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Managing Job Stress - Overview

What to do about job stress

You can reduce some job stress by learning how to manage your time and your job duties. Think about the kinds of events that trigger stress for you at work. Then you can focus on one or two things you can do that will help the most to reduce stress. Here are some ideas:

You and your boss

  • Meet with your manager at least once a year (every 3 or 6 months is even better) to talk about your job and your performance. If a performance review is already part of your job, treat it as a chance to clear up issues that may be causing stress for you. Here are some questions to ask:
    • What is expected of me in this job?
    • Where is this company going? How do I fit into that plan?
    • How am I doing? What are my strengths? How can I improve?
    • What can I expect from you if there's a problem with my work or my job?
    • If I continue to do well, how might my efforts to be recognized?

For more information, see:

actionset.gif Stress Management: Reducing Stress by Being Assertive.

You and your job

  • Get organized. Keep track of your projects and deadlines by making a list of what's urgent. Decide what matters most and what can wait.
  • Don't put things off. Use a schedule planner to plan your day or week. Just seeing on paper that there is time to get each task done can help you get to work. Break a large project into small steps, and set a deadline for each one.
  • Learn to say "no." Don't overcommit yourself. If you take on too much, you're creating stress.
  • Focus. Do one thing at a time. In some cases, you can do two things at a time. But if you start to feel stressed, go back to doing one thing at a time.
  • Concentrate. Try to limit distractions and interruptions. Ask others to give you a block of time when you are not disturbed.
  • Delegate. Ask someone else to take on a task. It's not always important to have all the control.

For more information, see:

actionset.gif Stress Management: Managing Your Time.

Take care of yourself

  • Unplug. Don't let the technologies that help you do your work get in the way of your leisure time. Consider turning off cell phones or beepers when you are with family or friends. And avoid checking work email when you're not at work.
  • Be realistic. Remember that everyone has good days and bad days at work. For more information, see the topic Stop Negative Thoughts: Choosing a Healthier Way of Thinking.
  • Reward yourself. When you finish a difficult task, celebrate. Enjoy a snack at your desk, or—if your job permits—take a short walk or visit with a coworker.
  • Schedule time for fun. If you spend every second of your day getting things done, you may resent never having time for yourself. If your employer offers a flexible work schedule, use it in a way that fits your work style. Go into work earlier and take a longer break at lunch to make time for a yoga class or a walk.
  • Practice breathing and relaxation techniques. You can do these at home or in a quiet place at work. For more information, see:
    actionset.gif Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation.
    actionset.gif Stress Management: Doing Guided Imagery to Relax.
    actionset.gif Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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