Work stress cannot be avoided. After all, work takes up a HUGE chunk of our lives. If you spend your entire adult life working, then you are going to spend 20 to 30% of your life at work. That’s 23.3% of your total time during the course of a 50 year working-life period, 21% of your total waking hours over a 76 year lifespan, assuming 8 hours of sleep a night, 35% of your total waking hours over a 50 year working-life period assuming 8 hours of sleep a night, and 50% of your total waking hours during any given working day .
One-third of your life is a long time. Over that course of time, it is inevitable to experience some form of work-related stress. Since it is impossible to avoid feeling stressed out at work, the best thing you can do is to learn how to manage these feelings and leave them at work where they rightfully belong.
Here are 3 tips to keep your work stress at bay and your sanity in check:
Take long walks:
I am an advocate of taking walks to clear your head. Some people run, but I’m not much for running to manage stress. We all have some version of pounding the pavement: walking, hiking, running, etc. The key to this is to burn off excess energy that you would have directed towards stressing out and to redirect that energy to something that will help you decompress and clear your thoughts.
Have a “closing shop” routine:
Develop a routine that you can do at the end of a workday. For example, I clean my workstation and wipe down my monitors and keyboard before I “close shop” for the day. This signals the end of a workday for me just as a cup of coffee and connecting to my Bluetooth speakers signals the start of a workday. Having a “closing shop” routine helps get you into a mindset of leaving your work-related worries at work and starting an off-work mindset. Your work-related worries can wait until tomorrow. I know that there are work-related worries that sit on your mind long after the workday is through, but this exercise isn’t about completely forgetting them, just putting them off for a time when you can actually do something about them.
Elect a sounding board:
Choose someone, ideally someone you don’t live with, to be your sounding board for work-related stress. NOTE: It is important that your sounding board has agreed to be your sounding board. Not living with your elected sounding board would ensure that you don’t rant about work-related worries to someone who is available to you at all times, ensuring that you only talk about work stress when you see them. This accomplishes two things:
- By the time you actually see them, you would have probably solved the problem, or you would have acknowledged that it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal in the first place.
- You won’t be tempted to keep rehashing the problem over and over again compounding its stressful effect on you.
What are your tips for managing work-related stress? We’d love to hear about them in the comments. Stay humble and hustle hard!
Written by: Jaie O. – The Help