I used to be a case manager at a nonprofit that targeted the under-served youth and elderly population. As a nonprofit, every three months the organization had to go through an “audit” where every file and piece of paperwork in the building was to be analyzed and critiqued in order to make sure the grant money we were receiving was being used for what is was intended for. For two months before the audit, my coworkers and I worked over time and poured over hundreds and hundreds of files to make sure there were no mistakes. Needless to say, I was not in a very good state of mind at the time. I was constantly stressed and mentally drained. This was the first time I had stress at work and I had to learn how to deal with it. Here are a few ways I learned on how to deal with work related stress.
First, I tried to make it a point to spend more time with the people I enjoyed spending time with. Family, friends, even the coworkers I spent over 40 hours a week with. Work related stress is best left at work and spending time with friends and family who know nothing of what you do is sometimes best. I would find myself complaining about my job endlessly and could see that I was beginning to annoy people. So rather than talk about work, I would go out to the movies, dinner- anything to get my mind off my stress. The same rule applied with my coworkers. We would go out for drinks but absolutely no work talk was allowed. It’s amazing how stress at work can be relieved by learning to focus on other things in your life.
Second, and this may sound cliché, but spending more time outdoors and being more active will help with stress at work. The exercise will clear your mind and allow you to focus on something else entirely. During the month of hell, as I so tenderly referred to it, I took part in the active pastimes that I had neglected over time which included biking and rollerblading. Do whatever you like to do to stay active, whether it be taking a short walk around your neighborhood or going to the gym, just do it. You’ll soon see that the physical activity is a major help in dealing with stress at work.
Finally, and most importantly, try to have at least one or two people who you can vent your work related stress to. While you don’t want to embed yourself in your work and obsess over the situation, we all sometimes need to get things off our chest and it’s best to talk about it rather than keep it in. However, as with all things in life, moderation is key. Call up your best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, mom – vent and cry and complain – then move on. Like I stated before, work related stress is best left at work.
So this is my “how to deal with work related stress”. These tips worked for me and hopefully they will work for you as well. If not, there’s always happy hour. though I don’t recommend this be your go to.
IMAGE: Courtesy of StepStone