Workplace stress can be, well, stressful. But it can also be very, very annoying. Spending over 40 plus hours in the same seat, in the same place, with the same people, can make situations tense. Here is how you can alleviate some of your stress and focus on what you should be doing most—working.

Person Place or Thing?

The best suggestion I can make would be to tell you to figure out if your stress is coming from a person, place or a thing. Is Nancy from cubicle 11 getting on your nerves, is it your workplace in general, or is it something that affects your mood and how you work? Once you narrow that part down, you can better manage things moving forward.

Person:

A person at work stressing you out is the worst thing. Literally, the worst. Don’t even try to argue with me on that one. Why? Because you have to deal with them non-stop. Sadly though, sometimes people don’t understand how they are coming off, so the first recommendation I would make is to talk to them.

Talk to Nancy from cubicle 11 and tell her that her behaviour is unacceptable and try to resolve it amongst yourselves. If you want Nancy to treat you with more respect, knock when she comes in your office, not interrupt you in meetings, and so on, and so on, you have to let Nancy know. Nancy might not even be aware that she’s doing things that are upsetting you. Have a nice, professional conversation and try to resolve it.

Now, the tricky part comes in when you talk to Nancy and she tells you she doesn’t care about your feelings and doesn’t wish to change her behaviour (rude, eh?).  Well, sometimes we can’t jive with everyone and this doesn’t change just because we are all working together.

If Nancy can’t improve her behaviour and if you can’t improve the way you react to Nancy and continue to be stressed, once you’ve tried speaking with her about it, take it to a supervisor or your boss. Figure out tangible ways the workflow amongst you and Nancy could be bettered.

Disclaimer: Don’t take it to a supervisor (or boss) until you really, really have to. How do you know if you’ve reached that point? You’ve essentially done everything in your power to change the situation and see no improvement in sight.

Place:

If work itself is stressing you out (as in the area), try to manage the stress of that by sprucing up your space. Bring in family photos, rearrange your desk, add a plant and switch things up in general to refresh your area so you don’t feel you’ve been sitting in the same spot for the last five years.   If it’s the work itself (you hate using excel) try to manage your stress by finding out ways you can enjoy the work (excel is a time-saver) and look towards the positive of certain programs you are using or projects you are put on.

Another tip that is helpful is to get more organized. Getting organized will make you feel more in control and when we feel more in control we experience less stress. Try to have a clean area, clean desk and prioritize your meetings, lunches and deadlines so you stay on top of things.

If you constantly feel like you are drowning in work due to a messy work area you will always remain stressed no matter if you have a Nancy in your office, or not. Try to get organized, spruce up your space and see if that helps you manage stress better. Spoiler alert, it should.

Thing:

Now, if you don’t have issues with co-workers, if you aren’t bothered by your workload or space then maybe you are stressed at work due to outside factors (family and friends as an example, after all, we don’t just live to work), so try some of the following.

Try to figure out what outside forces are causing you to be a stress-ball by the time you get to work and try your best to resolve them.

Figure out a way that works best for you to separate work and home (this one is extremely hard as most work leaks into our home life and vice versa).

Try to put stress strategies into place so you feel less stressed at work (and even at home).

Purchase a book on managing workplace stress and even a self-improvement book. Maybe it’s not the thing/situation but perhaps how you are reacting.

Lastly, if push comes to shove, reach out and talk to somebody. Whether you talk to a counselor, speak with someone from a workplace hotline (those exist), or even vent things out to a friend (or journal), if nothing else works, seeing/talking to someone should better assist you in managing any stress and issues that may arise in the workplace.