Workplace stress is fast becoming a national epidemic.
Worst yet, ‘work pressure’ is now our leading cause of work cover claims related to mental health.
While there’s no denying that stress gets a pretty bad rap, the truth is that feeling stressed some of the time is actually pretty normal.
We are wired with the biological capacity to stress for good reason, it powers our ‘fight or flight’ response. And although we no longer ‘fight or flight’ like we used to, that same response can still be useful.
A short burst of stress throughout the week helps us hit deadlines, encourages good preparation and generally keeps us on our toes when we need to be.
But workplace stress becomes a problem when temporary bursts morph from every now and then to every day of the week.
So in a corporate culture obsessed with the ‘hustle’ and the ‘grind’, how can we banish workplace stress for good?
Building a healthy relationship with workplace stress
Learning to effectively manage workplace stress will help take your career from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’, without sacrificing your health in the process.
We all suffer with stress from time to time, but these four simple steps will help you build up the skills to banish chronic workplace stress for good.
1. Get more sleep!
The number one thing you can do to banish workplace stress is simple. Get. More. Sleep.
This may sound straightforward but as any good Netflix subscriber knows, it’s easier said than done. Despite the wide array of binge-worthy TV begging you to stay up all night, the verdict is in, and science says getting high quality sleep will help you feel less stressed.
2. Focus on what you can control
When it comes to better managing stress, the effects of truly focusing on what you can control cannot be underestimated.
Focusing on what you can control increases feelings of certainty and moves you away from becoming stressed about the things you can’t.
Many of you reading this will be able to relate to the anxiety that comes along with overthinking about ‘what might happen’.
So when you start to feel stress coming on, take a moment to stop and really think about what parts of the situation are within your control. Work towards addressing these and focus less on the parts that you can’t influence.
As the eloquent engineer Kelly Johnson once said… ‘keep it simple, stupid’.
The K.I.S.S principle is all about keeping things simple and prioritisation is a great way to do this. Prioritising your work will break an overwhelming to-do list down into bite-size pieces.
A short, punchy to-do list will help ease your stress and keep you focused on what’s important now. Don’t try to get everything done in a day. Pick out the priority pieces and work towards getting them done.
To help stay on track, focus on action rather than reaction. Don’t get distracted by the first new task that drops into your inbox! Or by the person who drops by with a a shiny new piece of work to do. Trust in the priorities you have set (and re-adjust if you need to) and you will be well on your way to getting your big ticket items complete!
For a step-by-step on how to prioritise at work, read our article Prioritisation: how to work smarter, not harder.
4. Get it out of your system
So the final step is usually the most fun (although I’d advise sticking to the safer and more workplace friendly options lol).
Getting stress out of your system is all about removing the effects of stress so you don’t carry it with you into the next day or week ahead.
Some good options include exercising, writing it down or venting to a mate.
But by all means please also take the silly and fun routes like blaring your favourite song in the car or breaking out into dance when you get home that night.
So that’s that! Following these four simple steps will help banish workplace stress in no time.
To learn more about workplace stress, pick up a copy of Ariana Huffington’s book Thrive. In it, Ariana takes a deep dive into what it means to be successful in today’s fast pace culture. She explores how to transform your health through things like quality sleep, mindfulness and ‘unplugging’ at regular intervals.
We are always interested in learning new and exciting ways to beat workplace stress. What do you do to unwind? Flick us an email or comment below so we can share your tips with the team 🙂
Until next time,