You hate the boss. Some of the clients are really weird. That creepy co-worker keeps coming up with more ways to bother you. If one more co-worker asks you to buy candy or cookies for their child’s sales efforts (and you’re dying to ask “Is this REALLY what scouting and parochial school are all about?”) then you might explode. The mindless drivel of what you do is driving you up a wall, and nobody ever has anything good to talk about. The pay is lousy, too. The place looks like a bomb shelter with its dreary drapes and bland flooring. Nothing is fun or funny anymore. Well, Dave Barry columns might be, because, seriously, who needs nude badminton when there are rackets made from breadsticks?
If the above seems to describe your situation, you’re not alone. Workplace stress is a known problem. Mail delivery personnel and the people learning how they lost their minds on the job call it “Going Postal.” But dissatisfying employment doesn’t always lead to violence, though it can too often lead to despair.
Office humor like that shared article above can relieve some of the pain. But if the occasional humorous article just isn’t enough to help you to overcome the stress at work, you need better survival tools. There are many to choose from.
A time-honored classic of de-stressing in any situation is to control as much of the situation as possible. Ask yourself what you want, what soothes you. Take on the task of calming down in part acts, not all at once. That allows your body and mind to adjust to the changes rather than rebelling because you feel overwhelmed.
Slow down the pace of your work efforts if you feel rushed. Streamline some processes if possible. Need to pick up the pace because you want to or, a colleague said so? Focus on the aspects of your job that make you happy or cause minimal distress. Get the easy stuff done. Refresh yourself before handling harder tasks. Reward yourself for accomplishments in realistic ways: Take a walk outdoors, have a soothing snack, read or do something that pleases you. Keep your changes at a gradual pace to prevent burnout and forgetfulness. Backtrack when necessary. As your sense of well-being improves, you’ll be able to identify which strategies are helping you.
Another way to de-stress is to put things into perspective. Memorize the sayings of philosophers, comedians or spiritual guides that soothe you. Or keep relevant reading materials at your desk. If you can bookmark relevant sites on your office computer, do that, too. Count your blessings, too. Jot them down in a journal each day, or ponder them in your mind as necessary.
None of the suggestions above will solve your workplace problems, but they just might strengthen you to endure them, maybe even overlook them. Practice the techniques that work for you, and enjoy your lowered blood pressure.