ways to manage stress in the workplace

Use coping skills for mental health to improve work performance

Jobs pay our bills, fill our days, and can give our lives meaning. But they can also be a significant source of stress.

We’ll be the first to admit: There’s nothing wrong with hard work. But when left unchecked, keeping your nose to the grindstone isn’t always what’s best for your mental health.

That’s why we’re making the case for prioritizing your mental health and well-being alongside your job demands. Because it’s okay to have big goals, as long as they don’t negatively impact your life—from your mood to your ability to focus and get things done. 

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of managing stress for maintaining your mental health and enhancing your productivity, and we’ll also discuss various coping skills for mental health that can be applied between meetings, after a long workday, or any time in between.

How workplace stress can impact your personal life

In today's fast-paced work environment, job stress has become an unfortunate reality for many—maybe even you. 

The impact of work stress is multifaceted and can have far-reaching consequences. It affects not only the individual employees, but also the work environment and overall organizational performance.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, one of the most significant effects of job stress is on employees' mental health. Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to decreased mental clarity and focus, making it difficult for employees to perform at their best. Additionally, stress can hinder professional development, as individuals may struggle to learn new skills or take on new responsibilities while under pressure.

Stress can also have physical effects on employees, triggering the fight-or-flight response and leading to increased blood pressure and other health issues. These physical symptoms can further exacerbate the negative impact of stress on mental health and job performance.

What’s more, the impact of workplace stress is not limited to just individual employees. A stressful work environment can create tension between team members, hinder communication and collaboration, and decrease overall job satisfaction. This can ultimately lead to decreased productivity and lower levels of organizational performance.

Given the multifaceted impact of stress in the workplace, it’s essential for organizations to recognize the negative effects of stress and take proactive steps to reduce stress levels. (We have a few ideas for that below.) 

5 ways to stay calm and manage stress in the workplace

If you’re looking for ways to manage stress in the workplace, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are 5 suggestions for you to try: 

1. Keep your emotions in check

Stress is an inevitable part of life. But it's essential to learn how to manage it effectively, which starts with becoming aware of your emotional state and taking steps to regulate it.

For example, when you’re faced with a stressful situation, it's easy to become overwhelmed by negative thoughts or emotions like fear, anger, or anxiety. These emotions can cloud your judgment and make it difficult to think clearly. So to keep your emotions in check, it's important to take a step back and assess the situation objectively. You can do this by taking deep breaths, counting to 10, or engaging in other calming activities like meditation or yoga.

2. Take deep breaths

Breathing exercises are a simple and effective way to deal with stress and promote relaxation. They are a form of meditation that involves focusing on the breath and can be practiced even during brief work breaks and can enhance mental clarity and focus.

Another effective breathing exercise is called "4-7-8” breathing. This involves inhaling for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and exhaling for eight seconds. This exercise can be repeated several times in a row as a relaxation technique.

Breathing exercises have been shown to have numerous benefits, including reducing anxiety, improving sleep quality, and enhancing mental clarity and focus. By practicing these exercises regularly, you can train your body to relax more easily and cope with stress more effectively.

3. Take breaks

Feel stressed at work? Take a break. (There, we said it.) The Pomodoro method is a popular technique that involves working for 25 minutes and then taking a five-minute break. This method can help reduce stress levels and increase productivity.

And if you’re looking for a more mindful way to spend your break time, check out the Balance app’s Pomodoro meditation. It’s a fully personalized experience that lets you choose your background sound—like rain, singing bowls, or focus music—and the type of break you’d like to take between sessions, whether that’s with a guided meditation or silent free time. Try it for free now on iOS or Android

4. Indulge in stress-relieving coloring pages

Indulging in stress-relieving coloring pages is another effective way to reduce stress levels. Coloring can help calm your mind and promote relaxation, so why not give it a try? Print out this coloring sheet and let your creativity shine: 

(Want to print this coloring page? Right-click on the image and select “Save Image As.” Choose a location on your computer to save the image. Once saved, open the file, print it, and then grab your colored pencils. It's time to create your masterpiece!)

5. Try to get in a quick five-minute meditation

Taking a few minutes to meditate during your workday can have a significant impact on your mental health and well-being.

To get started with workplace meditation:

  1. Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably for a few minutes. 
  2. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, allowing your body to relax. 
  3. Focus your attention on the sensation of your breath as it enters and leaves your body, allowing all other thoughts and distractions to fade away.

If you're new to meditation, you may find it helpful to use guided meditation apps like Balance, which can guide you through different types of meditation practices, including mindfulness meditation, Loving-Kindness meditation, and Body Scan meditation.

Help support a low-stress work environment with meditation for beginners

If you’re an employer, you might be wondering how your organization can begin to foster a stress-free work environment. The good news is that there are several strategies and practices that organizations can implement:

  • Flexible schedules
  • Mental health days
  • A supportive work environment
  • Meditation and mindfulness-related group activities

Does your organization already follow any of these strategies? 

Teach and learn coping skills for mental health with Balance

As you can see, managing stress in the workplace is essential for maintaining both the physical and mental health of employees, and the overall health of the company they work for.

So if you’re ready to reduce workplace stress, downloading a tool like the Balance app is a great first step toward finding your calm and stress at work. On Balance, you’ll discover an ever-expanding library of guided meditations and productivity tools designed to help you improve your overall work well-being. Oh, and it’s completely free for your entire first year. 

So, what are you waiting for? Download Balance on iOS or Android, get your entire first year for free, and take control of your stress levels today!

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