depressed businessman stress

10 Ways to Beat Stress at Work

We all face stress at work; that’s a given. Here are some pointers to beat that stress…

Productivity, effectiveness, responsibilities, deliverables, targets…there are so many things we need to be aware of in the workplace. At any given time, multiple tasks demand our attention. There are distractions – right from a chatty colleague to a badly-timed phone call to coffee breaks. And then there is the need to deal with unreasonable colleagues at the senior or peer level. Over and above that, uncertainty at work – right from the future of the company to one’s own growth path – is another factor.

Then there is your personal life – relationships, commitments, chores that need attention. Is it surprising, then, that there is much stress and unhappiness in modern life?

While one can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed, it may pay more to get a hold and beat stress by following these simple tips:

  1. Not every task is priority: Learn to priorities critical and noncritical tasks. Make a list and tick them off as you complete each one. This way, you will have a better control on what you are spending time on and can prune the list.
  2. Learn to say no: Sometimes, this may seem risky. But when you are firm and clear, surprisingly, it is accepted better than when you sound hesitant and apologetic. It could be some unimportant task at work, or an avoidable social event. This way, you can keep your focus on tasks that need your attention.
  3. Rest first, all the rest later: The tendency to work into the night cuts down on sleep time, which increases stress. A well-rested mind and body are better equipped to face the challenges thrown by life and work.
  4. Eat well, and on time: The other tendency for those buried in work is to forget their stomachs and skip meals, or eat whatever is available. It is true that we eat to live and not live to eat. But, we need to eat to live. On time, balanced meals keep us healthy and happy and provide us with the energy to sustain.
  5. Exercise regularly: Hmmm… You think, ‘I don’t have time to eat and sleep and you are asking me to exercise?’ Exercising increases the endorphins in the brain, oxygen supply to the body and rejuvenates us. This can improve our sense of well-being, which in turn helps us to deal with challenges.
  6. Focus on breathing: While we breathe every moment, we hardly pay it any attention. The moment you do, it changes your mindset. Deep breathing is a great stress buster and can help you relax. Spend a few minutes periodically to pay attention to this link between life and death. Everything else will come into perspective.
  7. Switch off the distractions: Of course, stress has been with us even before the smartphone and social media era. But with the Internet, there is no personal space and no time that is sacrosanct. Put the phone on silent and devote your attention purely to the task on hand. You will find you are faster and more efficient, which will boost your sense of self-worth and confidence and reduce stress.
  8. Delegate: Many of us tend to suffer from the malady of perfection – believing only we can do a task well. That could be true. But take time to set expectations, train and delegate work. This will reap huge benefits as it brings down the number of items in your to-do list.
  9. Focus on solutions: A lot of times, a problem takes over our thinking, and we become overwhelmed and stressed. Instead, look at the various solutions for that problem. This is more positive and shows us the light ahead.
  10. Relax: Apart from resting, also unwind with a hobby. Each day is a new challenge. Even soldiers sing and dance in the evenings to forget their time in the battlefield. When you sing, dance, read a book, cook or knit because you love to, then it helps you drop all the pressures and face the next day with renewed vigor. Spending time with friends and relatives can also be a stressbuster.

We get but one life. Work is just one part – an important part but not the only part. We are not indispensable, and many can assert from experience, that no employer is either. Worrying about the uncertain future is what adds to our misery. Take time to enjoy, observe and assess the present.