Do you want to learn how to reduce stress and anxiety at work? If YES, here are 20 effective stress management tips, tricks and activities for employees or entrepreneurs.

What is Stress?

Stress can be said to be the body’s physical, mental and emotional response to external stimulus such as danger or threat. When a human being is faced with a dangerous or threatening situation, the body releases a flood of stress hormones including Cortisol and Adrenaline into the blood stream.

These hormones help to aggrandize focus, increase reaction time, tighten muscle and increase strength and stamina, thereby helping you to surmount the situation as best as possible by fighting or fleeing from the situation.

This just goes to show that stress is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, stress can help to keep you on your toes during a presentation at work. However, the human body at times can’t tell the difference between physical danger and emotional distress and as such, it may react exactly the same way to both physical and emotional threat.

For instance, your body may interpret your trying to meet a deadline at work as a physical danger resulting in the release of stress hormones. When this happens quite often, it becomes even easier for the body to release the aforementioned hormone and more difficult to shutoff leading you to be in a heightened state of stress most of the time.

What are the Top 5 Triggers of Stress in the Workplace

  • Not taking enough breaks during work
  • Working when you are ill or sick
  • Difficult colleagues and customers
  • Lack of control in the work place
  • Poor work place environment such as poor lightening or poorly configured work station

5 Signs to Know That You are Stressed Out or Fatigued

i. You Are Stressed Out When You Find It Difficult To Sleep (Suffering from Insomnia)

One of the major signs that you are stressed is when you find it difficult to fall asleep at night or when others are sleeping. You will discover that your mind is always moving to and from different issues and you are always looking at the clock to know how many hours you are likely going to sleep. There are people who are so stressed that they can’t fall asleep without taking sleeping pills. If you are guilty of this, then you are always stressed out.

ii. You Are Stressed Out When You Snap At People Easily

Another sign that will show that you are stressed out is when you snap at your children, subordinates or even fellow road users when you are driving with little or no provocation. For example; if you are in the habit of cursing fellow drivers when you feel that they infringed on your right or try to overtake you unprofessionally et al, it shows that you may be stressed out. If you are stressed, you will surely show impatience when relating with others.

iii. You Are Stressed Out When You Always Have Headache or Frequently Fall Sick

When stress becomes too much for a human to bear, it usually leads to frequent headaches and a breakdown of the immune system which ultimately will lead to sickness and high blood pressure. So, if you have noticed that you are always battling incessant headaches or you notice that you always fall sick, then you need to check it out because it might just be a sign that you are stressed out.

As a matter of fact, if you are stressed out, you may likely have acne in your face and other parts of your body; your back and neck will be hurting and you will easily be fatigued. In some rare cases, if you are stressed, your hair might start falling off.

iv. You Are Stressed Out When You Find it Difficult To Concentrate 

Your inability to concentrate on a given task at work or at home, or when you find out that you are always making mistakes on things or tasks you can easily handle when you are calm, shows that you are stressed out. As a matter of fact, people that are under probation at work or under close scrutiny are likely going to be stressed out. Take for example, if you are an accountant or better put an auditor and you find it difficult to always balance the books, you need to check it out because it is a sign that you are stressed.

v. You Are Stressed Out When You Are Battling Low Libido

If you are struggling with your sexual life especially as a married person or you find it difficult to get aroused when you ought to, the possibility that you are under stress out cannot be ruled out. As a matter of fact, if you are suffering from low libido and you visit a medical consultant, one of the things they are likely going to probe for is stress.

Why Should Entrepreneurs, Employees and Employers Care about Stress in the Workplace?

For starters, a recent study has shown that employees are looking for less stressful jobs. Stress also accounts for 75% of all visits to the doctor and a Harvard study observed that stress related depression is the number one cause of missed work. Furthermore, stress also accounts for a 10% estimated loss in gross domestic product (GDP) of the united states of America which roughly adds up to 1.4 trillion dollars.

Stress in the work place is a major problem in many work places whether big or small. So many people are experiencing stress at work and no one is really immune to work place related stress; be you the boss or the employee. Here are a few practical tips that employees and entrepreneurs can use to tackle stress in the work place:

20 Stress Management Tips and Tricks for Employees and Entrepreneurs

1. Start your Day on a Positive Note

The mode and energy you bring into the day is going to set the tone for the day and impact the kind of thoughts, feeling you have, the kind of actions you take and your reactions to other people and circumstances in your work place.

Therefore, the more centered, calm and positive you start the day, the better chances you have of not succumbing to the pressures, demands and stress of the working environment. Try and think positive thoughts before you leave for work in the morning as it will help you to face the challenges of the day. A positive audio or some soothing music could also help you to achieve this.

2. Seek the Company of Others

For entrepreneurs, they should seek the company of other entrepreneurs. You can get a mentor or join an entrepreneurial organization. This will help you to form a built-in group of people who know the struggles that you are going through, and they may be either going through it or they have been there several years ago and can help you to figure out the solutions that have worked for them in the past. Also the company of family and friends can help individuals to ease stress of the work place.

