Work stress seems to be a fact of life and there are no shortage of people willing to advise you how best to deal with it. The fact that people write whole books on the subject is testament to just how big an issue work stress has become, but how many of us have the time or inclination to wade through them?
A lot of stress is cumulative. That is, those irritating little things build up to a point where eventually something has to give. So, what are the little things we can do as a counter-measure and that we know are effective stress busters? Here's a few thoughts on the matter.
Choose your battles. Conflict is stressful but let's face it, if you took on everyone who pressed your buttons you'd never get your job done. One of the ways you can feel you have a little control is to pick off the small irritations and deal with those in a firm but fair way.
Use your breaks. Don't sit at your desk over lunch. Breaks are there for a reason. Get up, move around, see different things and maybe talk to different people. When you get back to your desk you'll feel just that bit more refreshed and the day won't feel so long.
Fight sterility. I used to work in a place that had no fresh air, no plants, in fact no concession to anything natural, not even the lighting. Even pictures weren't allowed on the walls. Buzzing didn't come from bees so much as fluorescent lighting and computers. I'd often come home with a headache and I put this down to the work environment. My tip is avoid such places if you can, or try to humanise them in some way.
Does it really matter? Very often, when you look back at the issues that troubled you or exercised others you think, what on earth was that all about? There's a balance to be struck between trivialising issues and taking them far too seriously. Try to tread the middle path and you'll keep things in some perspective; so much better for your health.
Removing Shackles. People change jobs for all sorts of reasons, but if you feel trapped and unhappy it's a sure sign that it's time to consider your options. Unhappiness at work is highly stressful and confidence sapping. Not every move has to be for more more or higher status. There's nothing to feel ashamed about if you step down a peg, even if it means a lower income (assuming that's a viable option).
So there we are. A few ideas for targeting work stress. Share yours?