The phone’s ringing non-stop, your deadlines are looming, the children in your care are cranky, or your boss is pressuring you for an update on that big project you’re working on. Everyone who has had a job knows that stressful situations happen at work – sometimes daily. Instead of letting the pressure break you, it’s important to use tactics that help you stay calm under pressure. That way, your performance, productivity, and mental health don’t suffer. Here are some tips on how to do that.
This may seem simple, but taking some deep breaths and letting out that stress that’s building in your body is very helpful. When you’re stressed, your heart rate increases and sometimes your breathing does too. It’s important to take control of your breathing by regulating it to the best of your ability. Take a few deep breaths, focus on something that brings you peace, and keep doing this until you feel like your breathing is normalized.
#2: Get moving.
Exercise can release endorphins that help minimize stress. So, make sure to incorporate regular exercise into your weekly routine. Maybe it just means taking a 30–45-minute walk during your lunch break or planning for a longer workout at the gym before or after work. Physical activity isn’t just great for your body, but it also helps clear your mind, so you can head back to work with energy and a greater sense of calm.
#3: Stay on a routine.
Sleep is always your friend – that’s why it’s important to keep a regular sleep schedule. Even though you might have deadlines coming and it may be tempting to stay up late to stay on track, this can increase your stress levels and wear your body down. Know when your body is saying ‘enough’ and rest. When you do lay down to sleep, do it without a screen, too. The light from your phone, iPad or laptop keeps your brain working, rather than giving it time to wind down and reset.
#4: Stay connected.
When you’re stressed or busy, it’s easy to isolate yourself from others. Fight the urge to withdraw when you’re feeling anxious, and instead reach out to your network of family and friends that you trust. Confide in them and talk through what you’re feeling. Having a supportive group of people to listen to can help you stay calm and remain grounded.
And last, know what’s triggering you. Maybe it’s just a one-time deadline at work that’s causing the problem, or perhaps it is a bigger problem, like a toxic co-worker or an unhealthy workplace culture. Identifying what’s causing the problem will help you find better solutions and help you move forward in a way that is best for you.
Staying calm has been proven to boost creativity and improve concentration. Your brain isn’t feeling pulled in a million different directions and you’re able to focus on your to-do list and allow the creative juices to flow – without getting caught up with significant worry and stress. So, next time you feel the temptation to be pulled down by the pressures of work life, take a second to breathe and rely on the tools you have in your arsenal to control your stress level.