3. Be in Control

When you get to your work place, you need to know that you are in control of your day. You are managing your routine and therefore choosing how the day will go for you. You are not just coming to work to be thrown and knocked around by the events in the work place.

Granted, on some days there are situations that can occur that are slightly out of your zone and control radius. This may include unexpected demands and events, but you should start your day with a routine that gives you a sense of control. Manage your tasks and to-do lists so as to prepare you for the day ahead.

This could include simple tasks like starting the day with a nourishing hot beverage, greeting people in your work place and asking about their well being, deciding what it is that you have to start your day with etc. This is needed in other to sit yourself up. Don’t just rush to work and start reacting to everything and everyone around you. Make sure you settle yourself down and try to map out how the day will go.

4. Avoid Perfectionism

Being perfect is a notion that a lot of people strive to attain, but the fact still remains that perfection can’t be attained- at least not by human beings. You can offer a solid work with high quality without having to be obsessed and infatuated about it.

Actions related to perfectionism like setting very high standards on both the part of the entrepreneur and employees, extreme frustrations on not meeting targets and blaming oneself can help to increase stress levels in an individual. Instead of setting very high standards, set targets that are realistic and attainable considering the resources at hand. Just remember that perfectionism can be exhausting and can burnout an individual easily.

5. Balance and Nourish Yourself

If you are dehydrated, starved, overworked and tired, then there is an extremely high chance that that individual will be stressed. Also, other smaller issues are more likely to stress out an individual when he or she is hungry or dehydrated.

Having adequate nourishment is doubly important when you are working on a really busy work, because some people don’t take food with them to work, they don’t have food readily available at the workplace and before you know it, 6 hours has passed. These types of situations lead to individuals being very reactive to situation leading to further stress.

6. Have a Visual Reminder of the Most Important Thing in your Life at your Workplace

It is so easy to get so immersed in the job that it becomes a do or die affair. This can cloud our judgment, making us to forget what life is really about and what is most important for us in life. A visual reminder such as a picture of your spouse, kids, family members or religious symbol on your desk in the work place can help to take your mind away from the exhaustive working environment.

If your hobbies or goals and dreams outside of your current job are most important to you, they can help you remember the bigger and deeper meaning of being alive. You need to have something in your work place to remind you because when you get stressed out at work, you get sucked into a vortex of your job or business and lose sight of the bigger picture.

You should bear in mind that no matter how important your role in a company is or the duty you carry out, if you leave your job, the company will still carry on (in most cases, with time, it will be like you never left!). So just bear in mind that no work is worth giving up your life or family for.

7. If Possible, Delegate

Trying to do everything by yourself or trying to be at all places at the same time can quickly burnout an individual. It important to note than not matter how competent an entrepreneur or an employee is, he/she cannot do every task. Instead of trying to micromanage tasks, it is better to delegate excess duties to competent members of staff. This is where an efficient team comes in. By spreading out the work more evenly, everyone will get fewer duties and as such will be less stressed.

8. One Thing at a Time

Taking tasks one at a time helps to greatly reduce stress. Instead of starting all the tasks for the day at the same time with the aim of jumping from one task to the other, try to tackle your duties one at a time. If you must multitask, try to multitask with as few functions as possible.

9. Don’t Create Extra Drama Where There is None

W very good way of reducing stress is to not exaggerate problems or make mountains out of mole hills. Don’t create extra drama or overthink a problem that isn’t even much of an issue to being with. When you are faced with a problem that has the potential to lead to stress, it is helpful to pause and ask yourself, “will this problem still matter in say 4 weeks or 4 years from now?” this will help you to see the fleeting nature of some problems we encounter.

10. Take a Breath

Deep diaphragmatic breaths will help to calm you down in stressful situations. So if you are experiencing any major negative emotion such as anger, fear and anxiety that could be a precursor to stress, you would have to take deep breaths to calm yourself down; take deep conscious breaths while focusing on the air coming in and out of your lungs. Slow and deep breaths help to nullify the stressful response that you are experiencing and will create more calm and more balance within you for you to be able to carry on with what you are doing.

11. Take Time Out

Taking about 3 to 5 minutes time-out can greatly help to reduce stress. Get up from your work environment and just move away from it to a place where you will not be disturbed. You can sit in the toilet cubicle, if possible go for a walk round the block or you can go to the kitchen and make yourself a cup of tea.

Taking a timeout from your work station will also help to increase your productivity in the long run as continuously straining yourself will eventually lead to stress. A time out will give you a short break which helps you to recharge and refresh your mind. Also, entrepreneurs should encourage their staff to take a break when they need it.

12. Change your Routine

If possible, change your routine as the same routine you use on a day to day basis can get boring and then end up stressing you up. A strictly scheduled routine can get boring as time goes on. Entrepreneurs and employees can if possible change working hours, working half day once in a while and going out with friends and family members. This will help to break the routine of the work and will make the person ready to surmount the problems of the work place,

13. Focus on the Solution: Instead of just focusing on the problem, you can turn the table upside down by focusing on the solution. Focusing on the problem will not get rid of it and will achieve nothing except stressing you up. Be positive and focus on the solution as this is more productive.

