Deadlines… Interruptions… Meetings… Heavy workloads… Daily commutes…Feeling a little stressed out lately? It’s not surprising. Employees everywhere are being asked to do more with less–many beyond their limitations. But you do have a choice. You can let it get to you, or you can fight back!
The advice below can help you conquer today’s challenges and prevent future stressors from getting the best of you.
Resolving Today’s Stress
Identify the enemy. Recognize the things that cause you stress. What gets to you? Unclear priorities? Too many demands? Poor relationships with co-workers? If you can point to specific problems, you have a better chance of resolving them.One good way to focus on causes of stress is to write your troubles down. Often, you’ll notice patterns emerging. What looks like many problems at first can sometimes be reduced to one or two causes. Another helpful method is to talk about your problems with a trusted co-worker. He or she may be able to shed some new light on a situation or offer a creative solution. And if you can’t turn to someone in the office, you may want to seek help from a mentor or professional counselor.
Develop your battle plans. Once you find out what causes your stress, develop a plan to deal with those stressors. Some problems are best met head on, so if you need to crunch those numbers, or ask for help, or get something off your chest, do it.
That said, don’t forget that there’s more than one way to cope with a problem. Can you forget about it? Laugh it off? Find a compromise?
Celebrate victory. Conquering the stresses in your life is a big accomplishment. So when you successfully overcome a problem at work, reward yourself! Such positive reinforcement helps you gain new confidence and be better prepared to handle the new causes of stress that will inevitably arise.
Preventing Tomorrow’s Stress
Be realistic. Know your limits. Stress will always be a problem if you continue to drive yourself too hard all the time. Don’t be afraid to say “no” when you need a break.Similarly, it’s unfair to expect 100% perfection from anyone–including yourself. Practice the 90% rule, keeping in mind that less than perfect can still be excellent. And if 90% is still too much to handle, ask for help!
Be flexible. If you’re constantly in opposition with others at work, it may be time to rethink your approach. Arguing only increases stress–even if you’re right. Why not try to compromise? Your relationship with co-workers will improve, and you’ll likely come up with better solutions.
And when misunderstandings or conflicts with co-workers do arise, resist the urge to hold a grudge. It’s better to sort out your differences quickly, and then forgive and forget. Save your energy for more constructive tasks.
Be healthy. Exercise regularly–it’s a great way to relieve stress. Use the company fitness room, take a walk during lunch, or forgo the elevator for the stairs. You should also practice good nutrition by watching the fat, sugar, cholesterol, and salt.Finally, avoid the illusion of control that chemicals give you. Don’t smoke. Watch your alcohol and caffeine intake. Remember that real control comes through effort; dependence on drugs is merely a means of escape.
You can’t avoid stress, but you can control how you react to it. By taking charge and developing smart habits that resolve and prevent stress, you can win the battle!