The most important lesson I’ve learnt about stress (especially the kind you experience at work) is that if you don’t find a way to deal with it as soon as it shows up, it grows more intense and will eventually find a way to deal with you.
Catch part 1 here: 7 Ways to Relieve Stress at Work
In this instalment, I’ll share 7 strategies you can use to help you relieve stress at work.
1. Recognise when you are stressed. Pay attention to the changes in your thoughts and body when you are stressed. Are you able to identify the early signs of stress? Look for signs of constant worrying, heart palpitations, pain in muscles and joints, constant headaches etc.
2. Take some time off. Give yourself time to reflect on what it is that’s causing your stress. Sometimes we can be too quick to run to a doctor looking for a pill to ease our stress, when in reality, we just needed a couple of days off work to recover.
3. Keep your inner critic in check. It’s hard to admit that you might be causing your own stress, but it’s worth considering. Do you criticise yourself for every mistake you make? Are you spending long hours scrutinising and double-checking your work for fear that it’s not ‘good enough’?
4. Share the load. If you are one of those people who believes “if you want something done right then you’d better do it yourself,” then you’re putting yourself under a lot of unnecessary pressure – whether you mean to or not. Companies are built by teams that work well together. Learn to let go of control every once in a while by sharing and delegating tasks to other people. Trying to control everything in an effort to avoid experiencing stress actually ends up doing just the opposite.
5. Trust your instincts and make a decision. You could relieve yourself of a lot of unnecessary stress if you made decisions quicker and faster. This will reduce your tendency to worry. When presented with a problem, set a deadline for a decision and go with what you feel is right at the time.
6. Look for a positive perspective on the problem. Stress can be very overwhelming. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to who can talk you through a stressful situation and help you see a more positive side to what you are going through. Try talking to a friend, family member or even a colleague you trust.
7. Get some sleep. Make a commitment to go to bed earlier so you can get your full eight hours of sleep each night. Even if you don’t fall asleep right away, get into bed with a good book and switch off all technology that may keep you awake.
Most important of all these strategies is to realise that you control the amount of stress you allow into your life. Educate yourself about the dangers of not managing your stress, find a strategy that will work for you and make sure that you don’t become a willing participant in creating the situations that cause you stress in life and work.