As conscientious professionals, we all put pressure on ourselves to impress our boss and perform well in our team. Whether it’s our first day at work, an important client meeting or a presentation to our manager, these are all situations that can make us stressed. However, when stress levels become too high, our professional performance and even our health can suffer. So we need to find ways to overcome stress at work.
First of all, how do you know if you’re too stressed?
Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress, but some typical signs that you’re under too much pressure include apathy, i.e. a general loss of interest in your work, irritability, a lack of concentration and low self-esteem. But stress can also be physically damaging, causing problems such as insomnia, muscle fatigue, headaches and stomach aches.
Here are more symptoms of work-related stress:
Do you have some of these symptoms? Here are 6 tips to help you overcome stress at work:
1. Seek support from others
Speak to your manager about the stress you’ve been under. Try writing down each time you feel overwhelmed and share this with them so you can reach a solution together. Maybe you need to delegate some responsibilities to other team members or you need more training in certain areas. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others – the HR team is there to support you but you’ll also benefit from speaking to someone who really knows you, like your family or friends. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.
2. Organize yourself
The best way to avoid work overload is to prepare well in advance of the deadline. Work out exactly what needs to be done and make daily to-do lists, accounting for possible setbacks along the way. Be realistic – don’t overcommit and set yourself 30 tasks per day. Instead, establish your daily priorities and focus your efforts into getting them done. Don’t hesitate to speak to your manager or team members and ask them for feedback on your progress, helping you feel more prepared for important deadlines or events. And don’t forget to constantly keep your workspace organized – it will save you a lot of time when looking for documents.
3. Have a positive mindset
Be kind to yourself. Write down all your achievements and the value you bring to your team. Often people are stressed because they feel inadequate, otherwise known as impostor syndrome. Well, remember that you were hired for a good reason. Don’t put pressure on yourself to constantly be perfect – everyone makes mistakes and grows by learning from them. And when things go wrong for reasons that are out of your hands, focus instead on what you can actually control, such as how much effort you put into tasks. Try signing up to a training session or start a new course related to your job, helping you develop more confidence and credibility.
4. Take a break
Don’t burn yourself out at work and power through for 10 hours without stopping. Try to get up from your desk every couple of hours and go for a stroll, ideally outside, allowing your body and mind to recuperate. And once you finish work, leave it there. Avoid checking your emails or answering work calls after hours. Instead, allow yourself to switch off and relax with your friends and family or carry out your favorite hobbies, such as reading a book or playing sports. And why not plan something fun to look forward to, like a holiday? You’ll return feeling refreshed and ready to work.
5. Develop a healthy routine
No matter how busy you are at work, you cannot neglect your health and well-being. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes every day. Even if it’s just a quick walk around the block, anything that gets your body moving will release endorphins and make you feel more positive. What you eat can also affect your mood and energy levels. So make sure to fill up on fruit and vegetables throughout the day and boost your concentration with food rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon. Avoid reaching for sugary snacks – they’ll just make you feel worse after the short-term energy burst wears off. And by all means, enjoy a cup or two of coffee per day but don’t go overboard – caffeine can make you feel more anxious when consumed in high levels.
And most importantly…
Fatigue can make even the most patient professionals behave irrationally. If you struggle to switch off from stresses at work, turn off all electronic devices before bed and let yourself wind down with a great book or practice breathing exercises. Get your body into a healthy routine and aim to go to bed at the same time every night, allowing yourself to sleep for at least 8 hours. You must let your body fully recuperate if you want to reach optimum productivity levels the next day.
There are times when stress levels can soar and you need to learn how to manage them to avoid potential consequences. However, experiencing a bit of stress at work is very normal and can actually help to drive your motivation and overall performance. Don’t stress out about it 🙂
Check out our blog for more advice on best practices in the workplace!