If work isn’t a source of stress for you, you’re part of a very small company, and a very lucky minority in the organization. There are a few specific actions you can take to hopefully alleviate the stress inherent in the office. Let’s take a look at these simple stress relievers.
One of the hardest but best steps toward reducing job stress involves abandoning the quest for perfection and instead embracing a quest for excellence. This does not mean you should care any less about your performance; it means being honest about the fact that you’re human and you’re bound to make mistakes.
Instead of beating yourself up about a mistake or two, use your shortcomings as learnings, and apply those learnings to improve future projects. Everyone makes mistakes, but by using them to improve your future work, those mistakes become stepping-stones to higher-quality and more efficient production. The fact is that perfection is unattainable. Sometimes you’ll fall short, but so does everyone else, so get over it, and focus on the positives of your work.
Working in an office means dealing with internal and external customers who stop by your desk to “ask a quick question” or send you emails with last-minute requests or make calls. These interruptions cause stress because they stop you from meeting your deadlines, interrupt your creative flow and distract you from priorities.
It’s up to you to control your interruptions if you want to reduce job stress. That means only looking at emails during certain predetermined times, telling co-workers and subordinates to come back with questions at specific times, closing the door to your office or even working outside of the office so you can escape chronic interrupters. Interruptions are bound to happen, but making a conscious effort to reduce these interruptions can go a long way to making your workday a bit more pleasant.
Survey has found out that we spend more than a quarter of our time at work just reading and responding to emails. Grinding through a never-ending inbox mails is a time-suck: it can make you feel like you’ve got five hours to get eight hours of real work done every day.
Conquer that stress by taking one Saturday to build filters that automatically delete useless emails, forwards others and prioritizes messages by putting them into “Answer” and “To-Do” folders. Then, schedule times throughout the day when you can check and sort your different email folders. The majority of email work is monotonous and non-stimulating. Use the scheduled times to check and respond to emails as a break from your truly strenuous work. By doing this, your emails become a welcomed escape from other stressful tasks, killing two stress-inducing birds with one stone.
Lists can be overwhelming sources of stress, especially when they’re long. But there are two ways to turn them into stress relievers.
First, check things off when you complete them, and revel in the satisfaction of running a thick black line through them (or deleting them if they’re digital). Keep those old, chewed-up lists in a file somewhere. They’ll come in handy during your annual review when you want to recite what you’ve accomplished all year, and you can use these small accomplishments as assurance that you’re being productive and that you’re contributing to the progress of your company.
Second, instead of logging a huge project as just one menacing entry on your to-do list, break it up into a bunch of smaller steps. Put each of these minor tasks on your list instead. The project will seem less scary, and you’re more likely to quickly chip away at it because the smaller bits are less overwhelming. As you bang out these small tasks, you’ll be rewarded with both a sense of accomplishment and progress. This will alleviate the stress of starting that one project atop your list that you’re struggling to get through.
While they may be one of your biggest sources of office stress, your co-workers can also be the greatest relievers of office tension. Use your co-workers as a source of relief from hectic work. You don’t have to become best friends, but by welcoming their interactions, you can take your mind off work and have a second to laugh and connect on a personal level.
Take lunch and coffee breaks in teams to collectively relieve stress. You can try to avoid bringing up work, or you can use the time to get stuff off your chest; just make sure you return the favor and offer a listening ear. You spend a lot of time with the people you work with, so develop a positive, reciprocal relationship that allows each of you an escape from office stressors.
For most people, job stress is inevitable. But for all of us, job stress is also manageable. That’s a good thing, because if you don’t manage your stress, you’re just putting yourself at risk for a number of health issues. There are many other ways to relieve stress at the office, but you can use this list as a starting point for a calmer, happier work life.

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