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Stress Management at Work: 10 Tips for Preventing Burnout

Updated on October 14, 2013
If you're stressed out from work, then these ideas are for you.
If you're stressed out from work, then these ideas are for you.

Make Your Work Stress Clock Out

Work can become so stressful that just thinking about your job raises your blood pressure. The demands of your job can make you feel helplessly pressured. Somewhere between being managed, managing others, or meeting deadlines, your head starts spinning.

Words like overwhelming, dangerous, or disgusting may describe your job best. You need real stress relief. Effective stress relieving strategies are the prescription. Follow these tips to relieve stress at work.

Deal With Stress At Work

Manage your stress or it will manage you.
Manage your stress or it will manage you.

10 Stress Management Tips: Relieve Anxiety At Work

The following is a list of ways to deal with stress from work. More detailed descriptions follow.

  1. Quit Your Job
  2. Have Fun At Work
  3. Change Your Schedule
  4. Get Support
  5. Know Your Role
  6. Get Active At Work
  7. Balance Your Life
  8. Complete Tasks
  9. Take Short Breaks
  10. Change Your Attitude

If these ways of coping with stress at work do not help you manage stress well enough, try the general coping skills at the end of the article.

1. Quit Your Job

How to get the most immediate relief from stress at work? Quit your job... ...Just joking. If you quit your job today you may create more stress in other areas of your life. For example, your finances may become a new stressor. You can, however, gain something useful from your fantasy stress relieving dream.

Although unrealistic that you would decide to quit immediately, you can start making a plan to move on. Just knowing that there is something better coming gives you hope. You will feel less stress as soon as you have a plan and start working toward moving on to something better.

This may mean you need to go back to school or use your free time to look for a new job. Coming back into work the next day won't be as painful when you go to work knowing that your days are limited. Being trapped in a dead end job is stressful. Break free.

2. Have Fun At Work

It is difficult to be stressed when you enjoy your time at work. If you are able to laugh and have a good time chances are those around you will do the same. Sometimes it only takes one person to get things going. Get out of your comfort zone and have some fun. If you aren't having enough fun at work you need to ask yourself if it's your own fault.

Sometimes this can mean planning events for work such as cookouts, but these are short lived. Figure out a way that you can be sure to have fun as long as you are at work. In other words, make yourself the entertainment. More than likely others will join in, when they see how much fun you are having. It doesn't take much time to have some fun, don't overdo it. This video clip proves that it doesn't take much time for a little harmless goofing off. Don't worry about being lame, most things are funnier in a boring environment like work. Just think about the jokes people laugh at in church. They're not even dirty. After a few minutes of fun everyone can go back to work smiling, and they can go home with a funny story instead of complaints.

3. Change Your Schedule

Sometimes simply changing your schedule can reduce stress. Some people aren't cut out for the night shift. Most organizations will allow employees to change hours after being on the job for 6 months. Ask if you can slide into an opening on another shift if possible.

If changing your shift is out of the question, you may want to try changing you r schedule outside of work. So if you must work night shift, you may be able to change whether you sleep before or after work. Give yourself a chance to get used to these schedule changes as the change itself may bring on an amount of stress.

4. Get Support

If you are feeling overwhelmed to do not know how to do your job, it is time to get some support from your superior. Ask for some advice or training that will help you do your job more effectively and more efficiently. Most bosses will appreciate that you are willing to learn and are asking for advice. This gives them a chance to give you feedback without micromanaging you. A word of caution, you might hear things you don't want to hear. Prepare yourself for anything.

5. Know Your Role

Not knowing exactly what your role is can be extremely difficult. Some employers may create jobs and not really know what your role is when you are hired. If that is the case, you have some freedom to define the role. Otherwise, you should get the details so you aren't guessing. Knowing what you will be evaluated on is important also, so you may want to ask for a copy of the blank evaluation for your position. Sometimes not knowing is the most stressful situation. Even if you hear what you don't want to hear about what your job is, it's better than having the fear or worry.

6. Get Active At Work

Getting active will make you feel more in control, give you an outlet, and possibly improve your working conditions. Using your skills to the fullest will give you the sense of control you need. The more power and creativity you feel, the less stressed you will feel. Ask to be involved in more activities that match your skill set. You may need to give up those that you are struggling with in order to do this. Talk to your employer about what kind of work makes you passionate, and then jump in head first.

Once you become involved with others who care about the same aspects of work you are interested in, find a safe coworker to help you. When you are stressed and need to ask for advice or just vent. Go to that coworker.

Once you start looking at work with some sense of ownership, you may notice spots for improvement. You can now make suggestions to coworkers and supervisors. Your proven interest will give you credibility. Make suggestions that are easy to implement, increase efficiency, and improve employee morale. You'll be on your way to transforming your stressful job to a non stressful environment.

Balance Is The Key To Life

Only wear one shoe at a time, and balance your time on each foot.
Only wear one shoe at a time, and balance your time on each foot.

7. Balance Work And Personal Life

Balance work and personal life to keep your stress levels low. In order to know whether you are balancing these two it is best to keep them separate. When you bring work home with you, or you answer personal calls all day at work, it is difficult to ever get a break from the demands of both realms. Clock out when you leave work, even if you don't use a time clock. You can imagine clocking out. Put yourself on your own time when you leave work. Do not clock in at home until you have mentally clocked out at work.

