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How To Reduce Stress At Work: 20 Essential Tips

Stress in the workplace can have a physical and psychological impact on your performance. Here's how to reduce your stress at work.
by Rob Gillham | Aug 26 2022

Do you find yourself suffering anxiety at work? You are not alone. Unfortunately, stress at work is one of the most common complaints among employed Americans. For instance, the American Psychological Association (APA) reported in 2021 that 66% of employees consider their jobs to be a significant stressor. 

It is important to keep in mind that stress is not always a bad thing; it can motivate you to complete tasks efficiently. However, if stress becomes too high, it can negatively impact workplace performance. There are approximately 1 million workers who call in sick every day due to stress. Employees’ personal lives can be affected by workplace stress, affecting friendships, family, and recreation, compounding the problem. The stress in a workplace can lead to unhappiness, which leads to an unproductive workforce. 

Understanding how to reduce stress at work is important for both employers and employees. Throughout this article, you will find tips for reducing work stress, identifying it, and looking out for key signs.

Where Does Stress At Work Come From?

In spite of the fact that some jobs are more stressful than others, most employees experience workplace stress at some point. Recent research shows that low salaries, few advancement opportunities, uninteresting or unchallenging work, a lack of social support, a lack of control over your career, and conflicting expectations are common work-related stressors. 

Workplace stress may also be caused by excessive workloads, problems with coworkers, supervisors, or customers, and poor work-life balance.

Symptoms Of Workplace Stress 

There are many ways in which stress can manifest itself. Several studies have found that employee stress reduces employee engagement (33%) and productivity (41%) and increases employee turnover (15%) and absenteeism (14%). You should be aware of the various signs of workplace stress since it can have a negative impact on you physically and mentally.

Mental Symptoms

Depression, anxiety, and irritability can be caused by stress. Your temper may be shorter, you may feel overwhelmed, or you may find it difficult to concentrate or make decisions. In addition to aggressive behavior and mood swings, stress can also lead to impatience and frustration.

Bodily Symptoms

In addition to headaches, stomachaches, back pain, unusual heartbeats, fatigue, and trouble sleeping, you may experience physical symptoms. In addition to anxiety and insomnia, chronic stress can affect blood pressure and the immune system, according to the APA. In addition to contributing to depression, obesity, and heart disease, this type of stress can also lead to health problems.

Furthermore, people who experience excessive stress often react to it in unhealthy ways, such as overeating, eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes, or abusing drugs and alcohol.

How To Reduce Stress At Work: 20 Key Tips

When changing jobs might not be feasible or even necessary for your health, what else can you do? When work gets stressful, it’s important to have several techniques to fall back on. Getting a sense of what coping strategies will work for you can be helped by considering the following approaches:

1. Meditation

It only takes five minutes of deep breathing, visualization, and being present in the present to experience the benefits of meditation for stress relief. There are a variety of mobile apps that offer guided meditations that you can use at the office to refocus and recharge.

2. Take Responsibility 

It is your responsibility to hold yourself accountable for the actions you take. If you mess up at work take responsibility, learn from the mistake, and improve. As a result, you will not only be able to develop further but also demonstrate your resilience and initiative by working on your own development.

3. Plan Your Goals

Take note of your accomplishments when you set short-term goals. Set a weekly objective that all urgent tasks should be completed by Friday afternoons. Reflecting on your accomplishments will help you focus less on stressful things that you cannot control.

4. Plan Ahead

You can stay on top of important assignments by planning ahead at the end of each workday. Make your to-do lists in advance by using the last five to ten minutes of your workday. When you arrive at work each morning, you’ll know exactly where to start.

5. Make A Routine

A good night’s sleep can help you stay energized and productive throughout the day. Getting enough sleep and allowing yourself enough time to prepare for work in the morning is important. Rushing in the mornings and eating a last-minute breakfast can contribute to work stress, so getting to bed a little earlier can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

6. Music Works

Playing some relaxing or light music while working can also help you stay focused and stress-free. If you work in an open-plan office, you can use headphones to filter out the noise. If you need a moment to relax, create a playlist of classical music and play it throughout the day.

