You don’t need us to tell you that work can be stressful. You also don’t need us to tell you that that stress was magnified in 2020. We had an unprecedented presidential election on top of an even more unprecedented pandemic that has touched every American life at this point. All of that stress from those ongoing situations has spilled over into the workplace. According to a study by the American Psychology Association 64% of Americans in 2020 said that work is a source of stress. 56% said that job stability was a source of stress and 68% said their job was negatively affected by the pandemic.

 

With all of that in mind, this year likely wore you and your team out this year.. As a manager, your team will look to you for guidance and help navigating whatever 2021 and beyond has instore for them. So keep a few things in mind to keep your stress levels low.

 56% said that job stability was a source of stress and 68% said their job was negatively affected by the pandemic.

Be organized

 

Making your workplace less stressful begins right in your own office. Make sure you have a clear vision of your organization’s purpose, goals, and scope. Write them down if necessary, so you can help prioritize decisions and demands.

 

Utilize technology. Try using apps like google calendar or other types of digital organizers to see important dates clearly. Keep a physical schedule in your office if possible to track who is working when.

Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. ~ Albert Einstein

 

Once you’ve got that done. Take a moment to plan for the unplanned things that happen at work. Take a week to monitor the things that pop up and create stressful situations. Once you have them listed, look at ways you can change your practices to stop these problems before they pop up. See how those changes work and make tweaks to them if you need to. Remember, the aim is perfection. It’s not the expectation. A plan that needs to be revised is not a failure. This should be a continual process where you continue to make changes to fix problems in the workplace.

 

Adjust your attitude

 

It’s hard to overstate how important it is to establish boundaries. Always being on the clock helps contribute to work stress. Put simply, many of us cannot or will not leave the workplace even when we’re not physically there.

 

You can’t be available 24 hours a day. So for the sake of your employees and yourself, stop trying. Make a real effort not to check your work email at home. Put that phone down during your family dinner.

“Positive thinking is powerful thinking. If you want happiness, fulfillment, success and inner peace, start thinking you have the power to achieve those things. Focus on the bright side of life and expect positive results. ”– Germany Kent

 

Make sure you maximize your time off. Seriously. Multiple studies, including one published by Sonnine Sonnentag in Current Directions in Psychological Science, shows that taking breaks to completely disengage from work makes us more resilient in the face of stress and more productive when we are at work. So make sure to use all of your vacation time. Even a simple day trip to the other side of the state can make a huge difference so don’t deny yourself safe travels. Even your weekends are important. Yes, you may need to catch up on household errands that you missed during the week. But make sure you make time for hobbies, exercise, and other kinds of fun. Getting better at leisure can make you better at work. So blow off some steam, your office actually benefits from it!

 

You can’t be available 24 hours a day. So for the sake of your employees and yourself, stop trying.

 

Stay Positive

 

This year has been just as transformative as it was challenging. How you approached work back in January is likely very different from how you approach it now. So maybe it’s time to change how you think about work as well.

You have to stay positive even in the face of very difficult situations. Remember, no matter what they may say, your team is following your lead. So you have to remain positive. Identify your potential stressors and triggers and keep them in mind so you can measure your response when exposed to them. Make sure you have someone to talk with to decompress. Remember, your team is counting on you and it’s good to not let them see you sweat. However, bear in mind the fact that you are still human and you need to do something with all that stress.

Make sure you have someone to talk with to decompress. Remember, your team is counting on you and it’s good to not let them see you sweat.

 

Deep Breathing

 

A mentor of mine once told me a story that permanently changed my approach to work. She had recently received a promotion and one day several critical things went wrong throughout that day and it broke her. So she began to cry in the breakroom. One of the long-time managers came in and saw the scene. He asked if she was safe and healthy. She said yes and began discussing all of the errors. He asked if her parents and family were okay. She again replied yes and started discussing the problems of the day again. He finally asked if she had any kids and if they were okay. At that point she looked at him and replied that he knew she had no kids. “Those are the only things you should be crying about in this building. The rest of this is just work,” he said.

 

If you stay calm, it can help your team stay calm. And after a year like this one, whatever we can do to help each other will go a long way.

 

Work is important, it’s how we make money to keep the lights on and take care of ourselves and the ones you love. But you have to keep a healthy attitude to what happens at work.

 

Take a breath. Literally, it is that simple. Breathe! The next time there is a mistake on a report, a missed meeting, or bad news from the corporate offices, take a deep breath before you respond. Yes, that breath helps you relax and lower stress which is important. But it also gives you time to think and ask yourself some crucial questions: “What does this news actually mean?” “What are the ramifications?” “How much damage could this mistake do?” Often, the things that make us very angry are not as big as we may think once we take some time to put them in context. So keep that in mind the next time something difficult arises at work.

“Breath is the power behind all things…. I breathe in and know that good things will happen.” —Tao Porchon-Lynch

 

If you stay calm, it can help your team stay calm. And after a year like this one, whatever we can do to help each other will go a long way.

 

L2W Team Editor

Content contributed by the L2W team

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