Stress in the workplace is universal, but there are things that you can do to alleviate that stress and channel it into good energy. Here are a few suggestions that can help you take control of the situation to your benefit:
Realize that you only have control of your own stuff.
- You can do something about your desk or area of responsibility.
- You can do something about the way you respond to a situation or the things you tell yourself.
- You can’t force someone else to act the way you wish they would.
Do a good job with the stuff you have control over.
- Keep your work area picked up and functional. It doesn’t have to be sterile, but make it calm by putting away the clutter & paring the accessories down to one or two things that you really enjoy looking at. You can switch them out as often as you like but only display the minimum.
- Focus on doing your job well and being friendly without drama. Don’t gossip or backstab; think of your coworkers as future referrals for your next job and act accordingly.
- Take advantage of training sessions, assessments, and improving your job skills. Get job counseling and expand your horizon to include working toward a different job if that’s what you’d like to do.
- Own your mistakes. Stop the blame game in its tracks by acknowledging when you blew it and put the emphasis on fixing the problem and going on.
- Take a walk instead of reaching for the snack. Replace unhealthy coping skills with healthy ones and use the energy from that stress reaction for exercise.
Let the coworker deal with their own stuff because you can’t do it for them.
- If you work with a chronically angry person, you probably are not the source of their anger. You just are there to dump on. If you can, avoid giving them an opportunity to dump on you. If it isn’t possible, imagine an open garbage bag they are dumping into and toss it when they are done.
If your workplace is truly intolerable, focus on leaving as soon as you can with good references from this job. Don’t burn any bridges by bad behavior and do what you can to keep your stress level down. This is great motivation to research career options, develop a strategy, and look for another job armed with all the skills you can develop.
Stress isn’t caused by a situation; it’s caused by our reaction to a situation. Your body goes into the same type of stress mode with any intense situation, from athletic competitions to scary movies to roller coasters to the workplace. Taking control of what you can will keep that stress positive for you and your career.