Even if you love your job, there are going to be days when you’re so overwhelmed and stressed you don’t know whether to scream or cry. Or both. It happens to everyone and unless you’re self-employed and don’t speak to customers and clients, you won’t have a lot of opportunity (if any) to let that stress out Even if you love your job, there are going to be days when you’re so overwhelmed and stressed you don’t know whether to scream or cry. Or both. It happens to everyone and unless you’re self-employed and don’t speak to customers and clients, you won’t have a lot of opportunity (if any) to let that stress out without risking your career. So how can you stay calm when you feel like exploding and deal with stressful coworkers and situations without damaging your reputation? Here are a few tricks to stay calm under pressure to get you through the tough situations your job throws at you!
- Breathing exercises. Okay, these don’t work for everyone and every situation but often, if you feel overwhelmed and angry and just want to SCREAM at work, taking a moment to close your eyes and breathe deep can get you back on track. It may be a cliche, but the old advice of “counting to ten” to ease your stress works. Deep breathing releases endorphins throughout your body, which can promote feelings of calm or happiness. It also allows you to take a moment to really think about the stressful situation and come up with rational solutions instead of the more cathartic but less job-friendly yelling or tantrums. Though you can research different breathing exercises, the easiest is just breathing evenly---inhale for a count of five, hold, exhale for a count of five. Repeat as necessary!
- Make a joke. When I’m stressed, I think of this one joke that makes me laugh every time. It’s not that funny, honestly, but it can make me laugh, which eases a lot of the tension and stress. The joke is: sixteen sodium atoms walk into a bar, followed by Batman. The key to getting the joke is knowing that the chemical symbol for sodium is Na. Get it? But if jokes aren’t your thing, it can be helpful to have a funny picture, meme, or video to check out when you’re about to crack from the stress.
- Go for a walk. Instead of stewing about the situation at your desk and being unproductive, take ten minutes for a walk. Depending on your preference, this could be a slow stroll or a fast power walk. Whatever works better for you! By leaving the situation for a moment, you can gain new perspective and work out the stress and anger during your walk. Added bonus, walking even short amounts per day can help you feel a little bit healthier!
- Find a fidget spinner or anxiety cube. So, fidget spinners are the new “it” thing. You see them everywhere: the grocery store, the gas station, online. While the craze may fade out like other fads (looking at you, silly bandz), psychologists say that we’ve been using fidget items long before these toys became popular. If you’ve ever clicked and clicked and clicked a pen without even thinking about it, you’ve used an item to fidget and release tension or anxiety. Studies have also shown that fidgeting with something, whether it’s a toy designed for that purpose, a stress ball, or anything else you have in your vicinity can promote focus and calm. If other tricks don’t help you calm down, give this a try! You don’t even have to buy anything; a retractable pen or pencil can work wonders.
These tricks aren’t guaranteed to make everything better. If your work stress isn’t just a straightforward bad day, you may want to consider other alternatives. Finding yourself angry and stressed every day at work can mean it’s time to start looking for a new company. But using any of these techniques to deal with normal, run-of-the-mill stress can make a huge difference in your work experience. Don’t worry, you’ve got this!