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Work and stress often go hand in hand.  When you’re feeling stressed at work, it’s easy to feel stuck, trapped and overwhelmed.  Stress at work is how you feel when you have too many demands at work that exceed how much you feel you can cope with or manage.

If you’re stressed at work, because of your job demands, pressure from other people, or something else, the first step is to identify the cause of your stress.  When stress at work becomes more frequent, and you can’t identify the causes of workplace stress, by yourself, it may be beneficial to speak to someone about why you feel stressed.

Feeling overloaded, overwhelmed, overworked, and overcommitted leads to stress.  We often feel obligated to take on more and more work which leads to stress.  We often work longer and longer hours, and fail to get enough sleep, which can lead to frustration and stress at work. 

In this article I’m going to share common causes of stress at work and provide 10 tips to help you stop feeling stressed at work.

Good stress management is important in the workplace. Overcoming stress at work can make you healthier, happier and more productive at work.  If you often experience feelings of stress, use these tips to effectively manage work stress.

Causes of stress at work 

What causes work stress?  The most common causes of workplace stress include work pressure, work environment, lack of time, lack of support, work-related deadlines, long hours and relationships at work.

Other causes of feeling stressed at work include extreme tiredness, sleeping difficulties, frustration, unhealthy lifestyle, taking on too much outside of work, personal issues and failure to take time off from work.

Given the potential impacts of prolonged workplace stress, learning ways to manage, reduce, and prevent stress at work can be important tools for mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Simple tips to reduce feeling stressed with work

Here are 6 simple tips to reduce feeling stressed at work:

  1. Reduce your to-do list
  2. Go for a walk to clear your mind
  3. Take time out to think through things clearly
  4. Identify which situations cause the most stress
  5. Get some support
  6. Re-connect with your goals

Signs of feeling stressed at work 

There are many warning signs to show you if you feel stressed at work.  Overwhelm and tiredness are typical signs of feeling stressed at work.

When you feel overwhelmed at work, you lose confidence, don’t take action and may feel frustrated, anxious, irritable and lose interest in work.   Stress also leads to extreme tiredness or fatigue.  When you are tired you can’t focus, which lowers productivity.

Other symptoms of work-related stress include taking lots of time off, feeling you can’t cope with work, finding it hard to concentrate on work, finding it difficult to make decisions and constantly worrying about work.

How to manage stress at work

Take these 10 steps to manage stress at work

1. Celebrate wins to reduce stress 

We often feel stressed at work when we don’t feel we’re making any progress.  When you work longer and longer hours without the rewards, stress can happen.  To reduce feeling stressed at work, start celebrating your achievements.

When you focus on making daily progress, and celebrating wins, you will feel more confident, which lowers stress.

Rather than worrying about doing everything perfectly and comparing yourself to others, a major source of stress and anxiety, focus on your own goals, and making progress daily.

Try this simple tip for reducing stress at work.  At the end of every day, write down 3 things that you achieved that day. It could be big or small. The point is that you made progress, even if it was just a little step.

2. Take up yoga

Exercise can be a stress reliever.  Being active makes you feel better about yourself and gives you more energy.  You may know that exercise will help, but you feel too stressed to find the time to do it.  To lower stress at work, start small and build up.

Yoga is great for improving flexibility and strengthening our core, but it is also known to induce feelings of calm.  Yoga can improve your heart health when you’re feeling stressed, if you do it regularly.

By spending 15 minutes a day doing yoga, you could reduce your blood pressure by as much as 10%.

In a study by Canadian researchers, they found that, among people being treated for high blood pressure, those who spent 15 minutes five time a week in quiet relaxation, saw no improvement to their condition.

However, those who stretched for the same time experienced a 5% drop in blood pressure, and those who practiced deep breathing saw a 7% drop.

3. Meditate to create calm

Meditation can improve physical health, boost the immune systems and increase our ability to cope with stress.

Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says mindfulness meditation is perfect for reducing stress both short- and long-term:

“People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power … You might think ‘I’m late, I might lose my job if I don’t get there on time, and it will be a disaster!’ Mindfulness teaches you to recognize, ‘Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just that–a thought, and not a part of my core self.’”

When you’re feeling stressed at work, meditation can help improve your attention and concentration, improve your self-control and give you greater overall psychological well-being.

By meditating for just 10-15 minutes per day, it can help reduce stress hormone levels, increasing serotonin, and strengthening your ability to let go of thoughts that don’t serve you.

You can download a meditation app such as Headspace to help you, work with a meditation partner or just give it a go, and see how it helps you.

4. Breathe through the stress

A powerful way to stay centered and to counteract the physical effects of anxiety and stress at work is to focus on your breathing.

