Work Stress and How to Reduce It, Starting from the Roots

relax work stress-trees and lake
Don’t let work stress eat you up.

Work stress is part of daily life for many. 

And no matter what your work situation is, the better you manage your work stress, the happier and more productive you’ll be in all facets of your life. 

So, while work stress may often be a given, it doesn’t have to be in the driver’s seat in your life.

Work Stress and How to Relieve It

First, it’s important to identify the source of your stress.  Work stress usually falls into one of four categories:

  • Overload and overwhelm,
  • Difficult co-workers,
  • Demanding or unreasonable bosses, and, especially these days,
  • Anxiety about uncertain times.

This list may, itself, feel overwhelming. But there really are things you can do to relieve these stressors.  And many of them are things that you can put into action right away. So, let’s take each item on the list, one at a time.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed start by scanning your schedule. Can you change your routine or rearrange something to make more time available to get your work done?  Are there tasks you can eliminate temporarily?  Or could someone else pick them up for you?  Being proactive and making even small changes may ease things considerably. 

If you continue to feel swamped and have a boss, speak to him or her. Communication is key, both for working things out and as another stress reliever.  Simply sharing your feeling may open you to new possibilities.

Difficult Co-workers 

There are difficult people in all walks of life, and this is something you’re likely to face no matter where you work.  But, you don’t have to let it stress you out.  

One stress management technique is to confront the issue directly. If the problem continues and you aren’t able to ignore it, another possible solution would be to ask to be moved to a different department or area. Would it be possible to flex schedules, or perhaps even to work from home?

Another option to consider might be to not respond or engage around the behavior that is bothersome, but try to connect in some other way. The person might respond by leaving you alone. Or, maybe better yet, he or she may befriend you. Either way, you are reducing your stress. This is the most helpful and growthful solution.

Demanding Boss

First of all, remember, your boss is your boss.  It is usually unwise to approach this person in a confrontational manner. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t try talking.

To do this successfully, schedule a meeting.  Then, before it happens, spend some time writing out your thoughts. This in itself relieves your stress because you feel clear and prepared.  It will also help you clarify your issues, state your case, and stay on topic. Don’t be blaming; aim to simply be factual.  Remember that your power lies in how you respond, but your boss does have power over your employment.  So, if speaking your mind doesn’t have the impact you’d hoped for, you’ll need to let it go.  Work to find the positive learning embedded in this experience.  Let yourself be guided by your steadiness and discipline.

Anxiety About Uncertain Times

Probably the biggest cause of work stress these days is fear and uncertainty about these tough times.  There are no guarantees in our world right now. That’s hard to live with, so, how do you relieve some of the stress and fear?  

Well, one thing is to be proactive and start preparing for the future. This might mean learning a new skill or trade. It may also mean taking a look at what’s important to you — what you most value. Maybe it could involve starting an online business or exploring saleable talents you have.  Research and planning can relieve stress about the future, even in times of flux and change. And the process, in and of itself, opens doors you might not have imagined.

Bonus tip for work stress or any stress

No matter what is causing your stress, regular exercise is an excellent way to release energy and relieve your overwhelm, frustration, and anxiety. There’s no need to join a gym.  You can find ways to work out anywhere. And the benefits are palpable.  It’s well worth the investment of time that it takes.

And for more help…

You face unique questions and are called, continually, to come up with unique solutions. So, I’m offering something to help with that today. It’s a deck of cards — 50 cards, to be exact. And it’s titled Mindful Moments: Heart-Based Reflections on Time and Life. Brief and compelling, each card offers you something to think about. And each card is different.

The focus of this particular card series consolidates decades of my experience into bite-sized reflections and journal prompts. And working with these cards will help you pause, ponder, and deepen your experience. This enriches you, no matter what the world is bringing to your door. To learn more, click this link:

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