Ten Ways to Reduce Stress so you can be Happy at Work
There are lots of stresses at work. A little stress can help us to grow and thrive at work but too much is not healthy. In my November Road to Success article I describe ways that stress can actually make you sick. It is important then to manage the stress in your life so that it won’t overwhelm you. First you will need to become aware of the stresses in your work life and then find a way to reduce the stress. My list below contains some methods I use with my clients to help them reduce stress.
- Address your beliefs – Pressure and stress come from within you. If the voice in your head tells you that your work must be perfect and then you worry about potential errors or repercussions of your work when you hand off the work, then you are going to be stressed each time you hand off work to someone else. Focus on the many times you have done it well rather than “what could happen”.
- De-clutter – Hard to believe that clutter can be stressful but it can. A client complained to me that she had 2 big boxes in her office that were supposed to be put in an outer closet but she never got around to doing it. When I mentioned that clutter can be draining, she laughed. At our next session she told me she decided to put the boxes away and was surprised that she felt so much better. She said it was as if those boxes were on her shoulders and she couldn’t get them off. Now without the boxes she felt freer and had more energy.
- Re frame – It is all in how you look at something. Language and attitude make the difference. Are you looking at something as a problem that could be re framed into something positive? One client was asked to work with a problem client. The client was known to be argumentative. My client felt the stress of wanting to perform well and being put in a situation where good performance would be nearly impossible. Instead she decided to look at the situation as a challenge that she was up to. She began to see herself as being the only one that this client requested to work with in the future! Her vision came true!
- Under promise and over deliver – Deadlines can be stressful especially if you are not sure you can meet them. When negotiating a delivery date leave enough time so the project can be completed without rushing. You may please the client or your boss initially by promising an early delivery date but that will lead to stress for you and maybe even a disappointment for the client or boss if the work can’t be completed when promised.
- Delegate appropriately – If you try to do everything yourself you are bound to be stressed and overwhelmed. Delegate anything that is repetitious and does not require your level of expertise. If possible off load anything that doesn’t use your strengths. Leave breathing room in your day.
- Plan your schedule – Schedule your work with deadlines in mind. Once a week review upcoming due dates and plan your work accordingly. Know your daily priorities by reviewing your work schedule and avoid stress by completing your work ahead of schedule. Leave a cushion of time for surprises.
- Power hour – Establish a period of time (an hour or more if needed) when you work without interruption. Let others know about your power hour. Shut off audible alarms for email and telephone ringing. You will have less stress at work if you know you have time to complete everything. You must be consistent about your power hour so everyone knows you are serious!
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – Make sure you are eating 3 nutritious meals in a stress free setting (no lunch at your desk!). Get enough sleep (6 to 8 hours for most people). If you are hungry or tired minor irritants become major stresses.
- Quiet Time – Give yourself the gift of quiet time. Whether you meditate, go for a walk or just day dream; take a break from your work. Take 10 or 15 minutes to refresh yourself and re energize.
- Take Time off –Take at least one week of vacation a year and have one day during the weekend as your a day of rest and relaxation. You gain perspective when you take time off and the rest allows you to approach your work with energy and enthusiasm. (Read my article 10 Reasons Everyone Needs a Vacation)
Need some help? A coach can be helpful in working with you to reduce the stress at work and in your life. Sometimes just identifying the stressors is helpful. Once you identify what is stressing to you, a coach will help you to find strategies to deal with the stress. If you are interested in working with me on reducing stress, please call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.