A stressful workday can be crippling. We’ve all been there before: something just isn’t going right, or perhaps you’re just not in the mood, and from there everything seems to snowball. Small challenges can seem big, basic productivity can become a challenge, and you can become exhausted or irritable. It’s perfectly natural that this should happen occasionally, but it’s also a good idea to have some tools in your back pocket as to how you can go about dealing with it. SO without further ado, here are five tips for how to making things better during a stressful day at work.
1. Stop & Write A List
Writing a list might sound a little bit stressful in and of itself when we’re talking about the idea of feeling overwhelmed. But it can actually be helpful. An article on “mastering the art” of the to-do list described it about like we would: as an age-old productivity tool, valuable even if they often wind up not being completed. When you’re feeling stressed out or too busy at work, consider literally sliding your chair back, turning aside, and writing out a list, either on paper or your phone, of what your top priorities are to get through the day. It serves two functions: first, you get to disengage for a few moments from the actual work and catch your breath, and second you can give yourself a minimalist, sensible plan of attack for the remaining hours of the day.
2. Take It Home
This might not be an option, depending on your job. That said, more and more occupations and industries allow people to work from home, at least some of the time. Even if you don’t make an ordinary habit out of it, this can be a great way to change up a rough day at work. Note: this isn’t a suggestion to merely take the day off (which can lead to more frustration later on). Rather, it’s just a chance to get away from the office, decompress, and resume work at home in a more comfortable environment.
3. Try Breathing Techniques
This is a common idea, and it’s one that may have been best explained in a piece written just last month about how gamers can stay focused. That piece quoted a poker psychologist commenting on frustration and anger, noting that anger can prevent us from making logical decisions. The solutions that followed involved various breathing techniques (such as deep breathing, Sama Vritti, and the increasingly popular “alternate nostril breathing”). These techniques really can help us to ease away from the anger and frustration that come with high-stress situations, such that we can avoid those issues with logical decision-making.
4. Treat Yourself
There was an article by Bustle that listed tips for surviving “a super long work day,” and we couldn’t help but notice two of them basically involved getting away from the desk and having a treat. One was to bring snacks, and the other was to schedule in coffee breaks. Together, these speak to the idea of getting away from your desk when you start to feel stressed, and possibly getting out of the office altogether. Head to a common area or walk to a café down the street, have yourself a coffee and/or small snack, and make your way back. It’s a reasonable break, and it can totally recharge you.
5. Let It Out
You don’t want to complain too much – and probably not at all to your boss or any other superiors – but there’s no harm in letting it be known that you’re having a rough day. Maybe you can vent to a co-worker over lunch, or if you’re allowed to have a chat up on your computer or use your phone to text, you can even talk to a friend and let out some frustration. It can be cathartic, and in fact can even make the situation feel a little more amusing and a little less permanent. You could be back in a productive mode in no time.