How to best eliminate stress at work

Work-related stress is a major issue for many in today’s society—often spilling over into everyday life. An epidemic in itself—if weed is a gateway drug—work stress is a gateway for anxiety disorders and depression. With such high stakes, stress at work should never be ignored.

Ridiculous demands, bullying, perfectionism, and immense pressure from parents, peers, employers, and the individual themselves all contribute to this vicious cycle. On top of that, an education system that focuses on conformity—and rewarding only those with high grades—sends children out into the world ill-equipped to deal with their emotions.

The so-called path to “success” has been laid out long before we were born with little deviation in spite of the tech explosion and a massive cultural shift which leaves many people asking questions they can’t seem to answer. This path to success—it would appear—focuses solely on money. And while we know that money doesn’t buy happiness, the narrative remains strong and fears of breaking from tradition ensure most remain trapped.

Our strong desire for success and happiness, along with a distorted view of what that is, paradoxically, carries with it high levels of stress which often ensure financial freedom or happiness is never achieved.

Unfortunately, most career decisions are made for others. If your work causes you more stress than joy, you’re not doing it for you: You’re doing it to impress others, make peers jealous or parents proud. And that mindset will get you in a lot of trouble.

Chronic stress at work is not something you should accept. Here are nine tips to manage stress at work better;

1. Plan your day

At the end of each day, by taking five minutes to write, and plan out your next day, you will leave with greater clarity, and a plan of action for tomorrow so all work associated stress is left behind in the office. On top of that, your subconscious will get to work while you sleep coming up with solutions on how to best manage any challenges ahead.

This includes your email-time too. Try to plan the time spend on your email ahead by assigning a certain time to email to avoid getting lost in your email task. Email desktop clients like Mailbird (Windows) or Airmail (Mac) are great tools for going through your email in the most effective and fast way possible, especially for people that have to manage multiple email accounts

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2. Change your environment

Sitting at your desk all day is not only bad for stress—it’s terrible for overall health. Best practice suggests getting up at least once an hour for two minutes. If stress levels are high, go for a walk and get some fresh air to clear your head.

3. Listen to music

Not only is music a great distraction from stress. Listening to slow, classical or chilled-out music is incredibly relaxing for both the body and mind. The soothing power of music is well-established. It has a unique link to our emotions, so can be an extremely effective in decreasing the levels of stress hormones. Try this playlist on Youtube to keep you calm and focused.

stress at work

4. Meditate

Meditation is one of, if not, the best tools to manage stress. Make a habit of taking 10 minutes a day to sit undisturbed in a silent room just to breathe. Play some relaxing music in your ears to enhance your experience.

5. Ease off the caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant, and if you consume too much, it can cause anxiety. I wouldn’t deprive you of your morning coffee, but by limiting consumption, you will avoid the adverse effects that come with it. Instead, try substituting for herbal teas. There is an endless supply of delicious teas that promote a feeling of calmness.

6. Sleep

Sleep is so important to your overall health. I used to be of the opinion that the sooner I went to sleep, the sooner I had to go to work. And I didn’t like that because I didn’t like work. So I would deprive myself of sleep to put off work. Stress, focus, mental clarity, and productivity will all take a hit if you are sleep deprived. On top of that, it can contribute to many serious diseases in the long run. Take the time to unwind, turn off all distractions, unplug from social media and get yourself tucked in for seven or eight solid hours sleep every night.

stress at work

7. Adopt a solution focused mindset

Problems will always arise. How you respond to them is what matters. Focusing on what happened, placing blame, or allowing yourself to get worked up will only increase stress and prolong the punishment. What’s done can’t be undone. The only question you should be asking yourself is “what’s the solution?” Once you’ve figured that out, execute on it

8. Communicate 

Don’t suppress any frustrations or emotions as they will manifest over time if left ignored. Communicate with your manager or colleagues if something isn’t working out for you. The conversation in itself will be liberating, and it might provide you with everything you are looking for.

9. Quit

If all else fails and you’re doing something you can’t stand—you shouldn’t be doing it. If you’re working with people or for people you don’t get on with—you shouldn’t be working with them. There is no magical formula for this one besides two magical words, “I Quit.” Whether it’s for a new career or a similar job for a new company—your options are endless. So get out there and make something better for yourself. Life is way too short to hate what you do everyday.

“For optimum performance, we need balance—time for work, time for rest, time for play—honor them all and you’ll be far more productive and happy in all aspects of your life.” Nick Cullen

For more tips to eliminate stress in general, you can check out or previous article. 

About the Author:

Nicky Cullen is a writer and anxiety coach. Having suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, and depression for a decade: he uses his experience to teach his clients the solutions he wishes somebody taught him 15 years ago. You can learn more by clicking here.