Everyone deals with work-related stress at different times; it comes with the territory. Whether you work for someone else, supervise others, or lead the show as owner, different factors in the workplace can cause you to feel overwhelmed and often times anxious.

When stress reaches this point, it can affect other areas of your life, including your personal aspirations, hobbies, and relationships. In this post, you’ll discover four essential steps to helping you deal with work-related stress, so you can achieve your professional goals, while still maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

How to Deal with Work-Related Stress


Step 1 – Write It Down

This may sound a bit old-school, especially if you’re not one to create to-do lists or keep a  journal. But, the act of actually writing something down helps bring everything back into focus, allowing you to plan ahead by creating a path forward to success. Let’s say, for example, you come into the office with a million things on your mind: I need to email that client; I forgot to schedule a team meeting; I made an error in that report; I have to kickstart this project, etc. Instead of leaving these thoughts in your head, write down each task you need to accomplish that day. Remember to ensure your to-do list is manageable (meaning it’s  “humanly possible” to complete in one day). Make sure you also leave room for unexpected tasks that usually present themselves on busy days.

After you start completing each task, start crossing items off your list. There is a serious satisfaction in crossing off “to-dos” and that sense of accomplishment will refuel you to push forward.

Step 2 – Relax & Escape

When it comes to tackling stress at work, the ability to momentarily disconnect from a particular task can actually improve your productivity. Allowing a few moments to yourself lets you recharge and recenter your mind.

Mental health breaks come in many different shapes and sizes:

  • Vacation: We’d all love to jet-off somewhere, have a day off, or take a cozy “staycation” like we discussed in a previous post. When we allow ourselves a temporary break in routine, we come back refreshed, revived, and even more inspired.
  • Mini Day Breaks: Stepping away from your desk is underrated. People often get so distracted with their work, they forget about the momentarily release of setting tasks aside and focusing on something else. According to APA, “the skill of being able to focus purposefully on a single activity without distraction will get stronger with practice and you’ll find that you can apply it to many different aspects of your life.”

Remember, taking a break from work is necessary. It helps you avoid feeling overworked and becoming burnt out.

Step 3 – Find a Work/Life Balance

There is no shame in struggling with a work/life balance. Most of us do, as it’s always difficult to know where to draw the line. To help manage work-related stress, so it doesn’t affect your personal life, it’s helpful to set boundaries between work and pleasure. When at home, APA suggests “making a rule not to check email from home in the evening, or not answering the phone during dinner.” Being present when doing things at home or when friends and family are around are moments that bring you pleasure and should never be missed.

Step 4 – Reach Out to a Psychologist or Mental Health Professional

It’s important to rely on your support system when trying to handle stress from work. And there are different layers of support available to you:

  • Connect with your friends and family, and let them know the pressure you feel from work.
  • Look to your employer for back up. According to APA, your employer may have an employee assistance program (EAP) available to you, which often includes “online information, available counseling, and referral[s] to mental health professionals, if needed.”
  • Talk with a mental health professional if you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress. This individual can help you identify triggers and also find ways to manage work-related anxiety.

Remember, we all experience stress. And though common in the workplace, it doesn’t have to control your career and/or your personal life.

If you continue to feel overwhelmed or if stress is affecting other areas of your life, contact The Calli Institute today. We specialize in individual therapy and other counseling services to help individuals feel empowered and take back control of their lives. 

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