Everyone experiences stress at work. And the fact is, some stress is good; it keeps us on our toes, helps us hit deadlines, encourages creative thinking, and helps people and projects move forward.
But too much stress is detrimental. The most productive and effective people have strategies for dealing with that excess stress that make them appear cool and collected to the outside world — even when they’re juggling a dozen projects and deadlines.
How do they do it? With some combination of the following tactics:
- Make a list of healthy responses.
Instead of trying to drown your stress with food or alcohol, letting your stress boil over into an angry response, or numbing your feelings when you get home with mindless TV or Internet, instead try making a list of healthy things you can do when you feel stressed. Exercise might be top of your list, like going for a walk or jog, or doing some yoga. Other ideas might include a long shower, a call to a friend, writing in a journal, working on a favorite hobby, or working towards a goal like planning a vacation or even looking for a new (less stressful) job.
- Create — and maintain — some boundaries.
It’s easy to be connected 24/7 in today’s world, but doing so can add to feelings of stress. Start by setting limits on when you check work emails. If your coworkers or clients are used to you responding at all hours, you’ll need to give them notice of your new schedule.
- Switch off.
In order to truly relax, you need time when you are neither working nor thinking about work. Start creating some space in your calendar that’s just for you, and not colored by working or worrying about work. Take your vacation days and make them a real vacation away from work. Or, if you can’t take time off, when you’re not at work, engage in activities that require your attention and can take your mind off work.