How NOT to Handle Stress at Work

By Corey Hastings

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Stress in the workplace is inevitable. When emails pile up and meetings run late, stress can take hold, and it can be hard to let go. Handling stress the wrong way can lead to even more problems down the line, and only serves to make things harder.

Here are a 3 of the worst ways to handle stress, and a few tips for how you can better deal with it.

 1. Ignoring the Problem

Avoiding stress is one of the most counterproductive ways to tackle your problems. By sweeping issues under the rug, you’re only forcing them to grow and cause additional stress in the long run.

Instead, take a long, hard look at what exactly is stressing you out, and tackle it head on. Are deadlines always a source of contention? Create a timeline and stick to it. Is a distracting coworker diverting all of your attention? Calmly and respectfully let them know how it’s affecting your work. By being honest with yourself and your work, you will be able to reduce the amount of time you spend stressing about difficult issues.

2. Avoiding Responsibility

We all have responsibilities at work. Some tasks are more important than others, but eventually those less important assignments will pile up.

Instead of stressing out about a seemingly never-ending to-do list, take responsibility for your tasks by getting organized and creating a system of productivity that works for you. If you’re tech-savvy, research the latest app that will help you manage your tasks and time. If you’re more of a pencil-and-paper kind of worker, invest in an efficient task and date book. But the best advice we can give? Make sure tasks get done every day, and try not to focus on what didn’t get done. Even if you can only cross one thing off your list, remember that there is always tomorrow.

3. Complaining

Complaining doesn’t ever seem to help, but it’s a particularly bad idea when it comes to workplace stress. It only works to fuel your already aggravated fire, creating a slew of other problems; complaining can halt productivity and innovation, make things seem worse than they really are, and negatively impact coworkers.

Instead, embrace the idea that things don’t always go as planned, and shift your focus to how you can fix or resolve a situation. Be conscious of how you can best fight your initial reaction to complain, and be mindful of those around you who are on the receiving end.