If you’re doing important work, work that matters, stress is inevitable. No matter how cool, calm and collective you are, invariably there will be days where your workload, deadlines, work-life balance, etc. gets all up around you.
You can hyperventilate and complain all day or you can take a deep breath and leverage these 5 ways to de-stress in the office.
1.) Attack the Most Impactful Work First
Your projects aren’t going to complete themselves. Most of us breathe a sigh of relief when we mark something off of our to-do lists so determine what will add the most value to your company, your life, etc. and do that today.
Big projects are intimidating. It’s easy to get paralyzed by fear or overwhelmed by a big project. Break it into manageable tasks and complete one each day.
2.) Put Things in Perspective
You have a job. A lot of people don’t. But seriously, what is your worst case scenario? There’s a lot of people less fortunate than you and it’s often helpful to remember that.
3.) Cut up with a Co-Worker
“People with one friend at work are much more likely to find their work interesting. And people with three friends at work are virtually guaranteed to be very satisfied with their life,” writes Penelope Trunk citing Tom Rath’s book Vital Friends.
The ‘woe is me’ approach gets old really fast, but good co-workers will let you get it off your chest for a few minutes. Especially if you buy them a drink after work. And if you’re having trouble making friends at work here’s 6 ways to build better relationships with your co-workers.
4.) Take Lunch *Away* From Your Desk
For at least a half hour everyday escape your office/desk/cube. Some days you feel like there’s no time, but I assure you that a half hour to break up the day goes a long way in preventing burn out.
I used to take a quick drive to a parking lot and eat on my tailgate. Now I find a quiet place and read a bit while I eat.
5.) Step Away From Your Desk and Take a Walk
This is one of the most common recommendations, most likely because it’s simple and works for most people. Sometimes you just need 5-10 minutes to realign and catch your breath. Go get a honey bun or some hot Cheetos out of the vending machine. Call your Mom. Walk outside and watch a squirrel.
It really doesn’t matter what you do. If you get stuck or overwhelmed, don’t try to push through. Allow yourself a few minutes to get your feet underneath you. You’re not being productive when you’re flustered anyway. Work in surges when you’re at peak efficiency.