14. Pack Before you Sleep: To avoid the early morning stress of rushing to pack your suitcase for work, you can pack it before you go to bed at night. This will also help you to pack every important thing you will need for work the next day.

15. Take Action

Some situations that cause stress in the work place may require you to take actions against the stressor as opposed to just trying to modify your actions in response to the stimulus. This may include having a conversation with people in the work place, re-arranging the work place to be more effective etc. These are aimed at making external changes that will result in less stressful situations.

16. Have a Plan for the Next Day

Before you close for work for any given day, try to have a plan for the next day. Just take 3 to 5 minutes at the end of the working day to clear your desk, make a list of any outstanding work, and make a list of what you need to do the next day. A work area that looks disorienting early in the morning can further stress out someone who is already stressed. Also a work desk with fewer items on it has fewer tendencies to be crowded, so keep it simple.

17. Relax in the Evening

Engage in activities in your evening that is relaxing that will help to set you up for a good night’s rest. Switching your mind away from the stress and demands of the work place may not be an easy task; therefore, you will need to give your mind a helping hand by choosing to proactively engage in activities that will relax your mind. This could be by way of aroma therapy, taking a long bath or mediating or listening to some audios. This is necessary so as to help you achieve a good night’s rest so that you can wake up fully prepared for the next day.

18. Ask for help: Most a times in life, if you don’t ask for help, no one will know that you need it. Seek help from friends, family members or even a therapist. They can help by offering you comfort and advise which will help you to overcome times of stress.

19. Keep Away from Unhealthy Coping Habit: Turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol, food, drugs as a source of comfort will only help to further stress and frustrate you in the long run and will ultimately end up multiplying your problems. It is better to out rightly avoid these bad coping mechanisms from the onset as they can snowball out of control.

20. Find Out What Stresses You Out the Most

Almost everyone in this world passes through stress at one point in time or the other. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who are tasked with managing their businesses and employees who are faced constantly with deadlines and a hostile working environment. Stress in general normally comes with the work and as such finding out situations that stress you can help you to halt stress on its onset.

Identifying the signals of stress can help to mitigate stress for entrepreneurs and employees. Signals of stress include palpitation of the heart and profuse sweating. When these signals are recognized for what they are- the precursor to stress, they can be brought under control.

Always bear in mind that a stressed person is an unproductive person, so take care of your mind, soul and body so as not to fall into the stress trap.

5 More Activities to Help You Overcome the Stress

If you are stressed out and you want to overcome it, here are five more activities that you need to engage in;

21. Go For A Walk

If you are stressed out at work, one of the easiest ways to overcome such stress is to go for a walk. For example, if you find it difficult to concentrate on a task at work, or you are finding it difficult to come by a breakthrough idea or solution to a task, you can decide to go for a short or even a long walk away from your work environment.

In most cases, you will find out that when you come back from your walk, you will usually come back with fresh ideas. The bottom line is that taking your mind off the task and taking a breather will surely give room for fresh ideas to flash through your mind and also you will be able to concentrate more because your nerve will become calm and ready to go.

22. Engage In Yoga or Any Relaxation Technique

If you are stressed out and you truly want to overcome the stress, one of the activities that you should engage in is yoga or any relaxation technique. Many relaxation techniques are usually recommended when it comes to overcoming stress and such technique are guided imagery, taking deep breaths from the diaphragm, meditation, massages and of course, yoga.

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice or discipline that focuses on breath control, flexibility and strength and originated in india. Yoga will help you relax your nerves and that is basically what you need to overcome stress. The truth is that when your nerves are relaxed, you will find it easier to fall asleep and that is a good sign that you are not stressed in any way.

23. Dance, Dance and Dance More

As simple as this sounds, it is one quick formula that will help you overcome stress. Dancing to music for a period of time whenever you are stressed out or when you are depressed will help you take away the burden from your shoulder and make you feel light.

It might not be easy initially to start dancing to music when you have a huge burden in your heart, but just ensure that you keep at it and it won’t be too long before you start experiencing good feelings within your body. If you know you will find it difficult to start dancing on your own, then you should try and attend a dancing party or join a neighborhood dance club.

24. Take Few but Long Inhales and Exhales

One of the simplest activities that you can engage in if you are stressed out is to take few but long inhales and exhales (deep and even breathing). This type of breathing technique can help in effectively regulating the heart rate and blood flow, as well as muscle tension.

The truth is that if your heart rate is under control and your blood is flowing as it ought to, then you have no business being stressed out. The good thing about this activity is that you can do it at work, on your bed, in your car or just about anywhere you find yourself and within few minutes you are done and your stress is gone

25. Go Fishing

You must have noticed that it is not everybody that goes fishing that actually do it for commercial purposes or because they need to eat a fresh water fish that they can’t afford. As a matter of fact, rich people, top executives, business owners and celebrities go fishing for the fun of it and ultimately for the purpose of relaxing and taking away stress from their lives. So, if you are stressed out and you want to overcome stress, you can try fishing.

Ajaero Tony Martins