It’s 6pm on Sunday and the anxiety’s starting to kick in.
You know, the “I have to work tomorrow” anxiety.
Isn’t it the freaking worst?
I mean, I’ve had an awesome weekend, but now the thought of having to go back to the office in the morning’s totally bumming me out.
So this week I’m gunna work on making my workdays stress-free.
LOL okay, fine. Maybe not 100% stress-free, but at least as stress-free as possible.
Here’s how you do it, in case you’d like to join me.
1. Understand that you can only do so much.
I have days when I’m almost in tears because I’m so overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do. At that point, I could sit in my cubicle crying, but I don’t. Instead, I accept that I won’t be able to do everything all at once and then I prioritize my workload so I knock out the stuff that’s most important. I’m not a robot, so I can’t get it all done in one day, and I refuse to compromise my health and well-being trying to be one. There comes a point in your day when you just have to say, “Okay, I’ve done a whole bunch of stuff today, so now I’m done. Now it’s time to rest, relax, and recharge. The rest of the work will be here tomorrow.” Because if you don’t, you’re just asking for early career burnout, and THAT my friend, is something you don’t want to have to go through.
2. Don’t let other people’s bad moods get to you.
People have problems. People have lives and drama and because of that, they’re not always in the best of moods at work. It sucks, really, because we should be able to leave our drama at the door and deal with it when we get home, but it doesn’t always work that way. Unfortunately, people bring their bad moods to the workplace and they take out their anger and frustration on the first person they can find. So don’t let someone else’s bad mood get to you. Put up an invisible drama-free forcefield and go about your day happy as a clam, because if yo don’t, and if you let that negative energy get to you, you’re gunna find yourself stressed out for absolutely no reason.
3. Do something fun during lunch.
Anything. I don’t care what it is, just do something fun! Go shopping. Go out to eat. Go to the gym. Go read a book. Catch up with a friend. Just do something that’s not work-related during your lunch break, and have it be something that you really look forward to.
4. Force yourself to smile.
You think it sounds corny, right? Forcing yourself to smile? I thought it did too, until I tried it. I’m telling you, I deal with all kinds of people all day long, and most of the time, I want to strangle them. I want to scream through the phone because some people are just so stupid, and then I find myself angry and agitated and totally stressed the f out. No other way to say it. So when that happens, I sit there at my desk and I force a smile. I look like an idiot, I’m sure, but I do it anyway. And whatever, for some reason, that smiling voodoo magic works, and I can feel my blood pressure returning to normal. That’s an instant de-stressor right there, and God, I don’t know what I’d do without it.
5. Clean your desk.
Believe it or not, having a clean desk makes my day so much better. It’s not that I can’t handle a messy desk, because most of the time I have papers all over the place, but cleaning it for some reason brings about a certain calm to my day. So the next time you’re feeling totally stressed out at work, try taking 5 minutes to tidy up your work area, and you’ll see how much that helps.
6. Take breaks.
We already talked about your lunch break, but that shouldn’t be the only break you take throughout the day. I’m not saying you should get up from your desk and disappear for hours at a time, but you should take breaks just to clear your mind for a few minutes. Go grab some coffee, go get some water, and don’t forget to use the bathroom (this is really an issue when you’re working on a project or trying to meet a deadline). Even if you don’t go anywhere, take a few minutes to stretch at your desk. Take a few minutes to look away from your screen if you use the computer all day. Taking breaks is important, and it helps with managing stress big time.
7. Focus on the why.
This is a big one here. Regardless of how kick-ass your job is, at some point or another, you’ll find yourself doing mundane tasks. You’ll find yourself writing reports and clicking buttons and you’ll probably ask yourself, “What the heck am I doing with my life?” When that happens, try to think about the big picture. Remember why you got into your line of work in the first place. If it was only to pay the bills, then focus on WHY you’re working so hard.
Is it so you can take care of your family? Is it so you can take that vacation you’ve been dreaming about for years? Take some time to reflect on how your work impacts yourself and others, and the annoying work that you’re doing in that very instant will seem worth it.
What else? Tell me! How do you make your work day a little less stressful?!
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