How do I handle work related stress?


If you feel stressed out at work, you are not alone! According to the Attitudes in the American Workplace VII: 

  • 80% of workers feel stress on the job
  • Nearly 50% say they need help in learning how to manage it
  • 14% of workers felt like striking a coworker in the past year, but didn't
  • 25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress

Stress at work

Whether you are working a part time job or knee deep in an established career, the deadlines, performance expectations and other responsibilities can be very stressful. In certain situations, this stress can easily overwhelm your life and emotional wellbeing. You may continually worry about a particular project, accept more than you can handle in hopes of earning a raise, or consistently be treated unfairly by a supervisor or your coworkers. Putting your job ahead of your own mental health can affect your personal relationships and even compound the work-related pressures. 

This work related stress can drastically affect you emotional and physical wellbeing. Constant preoccupation with your job can lead to weight problems, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. In fact, an NOISH report found that job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems. Scientific studies have even repeatedly shown that stress does in fact contribute to mental illnesses.

What you can do

Fortunately, there are many ways to help manage job-related stress. Here are some tips for dealing with stress on the job:

1) Make the most of workday breaks

Even 10-15 minute breaks of personal time can refresh your mental outlook. If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, take a walk or chat with a coworker about something completely unrelated to work. 


2) If you feel angry, walk away

Often times work stress comes out in the form of anger. Mentally counting to 10 and then revisiting the situation can help curve anger. Removing yourself from the situation to calm down may also be a good idea. 


3) Set reasonable standards for yourself and others

We feel the most stressed at work when we feel like we are not reaching the standards that are placed on us. Our bosses or peers may be holding us to a standard that is unrealistic. Working together to make changes will not only benefit your emotional and physical health, but also improve the organizations overall productivity. 


4) Prioritize and Organize

Leave early in the morning. 5-10 minutes can make the difference between frantically hurrying to your desk and having time to slowly ease into your day. Running late will only increase your stress levels. Break projects and tasks into small steps. If a project seems to be overwhelming, make a step-by-step plan. Focus on one small task at a time, rather than taking on everything at once.


5) Get enough sleep

Not only can stress and worry cause a lack of sleep, but it can also leave you vulnerable to even more stress. When you are well rested, it is much easier to keep an emotional balance, which is key to dealing with job and workplace related stress.