7. Get Rid Of Distractions 

It is not uncommon for distractions to occur in an office environment. You may find it difficult to focus when employees’ conversations or the noise from office equipment are distracting. When you need some peace and quiet, close your door if you work in an office separate from others. A pair of noise-canceling headphones can reduce background noise if you work in an open-office environment.

8. Use Technology To Reduce Stress

Use scheduling apps on your mobile device to keep track of important events such as project deadlines and meetings. There are settings in many of these tools that allow you to set notifications to remind you when something important is due.

9. Move Your Body

The benefits of stretching can also be seen when you’re in the middle of a work task and need to remain seated. While sitting in your chair, lift your legs straight in front of you and point your toes out, then in, squeezing your calf muscles. In addition to raising your arms straight over your head, clasping your hands together, and sitting up tall are other feel-good stretches. Getting up from your seat won’t be necessary for you to recharge and relieve tension.

10. Talk To Your Colleagues 

It’s inevitable that you’ll form some friendships at work, and one of the best ways to de-stress and unwind at work is to socialize with your colleagues. Taking your mind off work-related stress might be as simple as having a five-minute conversation before work or going out to lunch once a month with your colleagues.

11. Get Your Priorities In Order

Understand the importance and urgency of your daily tasks and assignments. You can use the Eisenhower Matrix, for example, to determine which tasks must be completed and which can wait. List your urgent assignments, those that need planning, tasks that can be delegated, and those that can be completely eliminated from your to-do list to prioritize your work.

12. Ask For Help

Make sure you ask for help when you need it. Working independently has its benefits, but knowing when you need some extra assistance will help you understand your limits when it comes to completing a complex project. Your ability to work with your team also shows that you are open to different perspectives and can ask for input.

13. Speak Up

It can be very helpful to talk to someone you trust when you’re feeling stressed. Discuss your feelings with a coworker or work friend. Speaking up about your emotions and ideas can often lead to insightful feedback that helps you manage work-related stress.

14. Eat Healthily

Maintain your energy levels throughout the day with healthy snacks. It is actually possible to lower your stress levels through proper nutrition. You should choose something fresh and nutritious to snack on instead of chips from the vending machine, for example.

15. Visualize

Using visualization techniques to calm down, relieve stress, and clear your mind is a powerful tool. Imagine scenery that makes you feel good when you close your eyes. Imagine your dream home or a beach landscape for several seconds if you feel frustrated. To create a feeling of calm and positivity, visualize something you enjoy. Use breathing techniques while visualizing a calming scene for maximum stress relief.

16. Massage Yourself

Self-massage is a simple and quick method for de-stressing at your desk. When you feel stressed, lightly pinch the upper cartilage of your ears with your index fingers and thumbs. Give your fingers and thumbs a light massage and take a few deep breaths. On each hand, lightly pinch the area between your thumb and index finger using the same massage technique.

17. Tidy Up

Get rid of unnecessary items from your workspace. You should go through old documents, get rid of old papers, and throw away anything you no longer need. Staying organized, finding important items easily, and staying focused will be easier if you keep your workspace neat and tidy.

18. Use Your Time Wisely

It is possible to become stressed at work due to falling behind on deadlines, working on projects at the last minute, or any number of time-sensitive tasks that can become overwhelming. Time management strategies can help you stay on track if your stress is related to fulfilling your work responsibilities. Track your progress on important assignments using a time management app, for instance, to work more efficiently and avoid becoming overwhelmed.

19. Leave The Office

Work-related stress can sometimes be calmed by a simple change of scenery. Make sure you take a break once or twice a week by leaving the building to unwind and take a break for lunch.

20. Get Active

Stress can be managed through exercise, which is a great physical outlet. You may want to walk outside for a few minutes during one of your work breaks. You can return to your workplace after a break away from your desk and physical activity.

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