A 20-something’s guide to dealing with workplace stress

Work-related stress can be detrimental to your overall health and well-being, which is why it’s important to address the issue while you’re young and developing work habits. There are a lot of ways to manage work-related stress besides something drastic like quitting your job. If you learn how to deal with stress at work while you’re young, these healthy habits will keep you more relaxed and healthy as you age and your job demands even more from you.

How to deal with stress at work

 

1. Take deep breaths

Taking a minute of deep, concentrated breaths and closing your eyes is an easy way to release some of the tension in your body, a negative effect of workplace stress. When you’re overly stressed, your brain becomes overwhelmed with thoughts. As the body relaxes and releases tension, your mind becomes more clear and able to focus. It may be a good idea to have a short playlist with relaxing music. At work, take a short break twice a day to breath deeply, listen to music, let go of tension and clear your mind.

 

2. Talk it out

Some workplace stress can arise from miscommunication at the office, so it’s always a good idea to try and keep communication channels open and be as honest as possible about your work expectations. Moreover, it’s great to have a close and trusted work friend or even a supportive friend that doesn’t work with you, who can hear you express your office concerns and frustrations. Being able to release the worry and stress through words is another great stress-reliever.

 

how to deal with stress at work

 

3. Take care of yourself

Popcorn, hamburgers and pizzas are delicious in the moment, but they’re not really giving your body what it needs to be healthy and happy. Just like you wouldn’t eat french fries before a run, your brain also needs to be fed the right way so that it can function properly. Eating a healthy and balanced breakfast before work is very important. You’ll feel better, both mentally and physically, if you start incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, along with exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.

 

4. Be wary of overcommitting yourself

Sometimes work is actually just too much to handle. In efforts to impress your boss, you can find yourself saying “yes” to tasks that are going to be stressful and difficult to accomplish. Getting ahead at work does require hard work and some stressful days, but learn to balance it with lighter work weeks or taking the occasional vacation day. If you’ve recently started a job, remember that tasks will become a lot easier to accomplish once you get the hang of everyone’s expectations.

 

how to deal with stress at work

 

5. Laugh

Isn’t laughter the best kind of medicine? A smile and bright attitude are contagious and can bring people together. Being able to laugh at yourself makes the world easier to live in because everything is a little less serious and a lot more fun. Laughter is proven to help in dealing with pain and actually protect you from the negative effects of being stressed out.

 

6. Maintain positive energy

Optimism isn’t so much about having a positive attitude, but rather looking at failure as a learning opportunity instead of internalizing it. It’s the difference between “I just made this mistake because I am stupid” and “I just made this mistake because I’m new at this, I’m distracted, etc”. It’s important to give yourself a break. You’re young and learning and trying your best. If you maintain a pessimistic attitude, your health and ability to deal with stress will deteriorate.

 

7. Plan things to look forward to

When stress becomes all that you can think about, it’s a good idea to plan a relaxing night to look forward to, to help you regain your zen. Anticipation of a nice dinner after work makes getting through the day a little easier. Having a yoga class to look forward to every Monday or a weekend away from the city once a month makes a huge difference. Whatever it is that relaxes you, having a tranquil night planned will make it easier for you to finish your to-do list for the day.

 

 

Sources: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm, http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html

Photo 1. based on Stress, by Firesam!, CC-by-ND 2.0

Photo 2. based on Jogging, by Dragan, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on laughing eyes, by Bowy Gavid Bowie Chan, CC-by-SA 2.0

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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