When you’re having a bad day at work, it seems to affect everything in your life. Add in some holiday stress, some in-law drama, and it becomes tempting to pull the covers over your head and call it a day at 7am.
I know that the magic of the holidays often feels lost with the stresses that are around us. These stresses are magnified at work, which makes every trigger seem even stronger. The good news is that there are ways for you to transform your workplace from the inside out. I’ve got 5 simple steps for you to follow.
Step #1: It’s Not About You
I know stuff at work can be tough. It seems like people are sometimes out to get you. Here’s the problem: other people feel like you are out to get them. So it becomes important to remember that the stress that is happening isn’t directed at you personally.
It’s a reflection of what everyone else is experiencing.
Acknowledge your feelings. Be aware of the moments that are making you feel stressed out and avoid them if you can. Implement a coping skill if necessary. And if the feelings seem like they could be related to depression, get some professional help.
Step #2: Take a Deep Breath
Breathing really can make a big difference when you’re having a bad day. I like to breathe in for a 4-count, then breathe out for a 4-count, and do this a handful of times. On the last breath, I breathe in as deep as I can, then I let it go as slowly as possible. Try to do the deep breathing exercises at least once per hour.
It has a remarkable effect on the nervous system. You will feel calmer and ready to become productive once again.
Step #3: Set Meaningful Priorities
I sometimes get these big projects, but they’re due in 5-6 weeks. That doesn’t mean I won’t stop stressing out about it. The stress sometimes hits as soon as the assignment comes through. What I’ve learned to start doing is setting clear priorities for myself.
In other words, take things one day at a time. Focus on what needs to be done today. The present has enough worries of its own. The future can wait for tomorrow.
Step #4: Make an Effort to Be Compassionate
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays – or even a long day at work – the focus tends to go inward. I know in those times I feel like I just need to take care of me. When you can put the focus outward and be compassionate toward others, you’ll find that the response often comes back the same way.
I’ve found this is also a great way to stop arguments with co-workers as well.
Step #5: Take Care of Yourself
You need to recharge your batteries from time to time. Tension will drain your energy like crazy. So spend some time decompressing. Go take a walk. Grab some lunch. Leave your desk or cubicle and do anything other than work. That way whatever stress is going on can be left alone for a few minutes.
We all have bad days come our way, but it doesn’t have to say that way. By transforming how you look at each moment with these 5 steps, you can begin to change everything from the inside out.
How do you handle stressful situations? What coping skills have worked wonders for you?