With longer hours, increased responsibilities, and economic uncertainty, modern workplaces are havens for stress. Unfortunately, stress causes more than just headaches as it can lead to poor work performance and health related problems, such as heart disease, asthma, obesity, depression, and more (as if that wasn’t enough).
In many jobs, stress seems to come with the trade, but in reality there are many things you can do to get stress under control. So, stop waiting for your boss to be less demanding or for customers to be more pleasant, and take matters into your own hands. Some things you can do are:
Stop Putting So Much Pressure on Yourself
No one is perfect, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll be fired if you mess up on one project, so convince yourself it’s ok to relax a little. Constantly trying to be the person who always goes above and beyond puts unnecessary stress on your mind and body and is a recipe for burnout. Instead, just do what’s asked of you and work hard. Don’t try to get things done in half the time or never ask anyone for help.
Pat Yourself on the Back
Unfortunately, in many work environments what you do is only noticed if you screw up. This means a lot of your hard work goes unseen or unrecognized. Instead of grumbling because you feel unappreciated, take some time to reward yourself. Something as simple as putting a big check mark or a smiley face beside completed items in your to-do list can give you an unexpected amount of satisfaction. You can also do something special, such as eating lunch out on Fridays, as a prize for a hard work week. Also, if you’re feeling unappreciated, it’s likely your co-workers are too, so get together with them and do little things to support each other.
Opt for Constructive Feedback Instead of Criticism
It’s easy to beat yourself up if you mess up at work. Instead of mentally berating yourself, remember everyone makes mistakes and try to learn from your errors. Pinpoint what caused the blunder and try to learn from it so it doesn’t happen again. Once you’ve figured out how you can avoid the problem in the future, move on and put the issue out of your mind.
Don’t Take things Personally
Keep in mind, a lot of other people are stressed too and many just have no tact, which means someone is bound to say something offensive or stupid to you on a regular basis. Don’t take it personally and try to keep your cool.
Besides being great for your overall health, one of the best ways to fight stress is exercise. A quick workout after you leave the office can help release aggression and will give you a dose of mood-boosting endorphins. Exercise can make it easier to shake off workplace pressure, so you can better enjoy your time at home.
All that said, if your boss is truly a tyrant or if you find your personality is unsuited to your profession, you may want to consider looking for a different job. No amount of stress-reducing strategies can compensate for an abusive or incredibly uncomfortable environment.