I have a question for you…
Do you feel stressed at work? You’re not alone. 62% of workers say work is their main source of stress. It doesn’t matter if you feel daily or infrequent; high or low levels of stress. Either way, it takes a negative affect on our mental and physical health. Unfortunately, it seems as if we don’t pay much attention on how to actually manage work related stress.
I know firsthand because I used to work for a high volume Staffing Agency. There were multiple tasks that always needed to be handled simultaneously; calls to make, employees to book, client emails to answer, etc etc (any Recruiter will tell you). It seemed as if there wasn’t enough time in the day. Predictably, high levels of work related stress was inevitable.
I started to notice that I was unusually tired, suffered from headaches and constantly fell sick. Obviously, the result of stress. Something wasn’t right- and it was affecting my performance at work.
…I decided to take a step back and analyze what I was doing throughout my workday that’s contributing to these stress related symptoms.
Bingo! I figured out my unhealthy work patterns… things I wasn’t doing throughout my day that triggered increase in stress levels. Through trial and error, I played around with ways that I can reduce my work related stress levels…
…and I found 3 tips that were so simple, anyone can do them. They were right in front of my face, it just took self reflection to realize them.
The beauty of these 3 tips are, they barely require any work. Follow these 3 “Stress Crusher Hacks” and decrease work related stress instantly!
P.S. It will significantly increase your work performance as well (promotion, here you come!)
It worked for me… and it will definitely work for you.
The 3 Simple Tips on How to Manage Work Related Stress are:
- Use your vacation days and other perks
- Change your work mindset
- Don’t overwhelm yourself
Use Your Vacation Days
Firstly, use your vacation days in order to decrease stress. I know, simple right? However, you’d be surprised how many employees don’t. Actually, only 1 in 3 Canadians actually use their vacation days.
I know many of my friends who have options at work to “carry over” their vacation days. Some also have the option to have them paid out.
I am telling you from experience, use your vacation days.
…Whether you take a trip out of the country or stay at home, make sure you don’t look at your work phone or check work emails.
What I’m saying is, completely shut down from anything work related. This is so necessary to regenerate your mind and completely de-stress you.
I went to Miami this Summer for a couple of days and as hard as it was, I did not look at my phone once. I didn’t even think about checking my work emails.
AND GUESS WHAT?!
Angry clients? Nope.
Missed calls? Zero.
Workplace burning down? Still standing.
…And ACTUALLY, when I returned back to work, I was a machine. Why didn’t I think of all of these awesome ideas and solutions before?
It’s because I just needed to stop thinking. When you constantly think, it leads to OVERTHINKING. And then we lose focus. That leads to a clouded mind… that leads to bad business decisions… poor outcomes…you get my point.
Therefore, the only way to regain complete focus, is to just stop thinking.
If you’re constantly connected to what’s going on at work, you’re not really taking a vacation- you’re basically working from home. You will 100% burn out if you continue this habit.
Again, don’t feel guilty for completely shutting down from work during your vacation. YOU need to regain your focus.
Use Your Other Work Perks to Manage Work Related Stress Too!
Typically, companies offer perks such as discounted fitness rates for gyms and health programs. I encourage to take advantage of the discounted fitness membership. Increasing my physical activity everyday has had a huge positive impact on lowering my stress levels. In addition to that, I feel more energized and refreshed overall after a good morning workout.
Secondly, companies often organize company events that show appreciation towards their employees. In the past, I worked for a loan company, who would organize so many fun events. They would rent food trucks during the summer, host breakfasts, celebrate birthdays, and even encourage employees to join company sport teams. (PLUS SO MUCH MORE!)
Although company events are optional, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL OF THEM.
Why? It’s a great way to connect with your coworkers and step away from your workload (without being penalized😜).
“Team Building” events. Ya. Attend those. I’ve seen numerous employers taking out their staff for axe throwing, escape rooms and unique lunch events. Get to know your boss in a vulnerable setting. You may even find that you’ll start liking her a little more 🙂(they’re human too!).
The best decision I ever made was joining my previous company’s Baseball Team (with VERY little baseball knowledge OR practice). Work became more bearable… can you believe it? I don’t mean that in an insulting way…
…What I mean is, when you develop a connection with your coworkers, your work has more of a purpose. I looked forward to weekly practices. We went out for responsible beers and food after games. Even seeing them during working hours uplifted my mood.
…I actually started to implement my Baseball Team in examples throughout my projects at work (where it was relevant, of course)… and it boosted my quality of content!
Lastly, if you feel like you may need a little more support, companies typically offer resources that aid in stress management. Check with your Manager to see what access you may have to wellness programs- they help!
Change Your Work Mindset
Secondly, it is very important that you change your mindset towards work. I’m a firm believer of “Mind over Matter”. In other words, if you put out a certain thought into the universe, you will act in a way that imitates that mindset.
