Work-related stress can bring out the best in all of us. Emails, Slack messages, the phone rings, your colleague shows up for an impromptu meeting—it’s enough to tire anyone out.

It's normal to feel a little nervous, especially when you're facing a looming deadline or a challenging assignment. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can ultimately affect your physical and mental health.

Experiencing work-related stress is inevitable—even if you love your job—but there are steps you can take to minimize it.

1. Notice how it affects you

This may sound simplistic, but it's easy to underestimate the impact stress can have on you. If you find yourself emotionally exhausted and pessimistic at the end of the day, take note.

Long-term exposure to uncontrolled stress can harm your physical and mental health, with recent research showing potential links between work-related burnout and depression and anxiety.

2. Write down your stressors

Identifying and recording stressful situations can help you understand what's bothering you. Some of these may be subtle sources of tension, such as an uncomfortable workspace or a long commute.

Keep a journal for 1 week to track your stress triggers and your reactions to them. Make sure to include people, places, and events that gave you a physical, mental, or emotional reaction.

As you write, ask yourself:

  • How does this make me feel? (Afraid, angry, hurt?)
  • What was my reaction? (Do I go to the vending machine or go for a walk?)
  • What are the solutions? (How can I find a solution to this stressor?)

3. Take time to recharge

Taking a few minutes of personal time during a busy day can help prevent burnout.

Listening to interesting podcasts or watching interesting Youtube videos between meetings can help you relax throughout the day.

It's also important to take a break from thinking about your work by not checking work-related emails during breaks and not disconnecting from your phone at night.

4. Hone your time management skills

Sometimes, feeling overwhelmed with work comes down to how organized you are. Try setting a priority list at the beginning of the work week by preparing tasks and ranking them according to importance.

You can also overcome procrastination by setting aside specific blocks of time for deep, focused work.

5. Balance your work and personal life

Being available 24/7 can easily burn you out. It's important to establish clear boundaries between work and home life to help you avoid potential stress.

Part of that means setting aside time to socialize and establishing rules for when you'll check email or answer the phone.

6. Reevaluate negative thoughts

When you experience worry and chronic stress for an extended period of time, your mind may tend to jump to conclusions and view every situation in a negative light.

For example, if your boss doesn't greet you first thing in the morning, your response might be "They're mad at me."

Instead of making automatic judgments, try to distance yourself from negative thoughts and simply observe.

7. Rely on a strong support network

Stay connected with trusted friends and family to help cope with stressful work situations.

If you're struggling with a particularly challenging work week, try asking your parents and friends if they can help you carpool to school on certain days.

Having someone you can lean on during tough times can relieve some of the built-up tension.

8. Take care of yourself

If you often find yourself overwhelmed by work, setting aside time for self-care is a must. This means prioritizing sleep, making time for fun, and making sure you're eating throughout the day.

9. Learn relaxation techniques

Purposefully slowing down and paying attention to your surroundings can help you stay relaxed throughout the week. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness can all relieve your anxiety.

Start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on engaging and enjoying a simple activity—whether it's a short walk in the park or a nice meal at your desk.

10. Stay away from the office gossip mill

Workplace conflict can have a significant impact on your emotional health. Try to avoid participating in gossip situations.

If you know that one of your coworkers is particularly prone to gossip, find ways to spend less time with them or steer the conversation toward safer topics.

Some other conflict avoidance strategies include:

  • Emphasize the positive ("Tom has been juggling lately and is handling it really well.")
  • Ignore the conversation and change the subject to irrelevant matters
  • Walk away ("Sorry, I have a long deadline after lunch and can't stay to chat.")

11. Let go of perfectionism

If you need to get a presentation just right , or find yourself working overtime to perfect a report you finished a few days ago, it might be time to take a step back and reflect.

While perfectionism has some positive benefits, it can also cause a lot of stress and lead to burnout.

Try to keep your high standards in check by focusing on the effort you put into the project rather than personalizing failure when you make a mistake.

12. Go on vacation

Being able to disconnect or "switch off" from responsibilities and work-related activities can help you relax and unwind like no other.

You don’t have to jet-set around the world, either. A non-work accommodation or a few hours trip out of town can still help you reset.

13. Contact your supervisor

Getting support from your boss can significantly reduce burnout.

Schedule a quiet time to talk with them and calmly discuss feelings of being overwhelmed by challenging tasks. Approach the conversation from a place of solving the problem, rather than listing complaints.

For example, you could say that you want to revisit what's expected of you outside of work hours because it feels a little overwhelming right now. The key is to find solutions that help reduce stress.

14. Seek counseling

You don't need to have a mental health condition to try treatment. Feeling overwhelmed at work is a perfectly valid reason to seek extra help and support.

Working with a therapist can help you better identify sources of work stress and help you come up with better ways to deal with them. They can also help you develop strategies to reduce stress and take care of yourself.


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