Stress Management Job Stress How to Manage Stress at Work By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD Twitter Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing. Learn about our editorial process Updated on November 30, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Medically reviewed by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Create a Pre-Work Ritual Understand Expectations Avoid Conflict Plan Ahead to Stay Organized Create a Comfortable Work Environment Choose Chunking Over Multitasking Walk at Lunch Do Your Best Listen to Music Research has indicated that the percentage of Americans who are stressed at work is high—and it’s only getting higher. According to a survey of more than 2,000 full-time U.S. employees, ages 18-79, more than half of employees find themselves stressed during at least 60 percent of the workweek. Work stress has significant health consequences that range from relatively benign (like getting more colds and flus) to potentially serious (such as heart disease and metabolic syndrome). While stress at work is common, finding a low-stress job is hard (if not impossible). A more realistic approach is to adopt effective coping strategies to reduce stress at your current job. You can take steps to manage work stress by sticking to a positive morning routine, getting clear on requirements at work, adopting smarter time management techniques, and other strategies outlined in this article. On May 19, 2022, Verywell Mind hosted a virtual Mental Health in the Workplace webinar, hosted by Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW. If you missed it, check out this recap to learn ways to foster supportive work environments and helpful strategies to improve your well-being on the job. Verywell / JR Bee Create a Pre-Work Ritual After scrambling to get the kids fed and off to school, dodging traffic and combating road rage, and gulping down coffee in lieu of a healthy breakfast, many people arrive to work already stressed. This makes them more reactive to stress in the workplace. You might be surprised by how affected by workplace stress you are when you have a stressful morning. When you start off the day with planning, good nutrition, and a positive attitude, you might find that the stress of your job rolls off your back more easily. Get Clear on Your Expectations for the Day A factor known to contribute to job burnout is unclear requirements for employees. If you don’t know exactly what is expected of you, or if the requirements for your role keep changing with little notice, you might become extremely stressed. If you find yourself never knowing if what you are doing is enough, it may help to have a talk with your supervisor. You can take the time to go over expectations and discuss strategies for meeting them. This can relieve stress for both of you! What 4 Real Employers Are Doing to Support Mental Health at Their Companies Avoid or Reduce Conflict With Colleagues Interpersonal conflict takes a toll on your physical and emotional health. Conflict among co-workers can be difficult to escape, so it’s a good idea to avoid conflict at work as much as you can. Don’t gossip, don’t share too many of your personal opinions about religion and politics, and steer clear of "colorful" office humor. When possible, try to avoid people who don’t work well with others. If conflict finds you anyway, make sure you know how to handle it appropriately. Conflict Resolution Skills and Strategies for Healthy Relationships Plan Ahead to Stay Organized Even if you’re a naturally disorganized person, planning ahead to stay organized can greatly decrease your stress at work. Being organized with your time means less rushing in the morning to avoid being late as well as less hustling to get out at the end of the day. Keeping yourself organized can also mean avoiding the negative effects of clutter, and being more efficient with your work. The Cost of Clutter in Your Life Create a Comfortable Work Environment Another surprising stressor at work is physical discomfort, often related to where you perform most of your daily tasks (such as your desk). You might not notice you're stressed if you're sitting in an uncomfortable chair for just a few minutes, but if you practically live in that chair when you’re at work, you might have a sore back and be more reactive to stress because of it. Even small things like office noise can be distracting and cause feelings of low-grade frustration. Do what you can to create a quiet, comfortable, and soothing workspace. "This Is Us" Star Chrissy Metz on How She Maintains a Work-Life Balance Choose Chunking Over Multitasking Multitasking was once heralded as a fantastic way to maximize one’s time and get more done in a day. However, people eventually began to realize that if they had a phone to their ear and were making calculations at the same time, their speed and accuracy (not to mention sanity) often suffered. There is a certain "frazzled" feeling that comes from splitting your focus and it doesn’t work well for most people. Instead of multitasking to stay on top of your tasks, try another cognitive strategy like chunking. The Growing Burden of "Reply ASAP" Culture Walk at Lunch Many people feel the ill effects of leading a sedentary lifestyle. You can combat the physical and mental effects of work stress by getting some exercise on your lunch break. If your schedule allows for it, you might try taking short exercise breaks throughout the day. This can help you blow off steam, lift your mood, and get into better shape. Do Your Best and Reward Yourself Being a high achiever might make you feel good about yourself and help you excel at work, but being a perfectionist can create problems for you (and those around you). You might not be able to do everything perfectly, every time—especially in a busy, fast-paced job. A good strategy to avoid the perfectionism trap is always striving to just do your best and making time to congratulate yourself on your efforts. You may find that your results are better and you’ll be much less stressed at work. How to Overcome Perfectionism Listen to Music on the Drive Home Listening to music offers many benefits and can be an effective way to relieve stress before, during, and after work. Playing an uplifting song while you make breakfast can help you start the day off feeling better prepared to interact with the people in your life. Likewise, combating the stress of a long day with your favorite music on the drive home can help you wind down and feel less stressed when you get there. Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how you can change your mindset to cope with stress in a healthy way. Follow Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts People Are 'Quiet Quitting' And It Could Be Great For Mental Health 2 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Paychex. Work more or stress less? Li J, Loerbroks A, Bosma H, Angerer P. Work stress and cardiovascular disease: a life course perspective. J Occup Health. 2016;58(2):216–219. doi:10.1539/joh.15-0326-OP By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Stress Management Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.