There’s no doubt that a job can cause considerable stress. And certainly there are levels of stress that are normal and those that are unhealthy. If left unchecked, stress can literally make you sick. Here are some things to consider about managing stress.
Managing Stress Starts With Controlling What You Can
Some things are out of your hands in terms of how you can impact them. The last minute request, the printer jam, the unexpected email… all those are things that you can’t anticipate and therefore can’t prevent or manage. The key is to know what you can manage and do as much as you can to prevent a last-minute stressor. For example, do you know where extra copier paper is kept? Can you email the team three days before something is due to check on their progress? And for the things you can’t control, realize that what you can control is your reaction. When everyone else is freaking out, the best thing to do is stay calm. Because when you are calm you are much better able to assess the situation and react in a constructive fashion.
Maintaining Healthy Habits
Stress has a way of making you want to eat things you shouldn’t, skip exercise and keep you up at night. You need to make sure that you are doing everything you can to keep your body in tip-top shape which will help you react better to stress. Maintaining consistent and healthy food intake and an exercise regimen can go a long way toward helping you handle stress. Working out, in particular, is a great way to alleviate stress. And, getting adequate sleep ensures that you are at your rested best.
Separating Work and “Life”
Work life balance is important. Don’t forget that you work to live, you don’t live to work. No matter how much you might feel as though you need to be “on call” 24/7, your body and mind can’t relax if you are constantly expecting a call or text, or if your mind isn’t relaxing because you are thinking about work. Even if you feel that you should have your phone on, remember that your work performance depends on your ability to take a break. If you do want to check in with your email and voicemail even when you are technically “off,” limit yourself to once or twice and on a set schedule. Even better, take the evening or weekend off, knowing that the work will still be there when you return.
Recognize When Stress Is Unhealthy
If you are achieving the three steps above and are still having difficulty managing your stress, it might be time to revisit your work situation. Does your boss have unrealistic expectations? Are you taking on more responsibilities than you could or should? Can you seek assistance or otherwise find ways to help you cope?
Healthy stress is the feeling that you are focused and motivated and ready to take on the world. Unhealthy stress indicates that you are in a job situation that is unhealthy. Learn to recognize the difference and make sure that you are taking steps to manage your stress rather than letting it control you.
Articles on managing stress:
- How to Overcome Your Insecurities
- Identify Causes of Stress: 5 Questions to Ask
- What Scares You?
- Warning Signs: 7 Signs You Need to Watch Out
- Regenerating Your Energy
- Time and Stress Management: Just-in-Time Worrying
- Tips for Business Travelers – How to Make Your Business Travel Experience More Enjoyable