It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, or whether you’re in management or not, job stress affects everyone in the workforce at one point or another. In fact, according to this article from Forbes.com:
“The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. And four out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing uncertainly about their futures. This may be why more than 40% of adults say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day.”
Whether it’s the anxiety brought on by a looming deadline, frustrations of working with a disjointed team, or pressure brought on by a supervisor, job stress can come from a number of places and have far reaching impact. The good news? YOU control your stress levels. Easier said than done, sure. But it is true. In fact, here are 5 surefire ways to start reducing your job stress, and increasing your job satisfaction, now!
1. Breathe. Really, it’s that simple. Taking a deep breath not only gives you the pause you might need to gain clarity on a stressful situation, but it has been proven to have mental and physical benefits as well. By stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system (the part of your brain linked with calmness, and activities done while your body is at rest) deep breathing can help you restore a sense of balance and calm to tackle the next situation.
2. Manage your interruptions. You might not be able to fully control the number of times your day is interrupted, but you can control how you respond to those interruptions. There are probably a few serial interrupters in your day. Seek them out and try to schedule daily or weekly meetings to address their needs, eliminating the need for them to seek you out each and every time they need your input.
3. Take care of yourself. Job stress may be triggered by actions that take place at work, but you can manage healthier responses to these negative activities if you are taking care of yourself away from the job. Two easy places to start – eating healthy, well-balanced meals and getting enough sleep at night. If you’re well rested and nourished, you will be better prepared to handle mental and emotional stress on the job.
4. Stop doing it to yourself. If we’re honest with ourselves we can probably identify a handful of self-inflicted stress triggers. Are you adding extra undue pressure to complete a task under deadline? Are you holding yourself accountable for the actions of others on your team? There’s a fine line to challenging and stretching yourself in your job, and adding unnecessary and unhealthy stress. Take a look at your current projects and see if you can eliminate any stress you may be imposing.
5. Reevaluate your priorities. You will probably always have more to do in a given day than there are hours in the day. So prioritize your tasks. Understand that everything will get done, in due time, and give priority to the TRULY time sensitive or urgent tasks first. The simple task of organizing your to-do list will provide near-instant relief from an overwhelming day.
Want more DE-stressing strategies? Check out this Forbes.com article for 12 ways to eliminate stress on the job.