How to cope with things you can’t control at work
Three ways to stop the stress spiral
- Meditation is a great way to relieve stress at work and bring yourself back to a peaceful place
- To help you cope with work stress, put some time on your calendar just for yourself
- Instead of letting yourself get stressed out and angry about all the things you can’t control, focus on what you can change
There are just some things in life that are beyond your control. Work is no different. From difficult co-workers to never-ending piles of paperwork, whatever your work stress is, there are ways to help yourself better manage stress.
When the uncontrollable happens, this guide will give you three ways to help you cut down on stress and regain control.
As humans, it’s only natural to spend a lot of time fretting. You can spend countless hours worrying over problems at work, co-workers, or the seemingly endless amount of work that needs to be done. Fretting isn’t productive, however. Instead of dwelling on things that are out of your control, bring yourself back to center and focus on the present with meditation.
Meditation is a great way to relieve stress at work and bring yourself back to a peaceful place. Not only is meditation a free exercise, but it is also something that can be done anywhere and in as little as just a few minutes.
Practicing just a few minutes of meditation each day can improve your mood, decrease anxiety, and boost your immune system, according to the Psychosomatic Medicine Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine.
Make a calendar appointment for time alone
Your day may always be filled with appointments, conference calls, and meetings. To better help you cope with work stress, put some time on your calendar just for yourself. Block out a 10 to 30 minute period on your calendar where no one can schedule you. This can be during lunch or even before or after work. You just need to put it on your agenda and pretend like it’s an urgent appointment that can’t be moved.
Take this time to go outside, go for a walk, call a friend, workout, or sit somewhere and read a book. Whatever you do, shut off your phone, don’t look at your emails, and unplug. Giving yourself a small block of time to just relax will go a long way to recharge your batteries and help you reduce stress.
Focus on what you can control
There’s a lot about your job you probably can’t control. Whether it’s a co-worker who doesn’t pull their weight or a boss with unrealistic deadlines, work can be stressful. Instead of letting yourself get stressed out and angry about all the things you can’t control, focus on what you can change.
Take some time and list out everything that is currently causing you stress or anxiety at work and make a plan to change something you can control. You can’t control other people and you can’t change everything in a day. You can, however, change how these things affect you and make a plan to make changes that make you happier.
Changes you can make yourself include, changing your work hours, speaking with your manager or co-workers, working remotely one day a week, outlining an action plan for your team, or coming up with an idea of solutions to a problem.
If you are stressed at work, others probably are as well. Host a meeting to vent and brainstorm solutions. Your actions will go a long way to show people you are solution-oriented, and sometimes just venting can reduce stress all around.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
- How to manage stress when symptoms become physical | Living 101
Stress affects far more than the mind. Learn how to manage it before it controls you.
- Stress relief is easy with these 5 yoga moves | Living 101
These five yoga positions can be done safely and easily and should knock stress right out of your day.