By DeVry University
Whether you’re leading an intense project, balancing a heavy workload or trying to manage other workplace dynamics, on-the-job stress can take a toll on you mentally and physically. The good news is that there are ways to find balance, even when things seem overwhelming. Take a look at this infographic for seven practical tips on how to manage stress at work.
Workplace Stress: A Growing Concern
Aside from the potential effect on your productivity at work, carrying stress for extended periods of time can result in feelings of overwhelm or burnout. Burnout is becoming such a concern that the World Health Organization (WHO) now recognizes it as an actual medical condition in their International Classification of Diseases database (ICD).
If you’ve ever felt stressed at work, you’re not alone. The CDC reports that of those surveyed in recent studies, 40% of workers say they feel stressed at work and 25% say that work was the top source of stress in their life. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more adults reported that their mental health issues have risen, with 68% of workers surveyed saying they’re afraid to let their boss know how stressed they feel.
To help manage these feelings and take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally, it’s good practice to develop healthy habits for handling stress. Below are some tips for how to manage stress at work and simplify your workday.
7 Tips for Managing Stress at Work
While there are many ways to reduce workplace stress, different methods work for different people. You might need to try a few different things to see what works for you, but here’s a good place to start:
- Outline your job duties
- Request 1:1 meetings
- Set boundaries
- Develop morning routines
- Fix your workstation
- Give yourself a break
Work is less stressful when you know exactly what is expected of you. Make a to-do list of your most important tasks for the day and the week, ranking them from most time-sensitive to the least. Or, try prioritizing tasks you can knock out easily, helping clear your plate and creating mental space for projects that will require more time and energy.
Regular face time with your manager not only helps keep you on track for meeting your goals, but also give you an opportunity to voice your concerns or brainstorm ways to manage your workload. Ask your manager for regular check-ins, such as weekly or every other week as needed. Be sure to prepare a list of topics for each meeting to use the time more effectively.
If you’re able to do so, analyze your duties to determine which ones are bogging you down and which ones make sense for your role. If you are a manager, delegate tasks that don’t require your approval or oversight to other team members. If you are responsible for what’s on your plate, consider asking a colleague for help so you can divide and conquer.
Unless you’re specifically on-call, avoid answering messages or emails outside of regular business hours. It can be all too easy for the lines between work and personal time to blur, particularly when you’re working remotely, but setting boundaries is an important part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and taking care of your mental health.
Hectic mornings set the stage for a more stressful day. Try showering and choosing your outfit the night before. Have easy breakfast options on hand and leave early so you’re not scrambling to beat traffic during your commute. Having a smooth morning routine usually means having a regular nighttime schedule as well. Try to go to bed around the same time each night to ensure you get a good night’s sleep and are ready to power through your day.
Even slight physical discomfort can raise your stress levels. Make sure your setup is as ergonomic as possible by adding an extra chair cushion to boost comfort or using a wrist cushion for your keyboard. Make your desk a more relaxing place to be by playing soothing music while you work, adding a plant or installing a glare-reducing monitor screen.
Stress and anxiety can lower your productivity, so be kind to yourself and take breaks when you feel yourself hitting a wall. Try to resist perfectionism. Everyone learns at their own pace and in their own way. Remember, it’s ok to ask for help when you need it.
Is it time to evaluate your career path?
If you’re still struggling to find balance at work, maybe it’s time to reconsider your options. If you’re thinking of going back to school, our undergraduate and graduate programs can help you get on track toward your goals. Classes start every 8 weeks and can be completed 100% online.