Have you been experiencing stress at your place of work lately? Work stress is a globally recognized phenomenon that affects your productivity and your psychological and physical health. The problem arises when demands at work exceed your ability and capacity to cope. If you fail to nip the problem in the bud, it can spiral into mental and behavioral disorders including burnout, and depression. It can also lead to cardiovascular disease and other physical impairments.

My name is Shanti Pur, an advance consultant of Sellics and ZonGuru, and an exclusive contributor of how to maximize your works in several business magazines. In this article, I outline five strategies you can employ to help you cope with stress at work.

1.     Make Positive Connections

A problem shared is a problem half solved. You can alleviate most of your stress by just talking to someone about it. Spending quality time with your friends, family, and co-workers can also serve as a good distraction from the pressures at work. And you never know; you may find some of your friends and co-workers who are experiencing the same or similar predicament.

If you have a problem talking to close friends and family, try seeking professional help from a counselor instead. If your employer has some employee assistance program, take advantage and get help. Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes; don’t shy away from seeking support.

1.     Identify and Tackle your Stress Triggers

Everyone reacts to situations differently, and what affects you may not bother your colleague in the least. Try keeping track of events that negatively affect your mood. Write down who was involved, how you felt, how you reacted, and the circumstances surrounding the incident. Once you identify whatever sets you off, you can choose to avoid or eliminate the triggers. For instance, if not meeting deadlines makes you moody and edgy, you can try managing your time better.

2.     Manage your Health

Poor physical health can make you prone to stress-related problems. If you are always busy at work, it is easy to ignore important matters such as maintaining your health. Have you have been neglecting your health in the name of work? It’s time to turn things around if you want to cope with stress. You can start by eating healthy. Avoid fast foods with processed sugars and lots of fat and switch to whole grain meals, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. Also, avoid smoking and drink in moderation if you have to.

Don’t forget to work out. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can help fight depression. Focus on aerobic exercises. If you lack time to visit the gym, try alternative ways of keeping fit such as walking or cycling to work or replacing your desk with a standing desk.

Sleep is not for the weak. No matter how important your work is, never substitute a good night sleep for anything else. Experts have long regarded lack of proper sleep as a symptom of stress, but recent research conducted by Harvard Medical School has also pointed to it as a cause of stress.

3.     Learn to Prioritize and Organize

Disorganization and clutter can lead to stress at work. You can avoid this mess by planning ahead of time and setting deadlines. What are your goals? Knowing what you hope to achieve will help you prioritize better. Make a list of everything you want to do and focus on 2 or 3 tasks; don’t try to do everything at once. Use your calendar to plan your weeks and don’t forget to include breaks in-between.

4.     Take it Easy on yourself

Doing your work in the best way possible is helpful, but trying to achieve perfection is destructive. Nobody is perfect, so learn to take it easy on yourself. If you do a good job, remember to pat yourself on the back. Also, don’t over-commit or overwork yourself. Take a break once in a while. If you get a chance to go on a vacation, jump at the opportunity and don’t bring your work along with you.

In summary

Work stress is a global problem that can affect anyone. If you are dealing with stress at work, don’t be afraid to talk about it with colleagues, friends, and family. Try identifying your stress triggers and don’t forget to eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep. Learn to prioritize your work and never be too hard on yourself. Work stress is a real predicament that poses a significant threat to your physical and mental health, but following these and other strategies can help you cope with the problem.