Most days, I come home mentally and emotionally spent from my job at a school. I haven’t managed my stress well in the past, so eight hours of stimulus and negativity wear me down. This summer I’ve reflected on my mistakes and thought of five ways to proactively manage my stress this school year. Here’s my list:
- Start with a positive mindset.
On my morning commute, I will pray over my upcoming day. I can listen to Christian radio at my desktop, which helps me focus on faith throughout the day. I purchased a lovely illustration of a favorite scripture from gracelaced.com (pictured above) to keep me accountable for my thoughts and words—you can purchase a print here.
- Use a journal to vent.
Rather than running to my coworker to vent, which too often turns into griping, I will jot frustrations in a journal. Then I can weigh their importance and decide whether I need to consult with someone else or simply let them go.
- Find a physical outlet.
Since the school bells ring every hour, I will use them as reminders to get up and walk around a bit. That activity will also give my eyes a break from the computer screen. I have noticed my own children grumble less once they get moving—surely it’s true for me too.
- Don’t contribute to problems.
When gossip starts, it’s tempting for me to get sucked in and drown in the negativity. I can stop entering the discussion by not asking detailed questions, and I can redirect the conversation or walk away if gossip occurs. The gossip will no longer head in my direction if I don’t listen or participate.
- Choose my battles.
When conflict arises, I usually don’t address it, but the tension burns me up inside for hours. This year I plan to be more direct. I don’t have to be rude or ugly, but I need to be direct for my own good. I can say something like, “That comment was out of line, and I don’t appreciate being spoken to that way.” Even if the offender dismisses me or doesn’t apologize, I will know I’ve done all I can to confront the problem.
What are your stress management techniques for work?