No matter how much we may love our jobs and the people we work with, work can be a major cause of personal stress. Whether we’re worrying about completing projects on time, getting along with difficult co-workers, or staying in the boss’s good graces, it can be a challenge to stay physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy throughout the work week. Here are some tips to help you stay focused and happy on the job:
Take care of your physical self
A tired, poorly nourished body can lead to a stressed mind. Make sure you’re staying hydrated and eating healthy, vegetable-heavy meals throughout your workday. And while it can be hard to fit work-outs in when you’re working full-time, try to get at least a little bit of exercise (a nice brisk walk during lunch hour can do the trick) to stay active and clear your mind. Conversely, it’s also important to get lots of sleep — practice good bedtime rituals (i.e. stay away from your phone, and especially work emails as you’re getting ready to turn in) so that you can face work well rested and ready to go.
Let it out
A little bit of venting can go a long way. While focusing on the negative aspects of work can become consuming if you over-indulge in complaining, if you’re dealing with a stressful project or work situation, it can feel good to express your frustrations and just get it out. Go out for a coffee with a trusted co-worker for a little venting session or turn to outside friends and family to get that stress off your chest.
If you have a lot on your plate at work, start your day (or week) with a plan. Organize and schedule what you’re going to do and allot a realistic amount of time to do it — then stick to your plan and try to minimize distractions like social media and workplace gossip. If you find that you can’t reasonably fit what you need to get done into your work week, talk to your supervisor and see if you can push the project’s deadline or get some extra help.
Take some personal time
Most of us end up taking a little bit of our work home or working overtime hours — but if possible, try to turn off your work brain when you’re off the clock. If you get weekends off, use them to actually spend time with friends and family or to engage in hobbies and activities that you really love.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Some of your stress may be self-generated. If you find yourself being overly critical of your own work or needlessly comparing yourself to others, learn how to identify that thinking and tell yourself to stop.
Get help if you need it
If work-related stress is affecting your ability to work or enjoy your life outside of work, don’t hesitate to seek help from a councilor or other medical professional.