Whether you work from home or were in a traditional office, workplace stress is a reality for many. According to a Statistics Canada report, 27 per cent of Canadian workers experience high levels of stress day to day. And 46 percent stated they felt a bit of stress daily. Overall, a large percentage of Canadian workers are feeling some level of stress regularly.

Workers feel stressed for a wide variety of reasons, from interpersonal conflicts, to heavy workloads, to company turmoil to the introduction of unfamiliar technology, employees encounter a number of stressful situations throughout the day. While work-related stress is the main cause for workplace stress, many carry other baggage to work with them. Financial, family and relationship problems can follow you to work and affect your mood and performance.

Stress management is one of the most important skills you can have to combat all that life throws at you. Stress is an emotional and mental response to certain situations letting you know that you’re overwhelmed, worried and scared – it’s part of being human. However, having the right tools to deal with it in a positive way is so important for maintaining a professional working environment and taking care of your own mental health. If left unchecked, your daily stress can lead to burnout. Rather than self-medicating or allowing your stress to manifest in harmful ways, it’s important to take the right steps to distress.

Here are five tips for managing workplace stress:

  1. Open communication

One of the best ways to alleviate workplace stress is to start and maintain an open line of communication with your team members and superiors. Having an open and honest conversation about what is causing your stress can make things better for everyone. When you communicate well with your team members it’s important to keep it professional while still maintaining an open and honest dialogue. If an aspect of your job is causing you stress, talk to your colleagues. By talking, you can hopefully come to an understanding that will lead to positive changes, or at the very least, an acknowledgement of the problem. Everyone benefits from stress management because people are more productive and content at work when they feel seen and heard.

  1. Fresh air and exercise

Working without taking breaks, especially in an office setting where you are sitting at a desk and staring at a screen for hours on end, can be very unhealthy. You could be sacrificing your personal health and wellness by not taking the occasional timeout. A great way to relax is to go outside and get some fresh air. If it’s a nice day, take a walk on your break. Even if you just get up from your desk occasionally, getting a drink of water, stretching or even pausing to look out the window can be beneficial, allowing you to take a deep breath and reset. Before or after work, consider doing cardio in some form – power walking, cycling, running or a high-intensity workout to get your heart rate up. If your company offers paid vacation days, use them. Even if it is to just enjoy a staycation.

  1. Better sleep

A good night’s sleep is so important. Even if you aren’t that physically active during the day, your mind is constantly spinning. Many people get stressed when they’re tired. When we don’t get enough quality sleep at night our cognitive abilities suffer. If you’re burning the candle at both ends, you will eventually burn out. Try to set a regular bedtime for yourself. Have a routine, such as putting away devices before bed and reading for pleasure to relax.

  1. Work/Life balance

If you find yourself working into the wee hours – well into your personal time – and you’re stressed as a result, this could be detrimental to your overall health and well being. If your work is affecting your personal life in a negative way, putting a strain on your relationships and diminishing your overall happiness, you need to consider some serious lifestyle changes. By setting clear boundaries between your work time and your personal time you can better manage your day to day stress. This means making time for family meals, enjoying TV shows or movies, playing with your kids or simply taking time for some self-care. Time is a big cause of stress – so give yourself back some time to enjoy all aspects of your life – personal and professional.

  1. Positive hobbies

One way that you can enjoy your personal time is to engage in a hobby. Working on a fun project, such as doing a puzzle, watercolour painting, reading a book or gardening, is great for stress management. When you actively pursue a hobby, you forget for a moment what’s happening at work and at home. You can be present and live in the moment, rather than stressing over past issues or future problems. Taking up a hobby outside of the skills you use at work can be very freeing. This tactic has been used within organizations to help employees with workplace stress and improve communication. Lots of team building activities include creative projects and puzzles, such as painting pottery or escape rooms, because they’re fun, engaging and educational. You can do the same with your alone time.

Your mental health is so important. If you find yourself being stressed at work more often than not, it’s important to have the tools to address it head on. While everyone has their own coping mechanisms, the five tips above are good places to start when trying to manage stress.

If what you’re feeling is a bit more than general workplace stress, consider speaking to a healthcare professional about your options. There’s no shame in asking for help. Many workplaces offer programs to employees – Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Here at Satori Consulting, we can help you with team building and coaching sessions to encourage positive inter-office communication and stress-management tactics to improve your professional life. Contact us today to get started.