It's known that the things in your personal life that are most likely to cause you stress at work are family problems, lack of sleep, poor diet, and lack of physical activity. Balancing your life makes you more productive on the job and at home. Don't get trapped in a cycle of unhealthy living. Be assertive. Know how to say no. If you are exhausted or need to spend time with family, say no to extra overtime and come home. The health and other negative effects of overworking can easily outweigh the extra money.

8. Complete Tasks

Some jobs by nature are never ending. You work your shift, and another employee takes over where you left off and you go home. Like an assembly line job, it can be stressful to never see a completed job. If nothing else find small things you can do throughout the day and finish something. Organize your desk, or sweep the floor if you have to. Sense of accomplishment can go a long way.

9. Take Short Breaks

Taking short breaks will break up your stress throughout the day. This is especially helpful for people who do monotonous work. These breaks will help you re energize and will increase your productivity if used appropriately.

Sometimes a short break can mean taking a short walk, but you don't have to go far. Give yourself some time when you feel stressed. You might think of a more creative way to handle the workload if you take a second to stop what you are doing every once in a while.

Keep From Getting Stressed At Work

Don't get hung up on the small stuff.  It's just work.
Don't get hung up on the small stuff. It's just work.

10. Change Your Attitude

Having a relaxed and positive outlook at work can change your stress levels dramatically. Your own personality may be the problem, especially if you find that you seem to be stressed no matter where you are working. Positive attitude leads to positive actions and interactions with others. Negative attitude will poison you and those around you until everyone is stressed. To test this try mentioning something negative about work to your coworkers and see how the others react. Then try the next day mentioning something positive.

Learning to manage stress by changing thoughts is one of the most powerful life changing skills you can acquire. If you become a positive force in your workplace, you will become a pleasure to be around. Others will respect you and seek you out. You will increase your network of support when you have a problem. Minor problems will then seem as they really are.

Use Coping Skills For Stress Management

If none of the above stress management tips help, then you probably need to work on general stress management. Here's a list of coping skills for stress that may help you.

  1. Take a few slow deep controlled breaths
  2. Use deep muscle relaxation
  3. Use guided imagery
  4. Let go of things that you have no control over
  5. Read
  6. Exercise (go for a walk, swim, play tennis)
  7. Laugh
  8. Enjoy a hobby (play a musical instrument)
  9. Take a warm bath
  10. Spend time with friends
  11. Write down your feelings
  12. Make a gratitude list
  13. Use daily Affirmations
  14. Help Others
  15. Take a vacation
  16. Learn Something New
  17. Cook
  18. Enjoy your pet
  19. Worship your God
  20. Play a Game


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    Post Comment
    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      9 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Excellent article Blake, Very well thought out and put together.It is so important to balance work and life and so easy to get wrong. Thanks for sharing, voted up and useful, interesting.

    • sweetguide profile image


      9 years ago from River side

      Very informative piece and well written too. Excellent. Bless you

    • Vanessa Johnsson profile image

      Vanessa Johnsson 

      9 years ago from Washington DC

      Quit job...that's the best idea ever :)) Nice article, thanks!

    • whoisbid profile image


      9 years ago

      I need the break thingy.. Never learned to rest. Keep it up!

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 

      9 years ago from Indiana

      Excellent tips! I know when I started adopting some of these a few years ago, it was amazing. Blood pressure dropped, I was much happier and the burnout went away.

      Voted up and tweeted!

    • HikeGuy profile image


      10 years ago from Northern California Coast

      Thanks for the comprehensive guide -- good job.

      I actually did quit my job -- over a year and a half ago. Now I'm working on balancing my freelancing life. I can attest an attitude change helps make a non-job -- self-employed -- gig bearable during burn-out.

    • PurpleOne profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      I don't need to physically clock out when I leave work but have never thought about visualizing myself doing so anyway as a way to remind myself that yes, I am indeed leaving work now. I think I'll give it a shot and see if it helps! Thanks. :)

    • entconsult profile image


      10 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Excellent article. Should be part of every manual. Especially about living a balanced life: recreation, religion, family, friends. If you spend as much thought about your kid's school play, then the job stressors diminishes in your life.

    • Dmitriy bestlife profile image

      Dmitriy bestlife 

      11 years ago from Moscow

      Let me introduce another way to prevent the problem of stress. Onece and forever. It is about the luck of energy. So pump Yourself with it! All the adaptation resources and vital energy of our organism has gone to fight the consequiences of the pathogenic influences. It is possible to restore the organism energy state by means of drinking structured water. The depression and stress will be gone in a daytime! No compromise with such a newsanse as stress. There is no place for it in a healthy organism.

    • Inese profile image


      11 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Great tips! Work related stress is a huge problem indeed.

    • profile image

      Allied Time 

      11 years ago

      Sometimes it's harder to "clock out" mentally than physically. There are so many people who take their work home, literally or just mentally, and then they end up feeling like they never left. Not only does that add more stress to their lives, it takes away the time they have to relax, spend with family, etc.

    • Blake Flannery profile imageAUTHOR

      Blake Flannery 

      11 years ago from United States

      Thanks for noticing the subtle humor. Sometimes that's what gets you through the day at work.

      I've seen someone make carrots spark in the microwave.

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      11 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Good way to begin the day, Blake! I love the coping skills list-- sounds like good advice in general. Thanks for a thoughtful hub with an undertone of humor, i.e., the girl on one foot. I'd love to see her in the winter. Hmm, not pretty... but balanced. Very balanced, lol. Must be a skater. My kids do that marshmallow in the microwave trick but I have never seen a lightbulb lit.


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