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5 Tips to Manage Stress in the Workplace

Developing strategies to manage stress at work isn’t a new concept, nor is it something everyone will practice the same way. Stress – much like creativity – is an individual experience. But it can occur more regularly in people who work in high-stakes environments, like when you’re preparing for a new campaign or product launch or dealing with changes in team structure.

Ironically, while negative situations can cause stress, so too can positive situations – like landing a promotion or onboarding a new team member. And while stress is ever-ready to take over and overwhelm you, there are methods to guard against its full effects. We’ve put together five tips to help weather the storm and stay calm when things feel crazy.

Be mindful of your triggers

Mindfulness is a modern buzzword, and for good reason – it’s actually quite helpful. Being mindful means that you’re aware of yourself in ways that keep you healthy and regulated inside and out. 

In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell argues that human beings are exceptional at pattern recognition to draw conclusions. He calls it ‘thin-slicing,’ and it relates to how humans identify and analyse patterns so quickly that we can make split-second decisions, which can be just as good as ruminating on something.

Listing your triggers in the workplace can help you develop a sense of awareness for when they invariably arise. With practice, you’ll get better at spotting them and be better prepared to respond mindfully when they arise. Common workplace stress triggers can include:

  • Errors in judgement or action
  • Team absenteeism
  • Poor internal/managerial communication
  • Moving goalposts on projects
  • Constant “feedback” on your work

Create a support system

A small headache can blow up into a migraine in minutes when we find ourselves facing a problem alone. So, even though stress can make us feel alone, we can choose not to be. Find a trusted colleague to discuss the problem with, take a few minutes to call a close friend, or join a community that can help you navigate common stressors. If the problem causing you stress isn’t something a personal friend would understand, rope in a career coach or therapist to find constructive solutions that are also sustainable.

Working with a dedicated support team was something that Iryna found useful on the King’s Product Management Career Accelerator. Her Success Manager kept her accountable, and her Career Coach helped her land the exact role she was keen on. Read her story here.

Get moving!

The modern workplace is a sedentary one, and we are creatures who need a daily dose of sunlight and well-stretched muscles. Don’t underestimate the refreshing power of a walk. Simply being in nature is proven to reduce stress.  If you’ve got a problem that’s seemingly impossible to solve, going outside can offer a fresh perspective. While not everything can be resolved with a quick walk, stepping away can help you reset and feel more capable of tackling the problem at hand.

Adjust to your daily capacity

Our daily energy levels vary depending on what else we have going on at work – and in life. If your boss asks you to add ‘just one more thing’ to your already long list, practice qualifying what you say ‘yes’ to. While you may be willing to take on more work, you should also aim to bring attention to your capacity for it and how this might impact your delivery of other tasks. Saying something as simple as, “Sure, I can take that one. But what are we deprioritising so I can complete this task successfully?” can work in your favour.

While it’s normal to take one for the team and work longer hours on some days, ignoring your realistic daily capacity is a harmful practice. If you’re struggling with the load you already have, check in with your manager about adjusting your workload so you can balance the quality of work with your well-being.

Apply your strengths

The concept of ‘job crafting’ is when you apply your inherent personality traits to your work to foster professional success. Identifying your signature strengths or strongest character traits can help you create environments where you can cope better with inadvertent stress. Some strengths include:

  • Integrity
  • Bravery
  • Open-mindedness
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity

While they may not address the root cause of your stress, using your strengths can help you learn how to manage stress at work.

Final thoughts

If you remember only one thing when you’re under pressure, make it that progress happens one step at a time. If you need support, ask for it. Coping with stress at work is always better with a solid support structure, and having friends or a career coach to help you along the way will make all the difference. 

We’ve made support an integral part of all our Career Accelerators for our learners navigating change in their careers. Whether they’re entering the job market for the first time, pivoting careers or advancing in their current roles, our dedicated team of Career Coaches and Success Managers provide the guidance and support that each individual needs. Take a look at what some past learners had to say about their experience working with a coach.

If you’re interested in learning more about our programmes, take a look at our portfolio here.

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