When you’re feeling stressed and your breathing becomes shallow and chest-centered, then breathing deeply or “belly breathing’ can help by lowering cortisol and signalling to your nervous system to rest.

When you’re feeling trapped, frustrated or really stressed at work, take yourself out of the environment you’re in and find a quiet space to simply breathe.

Learn these 5 breathing exercises for anxiety to calm anxiety quickly.

5. Take a walk 

When we exercise we feel calmer and less stressed.  You can combat the physical and mental effects of work stress by getting some exercise, or simply take a walk.

Taking time out of your day for a walk or exercise can provide relief for many of the symptoms of stress at work

Exercise can enhance your mood, increase energy levels, give us goals to focus on, improve motivation, challenge us and help us sleep better.

Exercise allows our muscles to move, it encourages blood flow and gets us breathing a lot deeper.

Try any racket sport, going to the gym, HIIT training, boxing or more mind-body activities such as tai-chi or Pilates.

The point is, when you’re feeling stressed, get your body moving and find an exercise activity that works for you.

This may be doing something by yourself, in a room of people or part of a team. Pick something that fits you.

6. Manage your time better

Being overcommitted leads to stress at work.  To manage stress levels, develop time management skills to reduce job stress. Not having a balanced schedule, struggling to switch off from work and working too much is a recipe for stress and burnout.

If you feel stressed at work and struggle to switch off when you get home, you are more likely to experience additional stress and anxiety.

To reduce feeling stressed, it is essential to unplug daily and create healthy boundaries that separate your work and home life.

Detaching yourself from work can be hard if your jobs are highly stressful, demanding and all consuming.

But to ensure you are productive at work and fully present when you are at home, it’s crucial.

It can help reduce stress at work, create less work fatigue and procrastination, build better work-life balance and improve mental health.

If you don’t detach from work, it’s much easier for you to be more distracted, burned-out and increase feelings of stress at work . Your sleep, happiness and general sense of wellbeing will also be affected.

7. Disconnect from technology

When you make yourself available to everyone 24/7, you can expose yourself to numerous stressors.

Forcing yourself to take a break from technology can help. This includes taking a break from your phone and taking a break from email at work, where possible.

Technology enables constant communication and often the expectation that you are always available.

It is difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email or message can change your train of thought and get you thinking about work.

Constant notifications on your phone also don’t help when we’re at work.

We take a look at what our friends and network are doing, often, because we don’t want to miss out. That fear of missing out can cause anxiety – what have I missed?

It also creates a lot of stress at work when we start comparing our lives to those of others.

Create your own path and take a break from the technology.

8. Practice daily intentions 

The art of practicing daily intentions can be a powerful way of managing and reducing stress at work.

It can be as simple as stating what you want to happen that day or writing down at the start of each day what you feel grateful for.

I write down 3 things I’m grateful for as well as my weekly and 90 day goals. I share these with others to gather support and stay positive.

Gratitude brings together positive emotions like joy, contentment and hope and gives your mind a positive boost.

9. Declutter your home and work space

Excessive clutter can be a symptom and cause of stress and anxiety at work.

Your home and work environment can often be an external representation of what’s happening internally. It can overload your sense and your mind.

If something is cluttered, it’s very difficult to focus and it can feel like there are a million things to do, scattering your thoughts.

Clutter can distract, weigh you down and can create stress in your life. This clutter can also include the relationships that take up lots of time and energy, don’t really go anywhere and cause you more stress than joy.

So, start small and focus on different areas at a time.

When I started decluttering, my first focus was my office and then I moved into my home.

Although it might feel worse before it gets better, committing to and taking small steps can pay big dividends.

10. Talk to someone 

When you have a lot of stress at work, one of the best things you can do is reach out and talk with someone.

When you share your concerns or feelings with someone, it can help relieve some of the stress or anxiety you feel.

It starts with choosing someone you can trust, someone who gets you and can validate you.

So, call a trusted friend, family member, colleague or mentor and just talk.

You can also create a group of people going through similar feelings of stress or anxiety.

Just like with a Mastermind group for business owners comes together to collaborate, learn and support each other, explore creating a similar group.

Summing Up 

These 10 tips can help you reduce anxiety and stress at work. They will help you become strong-minded and can be incorporated together into your daily life.

Try them. See which ones make a real difference in your business and life. If they work, share the knowledge with someone else who’s feeling stress at work.

About the Author

Mark Pettit is a small business coach to business owners who want to simplify their time, energy and focus so they can multiply their freedom, impact and results.

Get more articles, tips and tools to help you simplify your time to multiply your results on the blog.

Sign up to my Time For What Matters newsletter.

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