Stress is America's number one health problem. Work-related stress is a large problem with 40 percent of workers reporting that their jobs are extremely stressful [CDC]. Stress can negatively affect mood and sleep patterns, and can cause upset stomach and headaches. There are things you can do to fight back.
Here's how to relieve stress at work:
- Don't overload yourself. Make a priority list and set realistic goals and deadlines. By sticking to your schedule, you can take comfort in knowing you'll get everything done. You can even give yourself mini-rewards for meeting goals [Mayo].
- Take breaks. If you feel you're starting to become overwhelmed, take a few minutes to get up, walk around and think about something else.
- Practice deep breathing. Take full, deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling to a count of five each. This is especially helpful if you can't take a break.
- Create a social network of friends both in and out of work. Friends offer necessary support when things bother us.
- Talk with your coworkers about non-work-related topics. Maintain a positive tone. If your coworkers are being negative, walk away.
- Engage in enjoyable activities when you're not working. Hobbies help maintain a balance between work and play.
- Stay healthy. Get regular exercise and enough sleep, and maintain a healthy diet.
- Listen to enjoyable or relaxing music while you work or during breaks. It also helps to listen to something soothing on the way to and from work.
- Have a pleasant aroma around your workspace. Aromatherapy is known to help relieve stress. A scented candle or flowers could do the trick.
- Avoid excessive use of stimulants, like caffeine, as they can add to stress levels [Stress].
- Identify the main causes of your stress and find ways to avoid them. If your work conditions are stressful, don't be afraid to approach management about them. They know that a happy worker is a better worker.