We have all experienced days or even weeks at work when everything feels like it is piling up with no end in sight. Big projects and detailed tasks can drain your mental and physical energy. During periods of high stress, it is important to take time to decompress so your outcomes reflect your best effort though it may be hard when everything feels like it is adding up. 

It may not be surprising that with today’s economic landscape, stress is at an all-time high, and that includes work stress. One quarter of Americans say that their job is the number one stressor in their life, according to Northwester National Life. Because we spend the majority of our days at work, job-associated stress has trickled down to affecting the health and vitality of our personal lives. 

When job demands cannot be met, the outcome is stress, leading to injury, illness, or job failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury.” 

If you have been feeling overwhelming stress and anxiety in your job, there are some things you can do to alleviate these feelings to improve your overall work experience and performance.

Develop a plan

If you are coming into your office each day without a to-do list, you might be doing yourself a disservice. Building out a daily task list before your start your day can help you prioritize the things that need to be accomplished versus the things that can perhaps be put off until the next day or two. Writing things down and checking them off can also be very gratifying. 

Another great way to prioritize your day is by scheduling blocks of time in your work calendar. You will get reminders for when the next task is coming up, keeping you on track to complete all of your most important items for the day.

Stay on task

After you have built a to-do list, remember to stick to it. It is very easy to take a phone call or receive an email and get caught up doing something else, but to keep stress low, try your best to stay on task. 

It is okay to let your phone go to voicemail, or simply connect with the person and let them know that you must complete a few things first before you can assist them. If an urgent matter comes up, you should adjust your schedule to accommodate, but remember to reset your to-do list for the following day.

Take a time out

As busy as your day may seem, it is so important to schedule breaks for yourself. Midday and lunch breaks are incredibly helpful in helping to reset your vision for the projects you are working on. Often, we push ourselves to get something done and we miss the mark by feeling rushed or overtired. 

It is recommended to take a 15-minute break both in the morning and afternoon to stretch, walk, and simply relax your mind and your eyes.

Ask for help

Lastly, it is imperative you ask for help when you feel yourself falling short of completing a task. If something is simply beyond your reach, you should discuss what and why with your supervisor or a peer. 

Sometimes all we need is a little coaching and encouragement to get the job done and sometimes perhaps it is the task-at-hand that is too complex to complete in the allotted time. Being open and honest about your dilemma will help alleviate the stress associated with the job, and encourage you to use the knowledge and skills you have to complete the job to the best of your ability.