. Screaming to release stress feels damn good too. I’ve done it many times but never knew there was an official name for it until writing this article. It’s called, “primal scream therapy.” Who knew! It’s a legitimate form of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety, trauma, and even stress. Don’t lie; you know you want to try it now! Ok, so now that’s established, let’s get to the fun stuff.
Occasionally when I was stressed out, I’d find a private place. Then, I’d scream as loud as I could. When I was screaming, I’d release all the built-up stress. My heart would start pumping, no ... it would begin racing. Not only was I releasing the stress, but also creating blood flow and energy! Once I stopped screaming, I’d start taking slow and deep breaths. I’d bring my focus back to the challenge ahead of me. Now I had all the energy needed to find and execute the solution.
What are your fun, quirky, or interesting ways to reduce office stress? Oh, and if any of you have “primal screaming” stories, please do share in the comments!