According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), up to 40% of American workers find their job “very or extremely stressful.” With the compounding crises of 2020, this percentage is likely even higher today. Workplace stress can not only make you feel lousy, but it can increase your risk for such chronic conditions as high cholesterol and heart disease. But low-stress jobs are hard to find, so as long as your workplace isn’t toxic, it’s generally best to focus on managing your stress at work. Here are some tips.
Smooth your morning routines
What you do before work can set the stage for how you will react to stress throughout the day. Every night, plan for the day ahead. This could mean stocking easy, healthy breakfast options, making the kids’ lunches, and even laying out your clothes. In the morning, take a few minutes to stretch and meditate, and leave for work early enough to account for traffic.
Check your comfort level
Ergonomic workstations are key to avoiding repetitive use injuries, but even a slightly uncomfortable setup can compound stress over time. Do you need an extra cushion in your chair? Should you play soothing music to drown out annoying sounds? Sometimes a minor tweak to your workstation can vastly improve comfort and make it easier to manage stress.
Ask for clarification
“Scope creep” is common in nearly every job. This means that over time, you gradually start taking on responsibilities that aren’t technically part of your role. This can be highly satisfying, as it provides opportunities to learn new things and take on increasing responsibility. But it can also lead to conflicting priorities and a general sense of being unsure where to focus. Just sitting down with your boss to clarify expectations can take a lot of stress off your shoulders (and your supervisor’s!).
Skip the drama
Everyone has to work with people whose personalities are grating. But there’s a big difference between politely getting along and allowing yourself to become embroiled in other people’s drama. Stay away from gossip and office politics, and don’t get drawn into water-cooler discussions of hot button topics such as religion. Brush up on your conflict resolution skills so that if drama does find you, it’s easy to deescalate the situation.
Take a walk
Whether you sit at a desk or are on your feet all day, you’re likely doing highly repetitive tasks throughout your shift. Take advantage of your lunch break to get some fresh air and clear your head. Even a short walk is a great natural mood booster that can help you make it through the rest of the day. Just be sure to leave enough time for a healthy lunch and plenty of water.
Looking for a new gig?
Sometimes a workplace is truly toxic. If you’ve tried stress management but you’re still miserable, contact Total Staffing Solutions. With over 20 years of experience, we know how to match you with your next position.