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Career Monday: Is Your Job Stressing You Out? 12 Ways to Decompress

As you’ve probably discovered, your work can trigger all kinds of stress reactions. From minor annoyances to heart attacks, on-the-job stress is a major cause of many mental and physical ailments. Are you suffering the consequences of workplace stress?

Consider these questions:

• Do you find yourself feeling annoyed with your supervisor or co-workers?
• Have you been looking for excuses to be late to work or to stay home occasionally?
• Do you get a stomach ache or headache within an hour after getting to work?
• Are you having trouble focusing on a work project because your emotions are wrought up over a work incident?

If you answered “Yes” to any one of these questions, you’re probably experiencing job-related stress. The good news is: if you’re proactive about managing your work stress level, you’ll feel less wound up and enjoy more success at work.

Try these strategies to deal with job stress:

1. Remind yourself, “it’s just work.” There will be times you’ll have a difference of opinion with your boss or co-workers. Consider it creative disagreement and move on.

2. Learn to recognize the things you control at the office. By the same token, let go of the things you’re not able to control. Your work life will become much lighter and brighter when you acknowledge both of these issues.

3. Work through “resolvable” issues immediately. Rather than let issues fester and grow, if it’s within your power to negotiate a resolution, do it as soon as you can.

4. When you feel overwhelmed, ask for assistance or guidance. Everyone occasionally experiences work struggles. In nearly every situation, it’s appropriate to ask for help at work.

5. Establish your work priorities; then methodically work to complete your projects. List your tasks in order of priority. Start at the top of the list and work down, crossing off tasks as you go.

• If you have any questions whatsoever about which task or project is more important to complete first, proceed directly to your supervisor and ask. Avoid excess job stress by seeking guidance if you need it.

6. Silently review all the reasons you do the work you do. Re-connect emotionally with all the positives you love about work. These realities about your career are far more important than the things that stress you.

7. Vow to avoid drama at work. Refrain from allowing yourself to generate too many feelings about work. After all, it’s business. It’s best to use tact, neutrality, and diplomacy when dealing with co-workers. Your chances of experiencing work stress will be vastly reduced.

8. Take a brisk 15 minute walk when you get home. There’s nothing like a walk to clear out the stress from your work day. Tell yourself that by the time you get back home, you’ll be thinking about what you’ll have for dinner. Walking after work is a great habit to develop for so many reasons.

9. Use visual imagery techniques to let go of minor annoyances and frustrations. Imagine your stress is a big red ball. You throw it into the ocean and watch it bob away on the waves. Say “good-bye” as the ball is completely submerged far in the distance.

10. Soothe yourself after you arrive home. Snuggle up in your blanket on the sofa and read your novel for a bit. Call your brother or a friend to chat. When you soothe yourself, you’re showing you know how to take care of your own troublesome feelings.

11. Journal your feelings about work. When you write down your irritations and sources of stress, you can psychologically release the negative feelings you experience.

12. Practice yoga or meditation to de-stress. The eastern philosophies of yoga and meditation soothe the souls of millions of people the world over. You’ll be surprised at how effective these methods are at eliminating your stress and keeping you more centered and relaxed.

Work stress is an unfortunate result of the human condition. Everyone deals with it from time to time. Practice these methods to remain optimistic and keep your work stress at manageable levels. You’ll re-discover the passion you have for your career!

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