4 Ways to Make Stress Work for You
By Sandy Schroeder
A little stress is not all bad. When we are motivated to meet a job deadline, our ears perk up and we move ahead. Over time, knowing how to respond to deadlines can make us more resilient, but if that stress call becomes too intense, the picture changes.
DumbLittleMan pointed this out recently, saying "You need to know how to effectively manage job-related stress so it does not follow you home and ruin your sanity."
Here are some tips to keep stress under control.
Figure out how to turn the work switch off - Once you shut down your computer and head out the door, you need to let your mind move on to the rest of your life. What's for dinner, how is your spouse doing, and what kind of day the kids had should all be the focus, instead of lingering thoughts about work. One way to make the transition is to have a separate period when you arrive home to decompress. You might take a shower, step out into your garden, or take the dog for a walk. Then reach out to your family and make the evening yours and theirs.
Get your workload under control - The stress that simply won't stop may be bubbling up from your need for more organization. Most of us have a system to handle workloads, but sometimes it gets overloaded or needs updating. Spend a morning taking a hard look at your workload and why it is so stressful. Are you simply taking on too many tasks for the time available? Or do you let work time become absorbed with the needs of co-workers, small distractions and other trivial matters? Take steps to get it under control and feel the difference in stress levels.
Make sure you are resting well - If you are stressed out all day, you may simply not drop right off to sleep at night. Do the homework to get some exercise, preferably outside, every day. Cut the caffeine off right after lunch, and skip spicy foods, stimulating programs and other electronic devices right before bedtime. Finally, develop regular sleep hours, and a sleep ritual such as a warm bath or soft music that helps you drift off. The better your sleep becomes the less stressed you may feel in the daytime.
Know when to look further - If you are organized, focused and well rested, and stress is still stalking you at work, you may need to look further. If there are still issues that create waves of stress, you may want to talk with your boss and co-workers to trace the causes. Keep looking to find the answers. Living without excess stress is well worth the effort.
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