18 Simple—But Effective—Ways to Reduce Stress at Work

As we know, stress is part of the package of any career field. In fact, it’s the motor that keeps our engines running at work, and keeps our productivity and creativity from stalling. However, just as we need to keep up the maintenance on our car engine so it runs smoothly, we need to take steps to keep our emotional engines from overheating. We try to find ways to reduce stress if possible. There will always be some stress, even if it stems from positive changes. So, we get as close as we can.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) describes job stress as “the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Stress also occurs when the situation has high demands and the worker has little or no control. Job stress can lead to poor health and injury.”

Don’t wait until stress leads you to burnout, and perhaps the unemployment line. Take steps now to restore your positive attitude.

Try these ideas to reduce stress and be healthier and happier:

  1. Put things in perspective and look at the big picture rather than the immediate situation.
  2. Modify your job by delegating or removing some of your responsibilities, working part-time from home, or seeking a different position in the same company.
  3. Set boundaries. Give yourself a deadline for when to leave the office and stick to it, even if you didn’t accomplish everything you intended to do.
  4. Surround yourself with comfort objects, like family photos or your kids’ artwork, that help you remember the big picture and make you smile.
  5. Exercise, even if it’s a brisk walk during lunch. Physical exertion can reduce stress and clears your mind.
  6. Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, and spending quality time with family and friends.
  7. Get away, for a short break or a longer vacation; find quiet time to relax.
  8. Get organized. Control the clutter, organize your work space, or clean up your calendar.
  9. Set priorities and do first things first. Use checklists to manage your tasks.
  10. Save your strength for the big moments. Don’t waste too much energy on the small stuff.
  11. Seek adequate feedback regarding expectations and performance.
  12. Talk with someone you trust who will just listen or will give you constructive feedback and suggestions.
  13. Build relationships at work so you know you have people to depend on when you need help, and who know you’ll be there to help them, too.
  14. Apply your sense of humor.
  15. Have realistic expectations; don’t expect too much too fast.
  16. Don’t be a perfectionist. Do the best you can and let that be good enough.
  17. Keep a positive attitude and reward yourself for small accomplishments.
  18. Avoid negative people. Surround yourself with people who share your values and your work ethic and who make you laugh.

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