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Helpful ways to manage stress at work

For workers everywhere, the troubled economy may feel like an emotional roller coaster. "Layoffs" and "budget cuts" have become bywords in the workplace, and the result is increased fear, uncertainty, and higher levels of stress. Since job and workplace stress increase in times of economic crisis, it’s important to learn new and better ways of coping with the pressure.

Stress is inevitable. It walks in and out of our lives on a regular basis. And it can easily walk all over us unless we take action. Stress can affect physical and mental health, work productivity, and personal lives. While some workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and impact your physical and emotional health. You can’t control everything in your work environment, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless—even when you’re stuck in a difficult situation. Finding ways to manage workplace stress isn’t about making huge changes or rethinking career ambitions, but rather about focusing on the one thing that’s always within your control: you.

When job and workplace stress threatens to overwhelm you, there are simple steps you can take to regain control over yourself and the situation:

1. Figure out where the stress is coming from.

For a week or two, record the situations, events and people who cause you to have a negative physical, mental or emotional response. Include a brief description of each situation, such as:

• Where were you?
• Who was involved?
• What was your reaction?
• How did you feel?

2. Reduce job stress by prioritizing and organizing

When your job is stressful, it can feel as if it's taking over your life. To maintain perspective:

• Prioritize tasks
• Break projects into small steps.
• Delegate responsibility
• Be willing to compromise.
• Keep a "To-Do" list.

3. Sharpen your time management skills

Managing your time will help you overcome stress at work tremendously. To avoid feeling overwhelmed:

• Set realistic goals.
• Protect your time
• Take short breaks
• Turn off and tune in.

4. Take care of yourself

Make lifestyle changes that are conducive to healthy and less stressful living

• Exercise regularly
• Drink plenty of water
• Maintain a well-balanced diet and eat regular meals
• Try to balance work and personal life
• Schedule time for personal recreation
• Stay involved with family and friends

5. Create a toolbox of techniques.

One stress-shrinking strategy won’t work for all your problems.

• Resist perfectionism
• Don’t try to control the uncontrollable
• Improve communication
• Embrace mistakes
• Get other points of view.

Completely banishing stress from your life may never be an attainable goal. Nor, some would argue, should it be. If you consistently try your hardest and seek new endeavors, you will naturally feel challenged and sometimes even stressed. This is all part of personal growth. Never let stress threatens to overwhelm you.

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