The key to stress management in the office is not getting there in the first place. The workplace can be full of differing personalities with altering deadlines and a multitude of ways of thinking: an easy recipe for developing stress. However, there are ways to avoid allowing stress to creep in and ruin your day or your attitude.
Maintaining a life that is in line with our own values is important. Step back and see where you are using your energy. If you are putting effort into something that makes you happy, your stress levels will lessen. If you need assistance in evaluating what’s important to you, contact an executive coach or a friend. You will ultimately decide what is important, but having a structured way to figure it out will be helpful. Understand where work falls in the equation of balance in your life. Work is likely not your entire life, and it may be necessary to set boundaries and say no once in a while.
Mental, emotional and spiritual health contribute to the balance in your life, and whether you are meeting that need through meditation, church, exercise, or something entirely different, methods of comfort are going to help your life stay on track.
For the moments when you cannot stop yourself from overcoming immediate stress, there are a few tips that can help you remain calm:
First and foremost, even if you find yourself experiencing stress, you want to be sure to not take it out on colleagues. We’ve all lashed out sometime and regretted it later. Make sure you take a moment (the old fashioned counting to ten trick is a good one) before you respond to colleagues, especially when circumstances aren’t ideal. This will help you maintain relationships, which are even more crucial in stressful times.
Keeping an even keel even when under stress or pressure is a key element of Executive Presence and will help your workplace image. Taking a moment to respond rather than react is a good practice in general. Whether it is on the phone, in an email, or in person, if someone tries to discuss something that may aggravate you, take time to be thoughtful before responding. Try to take your initial reaction or emotions out of the equation and send your response after you’ve had a chance to re-read it after some time has passed (even if it’s only 10 minutes).
You can also call someone outside of the company, such as a mentor, friend, or executive coach. An outside perspective on your situation can help ground you and give you new energy to approach upcoming challenges. Taking your concerns outside the organization is a far better idea than venting at the water cooler: gossip never helps!