Stress at work sucks, but pretty much everyone will experience it at some point in life. Although there are obvious things that can make you stressed at work – job security, lack of motivation, or just stressful work in general – I’m going to focus on what stressors I face on a daily basis at work.
My job involves a lot of sitting, and even if I don’t feel stressed, muscle soreness often starts in my shoulders and neck. Then, I feel stressed from this! Sitting in the same position for too long can stress the body, so to combat this I’ll get up and walk around the office or even go to the bathroom to do stretches. If you have access to a stand-up desk, I recommend alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day.
Something else that actually stresses me out at work is boredom and looking at the clock, waiting for the day to end. Doesn’t this seem counterintuitive? Even though I always have work to do, sometimes my brain’s just had enough and I want to go home. To improve this, I’ll take a break, listen to some music, or go grab some coffee and start a friendly conversation with a fellow human. Sometimes, we just need a break! This does not make you a weak person.
HUNGER. Sitting all day can make me feel anxious and bored. This causes me to feel hungry. But, since I’m sitting all day, I don’t want to cave and eat unhealthy. Eating sugar can actually make me feel more anxious. I try to pack myself some extra food (yummy snacks, but still on the healthier side). I’ll pack something that will satisfy my “sugar” or “salt” cravings, but won’t be too unhealthy. Examples include nuts, some sort of protein, peanut butter, crackers, or a granola bar.
The last stressor I face at work is when I have too much of a workload, or my supervisor is putting the pressure on to get something done. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to say NO. Tell your boss you’ll do it another day! If you feel like you’re going to lose your job if you don’t say yes to every request, you should probably find another job, or at least another team. It comes down to this: your boss or manager might not know that you’re feeling so much pressure. If you communicate to your boss that you’re feeling too much pressure and they’re a decent human being, they’ll likely hold off on some responsibilities.
A lot of other stressors can pop-up at work too that aren’t even related to the “work”. Personal issues, work-life balance, disagreements with coworkers… the list goes on. A job is something you do everyday for about 45 years of your life. So, try to make the best of it. Maybe you’re not in the right office if you’re stressed constantly. Remember to get up and walk, talk to humans at lunch (don’t sit at your desk and watch cat videos on YouTube – feed your social instincts!!), and just practice awareness. There’s tons of apps out there that will help you become more aware of your body and brain, find habits that make you stressed, and help you press the reset button now and again.