7 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress at Work

Issue # 
September 6, 2022

Whether meeting a tight deadline or handling a disgruntled customer, most of us have felt overwhelmed at some point in our careers. Feeling stressed now and then isn't a major concern. In fact, it can help keep you motivated to stay on track.  

However, unmanaged long-term work stress can significantly affect our health and wellbeing, causing fatigue, insomnia, substance abuse, high blood pressure, and heart disease, among many other things. 

Chronic stress in the workplace is a real issue in the United States, with 94% of workers reporting stress from their job and an estimated $300 billion a year in healthcare costs

Learning healthy coping strategies at your current job can help you effectively manage stress and keep burnout at bay. Not sure where to start? We put together 7 ways to help you reduce stress at work.

Causes of workplace stress

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), work-related stressors often are a result of:

  • Limited or no opportunities for growth or advancement
  • Boredom or feeling unchallenged 
  • Unmanageable workload 
  • Insufficient pay 
  • A lack of social support
  • A lack of control over decisions related to the job 
  • Unclear expectations

Managing stress at work 

No matter your level of experience or the industry you work in, you're likely to feel overwhelmed from time to time. Effectively managing job-related stress can benefit your overall health and happiness, professionally and personally. 

Identify and tackle stress-triggers

Knowing how to handle stress is challenging when you don't know exactly what's causing it. There are many possible causes, so with some self-awareness, you can nail down which factors are driving your stress to create a plan to eliminate or reduce them. 

For example, the long commute to and from work is starting to wear on you. A solution would be to talk to your manager or boss about the possibility of working from home on certain days of the week. 

Start the day on the right foot

You woke up to pouring rain, your kids missed the bus, you forgot your coffee, and your car’s battery died because the headlights were accidentally left on. Starting the day stressed has a habit of carrying through to the workplace. 

While things will happen, having a solid, realistic morning routine can help eliminate the stress that can set the tone for the day. Start with meditation, journaling, a nutritional breakfast, and positive self-talk. You might just find that some of your triggers disappear. 

Get organized

Whether it's your desk, your calendar, or both, clutter can cause chaos. Look around and see where clutter might be causing stress for you at work. From there, you can implement different ways to stay organized, such as:

  • Setting up time blocks on your calendar to help you avoid interruptions and stay on track 
  • Developing a filing system for papers, you don't necessarily need on hand
  • Creating a to-do list to prioritize tasks and projects 

Organizing yourself can help you avoid the adverse effects of clutter and help you become more efficient with your work. But remember, striving for perfectionism isn't the goal, nor is it productive. Focus on doing your best!

Set boundaries after hours 

Unplugging at the end of the workday can be challenging for many of us, especially with how accessible information is on our mobile devices. But being connected 24/7, whether by phone, email, or text, can significantly affect stress. 

There will be times when you need to communicate with coworkers or your boss after work hours, but making it the exception, not the rule, is a key to reducing burnout. 

Don't be afraid to speak up

Not clear on workplace expectations? Do your job responsibilities keep changing? Unclear requirements are one of the main contributors to burnout. 

If this is you, it's beneficial to talk with your boss about expectations and strategies for meeting them. 

Listen to music 

From lowering heart rate and cortisol levels to increasing productivity and positive thoughts, research shows that music can tremendously impact alleviating stress. 

If you aren't already, try listening to music before, during, and after work to feel more calm, cool, and collected when faced with on-the-job stressors. 

Know when to seek professional help 

If trying the above steps still isn't helping manage your stress, talking with a mental healthcare provider might be the best option. Counseling can help you learn other effective ways to handle stress inside and outside work. 

Many companies offer an employee assistance program (EAP) that sets you up with a mental health professional virtually or in person. 

Final thoughts

Stress from work can be all-consuming, unhealthy, and detrimental to your physical and mental health. However, it doesn't have to be when managed successfully. Address your triggers, set boundaries, listen to some good music, and know when to seek help.

Here at Spirtune, we strive to create a more enjoyable, modern, and accessible approach to mental health and stress management in and out of the workplace by combining neuroscience with music therapy. Download our app to get started today! 

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