Work can be incredibly stressful. You’re juggling meetings, tight deadlines, and, if you’re lucky, the occasional co-worker drama – it’s enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed and anxious. Fortunately, you don’t have to accept the stress that inevitably comes with most jobs. There are plenty of tactics you can use to manage your stress levels while at work so that work doesn’t become a source of added trauma or anxiety in your life. From setting attainable goals and taking breaks throughout the day to learning how to ask for help and delegating when needed – we’ll go over some specific strategies for managing stress so that you can take steps to create a healthier and more balanced work life.

Identify the source of your stress

When it comes to managing stress at work, it’s important first to identify the source of your stress. Identifying the source of your stress requires a bit of introspection and self-awareness. Are the work tasks themselves causing stress, or is it office politics and interpersonal relationships? Perhaps it’s a combination of both. By pinpointing the specific source of your stress, you can then take steps to manage it effectively. For example, if work tasks are causing anxiety, you might need to re-prioritize or delegate specific tasks to reduce your workload. If it’s office politics or conflicts with coworkers, you might need to work on improving communication or setting boundaries. Knowing the source of your stress and taking action to address it can lead to a healthier and more productive work environment.

Make use of breaks throughout the day

Taking breaks throughout the day is essential to managing stress at work. While stepping away from your tasks may seem counterintuitive, taking a short break can improve productivity by giving your brain a chance to rest and recharge. Research has shown that regular breaks can increase focus, improve performance, and reduce stress. If you work at a desk, taking a quick stroll around the office or doing some light stretching can help alleviate physical tension and lower your risk of developing health problems associated with prolonged sitting. Plus, breaks are an opportunity to mentally check in with yourself and prioritize your tasks for the day. So next time you feel overwhelmed, consider taking a break – your mind and body will thank you.

Set realistic goals and expectations 

Setting realistic goals and expectations is crucial in managing stress in the workplace. Setting unrealistic goals for ourselves can quickly become overwhelming and stressful, leading to burnout and lower productivity. It’s essential to recognize our limitations and prioritize our daily tasks. Doing this allows us to avoid feeling overwhelmed and focus on the most critical tasks. Additionally, setting achievable goals and timelines provides a sense of satisfaction when we accomplish them. This feeling of accomplishment can help boost our confidence, motivation, and reduce stress levels. Setting short- and long-term goals is crucial, as is ensuring they are achievable within a realistic timeframe. Remember, a successful professional is not about accomplishing everything but what is essential and possible within a given timeframe.

Write down everything that’s going on in your head

One effective way to manage stress at work is to write down everything that’s going on in your head. This technique can help you focus on one thing at a time instead of feeling overwhelmed by a cluttered mind. Research shows that writing down your thoughts and concerns activates different parts of your brain and creates a space for problem-solving and clarity. Writing things down can also serve as a reminder to yourself, allowing you to prioritize tasks and avoid forgetting important things. Additionally, the act of writing can be cathartic and provide a release for pent-up feelings. So, if you’re feeling stressed at work, grab a pen and paper and start jotting down your thoughts. For those who do everything on your phone, a notes app can also be an excellent tool for releasing thoughts. You may be surprised at how much it helps.

Make time for regular exercise

Regular exercise is an excellent way to manage stress in the workplace. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals that produce feelings of happiness and well-being. These endorphins help reduce stress levels by counteracting the adverse harmful effects of cortisol, the hormone released during stressful situations. Furthermore, consistent exercise is known to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, both of which can exacerbate stress levels. Studies also show that individuals who exercise regularly tend to have better sleep patterns, increased energy levels, and improved brain function. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine doesn’t have to be complicated; even simple activities like walking, stretching, or practicing yoga can have tremendous benefits. Taking these steps to prioritize physical activity can significantly contribute to a healthier and happier work life, allowing you to manage stress better, sustainably, and effectively.

Have a support network of colleagues and friends

Having a support network of colleagues and friends is crucial to managing stress at work. Many of us spend more time at work than home, so it’s important to have trustworthy people to confide in during challenging times. Studies have found that social support is a powerful coping mechanism when dealing with stress. Having friends at work has been shown to increase job satisfaction, productivity, and overall well-being. Building and maintaining strong relationships with your colleagues can also alleviate workplace tension and foster a positive work environment. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to your coworkers when you need someone to talk to or when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Having a supportive group of individuals who are there for you can make a world of difference in your stress management efforts.

Find what works for you

The above suggestions are suggestions to try to find what works for you. In addition to the tips above, I have found it possible to quietly and quickly release the anxiety of stress with small outlets. While they aren’t necessarily conventional, we can discover what works best with some thought and experimenting.

What works well for me is looking at nature and really taking it in. I take big, calm breaths in and out. I focus on sounds and smells around me while taking in whatever I’m looking at until I feel somewhat of a shift in my body. I’m not looking for a miracle; just a shift in my body will do. The simplicity of this allows me to implement it wherever I am.

Sometimes, I just want to scream thinking about the serene tool of looking at nature, so I do the opposite. Usually, this means I have pent-up emotions of stress, and I need to release it physically.  Turning on the TV to watch a comedy in the middle of the day is so indulgent it feels like a treat. Comedy’s provide a good belly laugh that quickly releases stress. If I’m on the go, I look at Instagram or TikTok and briefly watch adorable little animals do something curious. I always get a hearty laugh. With laughter and the sight of cute animals, happy endorphins fill my body within minutes, and I’m ready to get back to what I was doing.  

Try to find the thing that creates a shift for you in anxiety. We are all individual and unique. The thought of these tools for releasing anxiety may give you anxiety, so put a little thought into your process and be okay to try out a combination of traditional and unconventional methods.


Managing stress is an individual effort, but you don’t have to do it alone. Everyone will have unique challenges and obstacles, but with the help of our friends, family, and colleagues, we can come together to support one another as we learn how to identify our own sources of stress and take mindful action to avoid burning out. These tips are just a starting point, so use them as fuel for further exploration – what can you do today to make your life less stressful? A few small changes could be the answer that leads to lasting peace of mind. Reach out if you need help finding it, no matter how big or small your goal might be.

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