How to handle stress at work
So you want to know how to handle stress at work? I get it. Work is one of the primary causes of stress in life, especially if you have to deal with difficult people.
Stress at work comes in all different forms and shapes. Some of it is actually good stress like deadlines and potential promotions. These motivate us to work harder and actually get things done.
Then there are the crises. An angry customer. A broken machine. The grumpy boss. An unanticipated blunder.
Too many of us go into panic mode when dealing with these issues. But there are many ways to deal with them for productively. Try these 7 things instead:
1. Be Prepared
If you expect your work-life to ever be 100% stress-free, then you are setting yourself up for disappointed. Stresses are a part of life, and especially a part of work. After all, doesn’t the word ‘work’ indicating doing something stressful?
The first thing you can do to leverage work stress is to be prepared for it. Make mental notes of things that can possibly go wrong. Now make mental notes of how you will deal with each situation should they ever arise. This way, you will prepared and ready when such situations occur.
2. Focus on your priorities
When facing a work crisis, it is very easy to get lost in the drama and forget priorities. The key here is to remain focused on what matters: your priorities. Forbes Magazine also recommends prioritizing as a way of dealing with work stress.
Simply put, no matter what the crisis is: figure out your priorities for the day focus on getting those done.
3. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Muslim Matters has a really awesome article on Sunnah relaxation techniques. Adopt the ones that work best for you and utilize them during such stressful situations. Even simple steps like washing your face, taking a walk (my favorite) or breathing exercises will go a long way in helping you stay calm under pressure. Research the topic further and find what works for you. (Just make sure to keep it halal, so no smoking!)
4. Work on long term deadlines in advance
One easily avoidable cause of stress are looming deadlines. This usually happens when we procrastinate and leave work until a few days/hours/minutes before the deadline. An easy way to overcome this is to simply start working on a project as soon as you receive it, and don’t wait for the deadline.
In my time management eBook, Getting The Barakah, I explain an easy method to do this. I call it chunking. Basically, you just break the project up into easily done daily tasks and work on one such task a day until the entire project is done. In this way, you get things done ahead of the deadline with minimal stress. Check out my eBook Getting The Barakah for more details.
5. Deal with a crisis one step at a time
A simple answer to the question: How to handle stress at work? One step at a time!
The crisis is in front of you, you have choice: stress about it or roll up your sleeves and get to work. The productive option is obviously. Figure out what needs to be done to avert the crisis and start working on it, one step at a time. Don’t stress about the entire solution, just focus on the step at hand until it is done. Then move on to the next one.
In this way, step by step you will solve the problem and avert the crisis.
6. Remind yourself that it will pass
A new day, a new work crisis. Nothing lasts forever, and every work crisis will pass. Remind yourself of this whenever you feel overwhelmed. Whatever we are dealing with today will pass if we stay focused on the solution. So there is no need to panic. And no benefit in losing our minds.
Remind yourself about this every time you face a work crisis, and you will be able to tackle it with a clearer mind.
7. Learn from the experience
In my Self-Confidence eBook Best Of Creation, I dedicate an entire chapter to the importance of learning from one’s mistakes. Mistakes and crises are important work experience. How you deal with them will reflect on your resume.
When people say they are looking to hire someone with experience, this includes having experienced work stress and crises and dealt with them appropriately. At the end of the day, how you deal with crises shape the kind of worker you are. These are the experiences that make you valuable, so embrace the challenge and tackle it with a positive mindset and the humility needed to learn!
And that is how to handle stress at work!