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Work stressing you out? Here's 6 ways to combat those feelings and put everything in perspective. For 10% off Squarespace:

Huge thanks to Sarah Manuel for supporting us on Patreon!

Special thanks to everyone who contributed their methods of stress reduction at work.

Learn more about the Pomodoro method:

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[Intro Music] Work stress.

It’s a problem that most of us have, and the things that are stressing us out are often out of our control. Like, buying a Himalayan salt lamp is probably not going to change the fact that you’re running up against a deadline, or find someone to cover your shift when you have a family emergency.

But by stepping back and thinking carefully, we can recognize the things that are within our control. So here are 6 work stress relief tactics to help you take back the reins–even if it’s just inch by inch.

#1: Breathe Chances are that some of these tactics won’t apply to your particular situation, but taking slow, intentional breaths is something that everyone can do. If focusing on your breath feels too difficult on its own, try pairing it with a count to ten, or with naming 6 things in the room that you can see, touch, hear, or smell.

Run a finger up your pinky as you inhale, and back down as you exhale. The goal is to calm the fight-or-flight response that is super helpful when you’re being attacked by a grizzly bear, but less helpful when facing your email inbox or giving a presentation. Recognizing this can help put you in a head-space that is more suited for the tasks at hand.

#2 Take a Quick Break If you have some time to spare away from your workspace, try taking a quick break.

If the weather is nice and you haven’t seen the outdoors in a while, try taking a walk around the block. This can help you gain some space from your thoughts in order to gain perspective. The restroom can also live up to its name as a place to take a break.

If you’ve been sweating or working in a stuffy area all day, try washing your face with some cool water. When we reached out for suggestions, one person even recommended taking this time to brush your teeth. If you’ve got time for a coffee break, try sitting away from your workspace with your beverage for the amount of time it takes you to drink a cup.

#3 Make a List If you’ve got a lot on your plate and you don’t know where to start, step 1 might be making a list!

Even if you feel like there’s just one big task, try breaking it down into actionable parts. Being able to cross something off a list helps give you a visualization of your progress. It also helps to be a storage space for your thoughts.

Instead of trying to remember all of the tasks you have to accomplish in the future, you can write them down and choose which ones to focus on. Sometimes that means completing tasks on your list by priority. Other times, it might mean crossing out a few easier things in order to work up to a more difficult one.

If you’re just plain old stuck on a challenging task, switching to a different project can sometimes help bump your brain into refocusing on the task instead of ruminating on how stressful something feels. Time limits can also be an asset to your productivity. That can mean allotting yourself 30 minutes for one task before diving into another.

Or you can use the pomodoro method: alternating between intervals of work and rest. Just be careful not to set yourself up for limits you can’t achieve, or you may actually cause yourself more stress.

#4 Socialize When facing a problem, asking another person’s opinion on it can often give you the key to solving it. Everyone has a slightly different way of viewing the world, so keep your ears open for solutions you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.

This can look like giving someone you trust a call on the phone, or it can look like setting up a meeting with your supervisor. Your employers have already put time into to hiring and training you, so it’s in their best interest to help get you the tools you need to complete your job. Before meeting with your supervisor, give some thought to your situation and come prepared with some specific points to discuss.

You won’t always be able to make changes this way, but by politely and professionally bringing your concerns to your supervisor, they’ll at least have your concerns on their radar. If they’re a good supervisor, they’ll do their best to help you out. If human interaction isn’t your thing, and your workplace allows pets, take some time to lavish attention on an animal you have their owner’s permission to interact with.

It’s good for you, and them, so you’re multitasking!

#5 Exercise Exercise is clinically proven to reduce stress. But exercising doesn’t necessarily mean building a hardcore workout into your work routine. For the majority of us, just walking around the block or biking to work can make a huge difference.

Or psych your co-workers out with a wall-sit stare-down. If you’re looking for something a little more challenging to give you a nice endorphin-kick to the old noggin’, try out a class like yoga or join a sport to start out or finish your work day. If you’ve got extra time at lunch, try going on a walk or a run Consider building small fitness goals into your work week.

Being able to accomplish something for yourself, independent from your work can help remind you that you are more than what you do for an income. Which brings us to our final tactic...

#6 The Big Picture Remember that you are a multi-faceted human being, and that your work at the job you do is only one facet. It may be an important facet, but putting all of your self-worth-eggs in one career-basket isn’t setting yourself up to succeed.

And it isn’t an accurate portrayal of the complex organism that is you. When we reached out for stress-relief strategies, one response we got was summarized with a Buddhist proverb: "If you have a problem that can be fixed, then there is no use in worrying. If you have a problem that cannot be fixed, then there is no use in worrying." Even the most successful people you can think of have made mistakes, or felt like they bit off more than they could chew.

It’s part of being human. So take a step back from your zoomed-in position, be kind to yourself, evaluate your options, and take incremental steps towards where you’d like to be. Thanks so much for watching.

If you have any work-stress-relief tactics, or suggestions for future videos, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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Instead of trying to remember all of the tasks— Inst— Pffff. [Dead Silence] ...things sometimes feels.


[laughter] Okay. Just be careful not to set— Just be careful not to set yourself up for limits you cannot achieve.

...or else you will diiiiieee.


... all out with the poop-ahhh.