Workplace stress is inevitable, regardless of your job. It is important to know how to cope with workplace stress and not let it overwhelm you.

Interpersonal Conflict

Interpersonal conflict is one of the most common forms of workplace stress. Interpersonal conflicts can arise between colleagues, managers, supervisors, etc. Below are some tips for how to deal and cope with workplace stress in and out of the office.

  • Talk it out. Confrontation can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it is also the most direct way to resolve a conflict. If it makes it easier, ask somebody who is unbiased to act as a mediator. It might help to have somebody guiding the conversation without taking sides.

  • Inform your supervisor. Another option is to inform your supervisor. It might be difficult to involve your boss, but it could also help resolve the conflict quicker.

  • Avoid gossip in the workplace. If you are having interpersonal conflict within the office, try not to spread the conflict to others. It will unnecessarily involve more people and can cause more tension in the workplace.

  • Take a step back. Before informing a supervisor or confronting another person, take a step back and try looking at the situation from a different perspective. Is the conflict a simple miscommunication or something more? By considering other perspectives, you will be more levelheaded if and when you attempt to resolve the conflict.

  • Grow from the conflict. After the conflict has been resolved to some degree, make sure you learn and grow from the experience. Next time conflict arises, think about the last time a conflict arose. What helped? What hindered? What can you do better in order to conduct more productive conflict resolution?

Workload Stress

Workload stress is bound to happen to everyone at some point.

Not all supervisors take into consideration the other responsibilities you have at your job, and it is important that you know how to communicate effectively when you feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed.

Here are some things to consider when balancing your workload:

  • Have open communication. It is easier said than done, but open communication with your supervisors is crucial when it comes to your personal workload stress. They will not know if you do not tell them.

  • Take responsibility. Notice when you feel stressed. Are you procrastinating your work? Every individual copes with stress differently and if you are getting stressed about a project deadline, consider making some changes that will improve your organization and time management skills.

  • How are you coping? There are many different coping strategies. The strategy you use will determine how you typically cope with stressors. By understanding what type of strategies you are using, you can change your habits and better cope with stress. Click here to learn more about the different types of coping strategies.

Take a Break

Taking breaks between tasks and throughout the day can help you focus. It might sound counterintuitive, but taking breaks can help recenter your mind and body.

When sitting at a desk for an extended period of time, you start to slouch your back, tense up your shoulders, and sometimes even clench your jaw. By taking breaks, you can stretch your legs and take a mental break from your work. Here are some tips for how to take a quick but effective break:

  • Take a lap. Every hour, get up from your desk and walk around. It does not have to be a long break, but taking small breaks throughout the day can help you clear your mind and come back refocused.

  • Exercise. Exercising releases those "feel good" hormones and can help you refocus your mind and body. Whether it is in the morning, lunchtime, or evening, exercising will help you unwind, loosen up, and reduce stress.

  • Take your lunch. Use your lunch break to actually take a break. Try not to eat at your desk. Instead, go outside or go talk to a coworker. By physically leaving your desk, you can mentally leave work for a bit. When you come back, you will feel refreshed and ready to work again.

  • Take a mental break. If it is not possible for you to physically leave your desk, you can still take a mental break.

    1. Try stretching at your desk to relieve tension and discomfort.

    2. Click here for a 6-minute beach visualization meditation.

    3. Click here for a 4-minute mountain walk meditation.

    4. Try progressive muscle relaxation.

Time Management

Time management and procrastination go hand in hand. Without proper time management skills, procrastination kicks in and can lead to more stress. Below are some tips and tricks to help you organize and optimize your time:

  • Make a to-do list. Make a list of everything you have to do that day, week, month, etc. Creating this list can help you literally "see" everything that needs to be completed without the concern of forgetting a task.

  • Prioritize. Once you have a list of all of your tasks, prioritize. What needs to be completed immediately? What can be pushed until next week? What needs to be eventually done? By prioritizing your tasks, you can then focus on what is most important.

  • Create a schedule. Seeing a list of priorities can be overwhelming. To help ease the stress, try scheduling out your day. Schedule out blocks of time where your focus is only on one task. Do not try to multitask; it will lead several projects becoming only partially completed. None of them will be given your best effort or full attention! While scheduling out tasks is helpful, do not forget to schedule breaks to ensure that you are not overworking yourself.