4 ways to get calm when faced with stress at work

Work stress can be anything that creates the seed of anger within. And long-standing stress is unequivocally unhealthy even though we think of it as normal.

But like many things, all that is normal, isn’t necessarily healthy.

The number one way that you keep the stress loop going is by minimizing its impact on yourself, your work, and the people around you. And without proper care, stress will run your life … into the ground.

Even though stress is an expected part of life, you can learn how to be mindful about creating strategies that keep you more balanced so that you’re not caught off guard repeating cycles.

You are doing yourself and your community a favor when you create early detection systems as well as healthy habits.

And however stressful stress may be, let’s not forget that your piqued stress response isn’t an enemy. It’s a predictable human response that tells you that a need isn’t getting met or that you are pitting needs (that are equally valid) against one another.

For example, it’s okay to want freedom and security. Or rest and adventure. But we don’t necessarily always go about meeting those simultaneous needs sustainably.

What you’re needing in these moments of stress is awareness. But awareness is hard to come by without planning for the inevitable.

It’s a little-known fact that the more you like who you are, the more self-awareness you allow into your life.

So what can you do to get calm so that you can deal with the stress of your situation? How can you get back to being productive and effective as quickly as possible? How can you like yourself more to increase your self-awareness?

Here are 4 strategies plus some rationale for what you can do:

:: Acknowledge how you are really feeling to yourself.

When you won’t admit how you feel to you, you end up being the very person that you don’t want to be at work.

In an irritating moment, you could be escalating the situation and not even be aware of it only to regret it later. Whereas, if you admit how you feel to yourself first, your energy and what you can control will return to you.

:: Breathe.

Sounds simple enough but you’d be amazed at how disjointed, shallow, or disassociated you are from your body when you’re experiencing stress. Your body is having the mammalian response it would to physical danger – like something is going to jump out of the bushes and eat you.

If you can gather your wits about you to breathe fully and deeply into your belly in a soft, measured way you’re going to start to feel like your vital signs have returned to normal more quickly than you’d think. Instant calm.

:: Have a regularly scheduled appointment with a professional.

It’s kind of amazing (read: unreasonable) what we’ve come to expect of ourselves in modern times. There’s the house, the kids, the social media updates, the real friendships, the car, the vacation, the renovations, the presentations, the grocery shopping, the laundry, the house cleaning… it’s a lot.

And then on top of that, there are the hassles that come as part of becoming a fully realized human being that has something to contribute through their work.

It’s amazing that you remember to breathe at all, but even so, having a professional that’s there for you to help you process, digest, and metabolize your human experiences is what actually helps you to exist as a calmer version of yourself in the first place. Otherwise, things build up to steal your calm.

Is it an investment of time and energy and money?

Yes, but if it’s effective, it’ll be the best money, time, and energy you ever spend. If you’re the support that you expect yourself to be and ask other people to rely on, having someone there is a sure way not to falter for those you want to offer yourself to.

:: Rest well.

Though we live in a world where “work” and “life” are thought of as compartmentalized, this isn’t how it actually works. Not being able to turn your mind off when you get home from work will tell you that this is the case. So if you want to truly be someone that keeps calm, then rest well.

I’m not necessarily talking about catching your zzz’s – although that’s ideal, getting enough sleep comes from resting your strengths by giving them fun tasks and not just the tasks that have to get done.

Things like reading, doing a puzzle, building a snowman, going on a bicycle ride, stopping at the beach or the park on the way home to play with the kids, or browsing through the greeting card collection at your favorite store. These are mini vacations and as valuable as anything else that you do.

You’re not human if you don’t know how to rest well and you’re definitely not calm if you don’t rest well. If you’re struggling to make any rest time for yourself, I suggest pursuing number 3 until you realize that you matter, just not in the way that you think.

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