Dealing With Stress in the Workplace

Dealing With Stress in the Workplace

Stress in the workplace is inevitable, but what isn’t is how you deal with it. Everybody deals with stress differently, and not all workplaces are conducive to taking breaks and going for nature walks outside. However, there are several techniques you can do in a stressful workplace to manage how much the stress gets to you.

Managing Stress with Meditation

One way to deal with a stressful environment is to utilize meditation. Meditation can be practiced in several forms. While most people think of sitting on the floor with your eyes closed, you can manage stress in the workplace with walking meditation, seated meditation while at your desk, eating meditation at lunch, or outdoor meditation while walking around your business complex.

For example:

  • Tina brings her headphones with her to work, and when she is feeling particularly stressed, she takes a minute to step outside or sit at her desk, put in her headphones, and listen to a short guided meditation.
  • Gary focuses on “square breathing,” where he inhales, holds it, exhales, and holds it all for a count of four. He does this while walking to and from meetings.
  • Siobhan works from home, but she still deals with a great deal of stress in the workplace. So, she meditates by going outside and walking up and down her street whenever she has an allocated break.

Managing Stress with Breaks

One of the biggest sources of workplace stress simply comes from not taking enough breaks. 

You might be stressed because one team member has been put in charge of a project, and now four other team members want updates on what’s going on, and they keep supplying unwanted ideas.

You might be stressed because two bosses are demanding the same amount of time and effort from you even though you only work for one of them.

Whatever your source of stress, it can work wonders for you to take breaks regularly. For example:

  • Stephanie is a teacher, but when she tries to take breaks in the break room, other teachers want to complain or ask her for advice. So Stephanie takes her breaks outside or in her locked classroom when the weather is bad. This gives her a chance to clear her head, do light stretching or meditation, or just read a page from her favorite book.
  • Nicholas is a CEO constantly working with tight deadlines and several teams scattered across the United States. He manages stress by setting a timer to go off every hour and spending 10 minutes of every hour going outside the office building and walking around. It gives him a chance to stretch, take his eyes off the screen, and pull himself out of his workplace stress.

Managing Stress in the Workplace with Boundaries

The covid pandemic made workplace stress much higher for many people, especially those with pre-existing anxiety or depressive disorders. Being reachable at home quickly parlayed into being reachable at all hours and being expected to work at all hours.

One way to manage stress in the workplace is to set up a workplace flow for yourself with a designated area where projects and phone calls are handled and to set boundaries for everything else.

For example:

  • Michael has a hybrid working schedule. He works from home three days per week, and he goes to the office the other two. When he works from home, he has meetings at 6:00 a.m. because he has to meet with a group overseas. Michael makes it clear that on those days when he has 6:00 a.m. meetings, he will not be in the office after 3:00 p.m. He does not answer phone calls and does not respond to emails on those days after 3:00 p.m.

Managing a Stressful Workplace with Technology

Another way to deal with a stressful work environment is to make the most out of technology. For many people, technology is often at the root of a stressful workplace, but if you are able to acknowledge that, you can find ways to set boundaries effectively and make the most out of technology.

For example:

  • Juan needs to be able to communicate with three separate work groups. All three of them use different forms of documents, formatting, and communication apps. Juan has set things up so that all of his notifications from the three different communication apps get routed to his email, and he has turned off all forms of desktop or mobile phone notifications. This means he only has to check one place.
  • Sharon has to communicate with three different work groups, but she is unable to streamline everything to one location. So Sharon sets up timer functions where she only checks her email for 1 hour each day at the same time. When her timer goes off, she opens her email, but until that time, she works on projects without interruption. Her phone is silenced during this time. Her phone is unsilenced during the hour when she checks emails, so she can only be disrupted when she is not actively engaged in projects.

Get Help with Coping Mechanisms

Managing stress means having appropriate coping mechanisms that you can use in your workplace. You might not be able to leave work every hour to take a break, but you might be able to listen to a podcast or calming music that helps slow down your perception of time. If you need help learning coping mechanisms that you can apply to a stressful workplace, Water Gap Wellness Center offers clients top-tier outpatient mental health services. Our premier facility provides mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment in Pennsylvania.

Call us today to learn more about how you can learn to manage a stressful work environment.

About WGWC

Water Gap Wellness Center offers expert and compassionate treatment for mental health and substance abuse at our Pennsylvania facility, just outside New Jersey, a short drive from New York. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you today. 

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