Previously, I was employed by a staffing agency in the GTA. I was working long hours, had an overflow of responsibilities, and a huge pile of work on my desk DAILY. I barely had time to eat. To think of it, I only had time to eat if it were at my desk.
…In addition to that, my boss was condescending, un-supportive, and did NOT provide any positive reinforcement.👎
As a result of this…
I started to hate my job.
I came to this realization because:
- Difficult to get up in the mornings
- Stress related mood swings
- Undermining my sense of work
- Questioning the reason for my work
To elaborate, I started questioning whether my work was even beneficial. Why was I sending out daily reports? Am I completing them just because my boss expects me to? My work started to seem…well… worthless. I began to view my completed work as just another task to check off the list.✅
With this negative mindset, followed signs of stress. I hated getting up for work, was always moody, barely eating, etc etc… my performance naturally became a little sloppy as well.
So I started to read about reasons why I was feeling this way. And more importantly, how I can escape it…
In Bronnie Ware’s The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departed, she mentions that tasks should be treated as progress, not a destination. Whenever you are tasked with something, do not look at it as a burden that must be completed. View your tasks as part of important processes. You must ask yourself “what would happen if I didn’t complete this task?” Everything has a ripple effect.
I then had an epiphany…
By asking myself these questions, I realized that it’s not just my position that is an important part of business strategies…. I am an important part of business strategies. which ultimately leads to growth and success!
The Clients that relied on my expertise in recruitment have developed a professional relationship with ME. Not my boss. They didn’t want to be helped by another Recruiter. They preferred my Recruitment style and persona.
I didn’t complete tasks to satisfy my boss…
I completed my tasks to satisfy my clients.
Because if I didn’t hold myself accountable and complete my tasks, I would be failing my clients. And that would hurt more than failing my boss.
After I had this realization… something AMAZING happened.
Not only had I started completing my tasks more thoroughly… but….
I started receiving praise from MY CLIENTS!
This turn of events made me realize: I didn’t hate my job at all. Recruitment is my passion. It’s the company that was the issue.
It is easy to lose your purpose in a repetitive, long time role. I lost my purpose.
Once I came to see the value in myself… I realized it was actually my employer who failed to see the value in me. With a clear mind, my next course of action was executed confidently.
Therefore, How you view your processes will be reflected in the outcome of your work. For example, as I write this article, I have calls to make and clients to meet. Although tedious as times, I’ll admit, I am not writing this article just
to cross it off my list. There is a deeper purpose. I am writing this article because I truly want to ease the totality of your life by sharing how to cope with stress through mine.
To sum it up:
Take time to question yourself and reflect. With a clear mind, you will be able to see your purpose. Seeing your purpose in whatever you do will allow you to be a better decision maker. Ultimately, being in control of your decisions will allow you to deflect from stressful situations or consequences.
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
Lastly, don’t overwhelm yourself. I know this sounds like a cliche… but it is an overlooked aspect when learning how to manage work related stress. Especially for someone like me.
Are you like me?
- Set the pace and tone at work?
- Rather get the work done yourself than hand it off to someone?
- Notice your coworkers ask you questions for task clarification?
If so, GREAT NEWS! That means you’re influential, innovative and aware. Those are all strong traits to have as an Effective Team Leader.
Downside is, if you are like me, you’ll rarely ask for help. Even if I had a mountain of resumes on my desk, a meeting to attend and fill urgent Client orders- I made sure to prioritize my day to complete it all independently.
However sometimes prioritization is not enough. Meetings may take longer than usual, or unexpected tasks may arise throughout the day. You’ll find that you won’t be able to complete your workload by end of day, as anticipated. Sometimes, it is beyond our control.
We must accept that it’s okay to ask for help from your co-workers. You don’t want to feel like you’re drowning in your workload. That leads to a lack of focus which will leave you scatterbrained. Especially if you have a week’s worth to catch up on because you just came back from vacation.
You have a Team for a reason- and they are a great resource to use! Having a communicative workplace naturally deters being overwhelmed because you feel comfortable in reaching out for support, if ever needed. Your coworkers will always be open to help because they would anticipate the same from you should they ever feel overwhelmed (and they will!).
BUT, if your coworkers refuse to help you…
Reach out to your Manager!
And if your Manager isn’t willing to help you…
Then apply for a position with a company that will value you as an employee HERE!
Recap on How to Manage Work Related Stress
In conclusion, the 3 VERY SIMPLE tips on how to manage work related stress are:
- Use your vacation days and other perks
- Change your work mindset, and lastly,
- Don’t overwhelm yourself.
Try incorporating these easy tips into your daily work life- you’ll be AMAZED to see the difference in your mood😃, energy⚡ AND performance⭐!
How do you handle work related stress? Drop a comment below!