Some stress is good for you. It makes you more alert, focused, and engaged. Over time, exposure to it can make you more resilient mentally and physically.
Unfortunately, too much stress can do more harm than good. And if not managed properly, it can overwhelm you and cause problems in your life.
Whether it’s pressure to perform, lack of control, or micromanagement issues, you need to know how to effectively manage job-related stress so it doesn’t follow you home and ruin your sanity. Life is too short to spend more than 40 hours a week worrying about things that are out of your control.
If you are looking for ways to reduce stress, here are four tips, along with simple tools and apps that you can use.
1Separate your mindsets
One of the most important things you need to do when managing job stress is knowing when to turn the “work mindset” off for the day. Once you close your computer and leave the building, nothing inside that office should matter until the next day.
If you are having trouble finding the “off switch”, try to immerse yourself in activities that will require your undivided attention. Getting involved in a pickup game or meeting some people for a drink are both great ways to escape.
As appealing as it sounds to just plop down on the couch and sit around after a long day, doing this will just force you to brood over what is stressing you out. It’s important to remember that you are not being paid to think about your job while you are at home or out trying to enjoy yourself.
2Organize your workload
Sometimes, the best way to handle stress is to get to the root cause.
Poor organization is an extremely common reason people get overwhelmed at their jobs. The idea of juggling multiple projects and tasks at once is enough to make anyone’s head spin.
If you feel like you’re constantly being pulled into too many directions at once and things are slipping through the cracks, it’s time to take a step back and rethink your system. Continuing down this path will not do you any good, especially your sanity.
A good strategy to consider is dividing up and prioritizing your time into blocks. Take 30 minutes or so to focus on exclusive tasks to ensure you are getting things done without distraction. Many times, when you try to do everything, you end up accomplishing nothing.
Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done. In this case, utilizing a project management resource is one of the best decisions a company can make. Workzone, for example, is a task and resource management tool which has been tried and tested by big-name companies, like Adidas, Bose and Wells Fargo. It allows managers to monitor workloads by the hour in order to make sure work is evenly spread out and completed in time.
In the long run, implementing a reliable system that makes collaboration, communication and achieving milestones easier will be beneficial for everyone’s mental health as well as the company’s revenue.
3Don’t skimp on sleep
One of the most common side effects of stress is not being able to fall asleep at night. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most detrimental.
Sleep deprivation can interfere with just about every aspect of your life- both personally and professionally. A study by the University of Rochester Medical Center found that there are toxic proteins in your brain that can only sleeping can remove. If these proteins remain, they can impair your ability to think rationally, no matter how much caffeine you consume.
The key is to get into a good rhythm. Set a schedule and stick to it. Try to get around eight hours per night. Next, eliminate screen time before bed. Watching TV or looking at your phone stimulates your brain and negatively affects your sleep pattern. Try reading a book instead.
Do yourself a favor and get on a beneficial cycle. You can never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.
4Know when to walk away
In some cases, work stress can simply be out of your control. The level of micromanagement or company-wide disorganization can be beyond your power to fix.
If it’s getting to the point where you simply dread getting out of bed in the morning, you aren’t finding joy in anything and each day seems to be the worst day of your life, it may be time to just quit. There is no shame in leaving a miserable, hopeless situation.
Sticking around a toxic environment where there is no clear path to improvement will eventually drive you off the edge and into a depression. While financial security is the biggest hesitation, no amount of money is worth your sanity. If it comes down to it, you can always wait tables or work odd jobs until you’re able to get back on your feet. The people who truly care about you will understand.
Remember, in the professional world, the grass can ALWAYS be greener on the other side of the fence. It just depends on where you look.
Your mental health is not something you should take lightly. Being stuck in a rut can have severe consequences if you don’t make necessary changes. Consider these bits of advice next time it feels like the psychological wear-and-tear of your job is invading the privacy of your personal life.