How to Handle a Stressful Work Environment

By Danielle Wirsansky on December 25, 2018

When you are a college student, there are many reasons why working may be stressful for you. Perhaps it is because you have to work on top of taking a full-time class load. Perhaps it is because you are not sure what career path you want to go down when you graduate and if the job you are working is really one in the right direction. Or maybe, it is stressful for things outside of being a college student. After all, jobs can be stressful for anyone, not just students. It could be that the workload is heavy, or that the pace is hectic, or that you do not like your job or its environment.

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why a job could be stressful. But if you have a stressful work environment and you need and plan to keep the job (and do not really see a way to make the job less stressful), then you need to find ways to cope with it as best you can. Read on to learn some tips to help you handle your own stressful work environment!

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Find Healthy Outlets

If you are finding yourself feeling stressed at work, you need to find ways to blow off steam. That way you can avoid having a breakdown of any sort, whether that be physical, mental, or emotional. You never want to let yourself get to the point that you feel like you cannot do or take anymore. You do not want to give up on a project you are working on, or yell at a co-worker, or even feel like you need to leave work and just get up and go.

Instead, find healthy outlets to help you de-stress periodically throughout the day so that your frustration and stress do not build up to a breaking point. They can be small tasks so that you do not get in trouble for not doing your work. Maybe once an hour, you spend one minute doing deep breathing exercises. Every other hour, you take a pause and drink a cup of water. Every couple of hours, you get up and walk around the building for five minutes just to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping. Set yourself a goal—if you meet this deadline, you can watch a three-minute video of puppies rolling around. Take the moments that you need so that you do not end up needing a long recovery time instead.

Really Take Your Lunch Break

One key strategy to help you handle a stressful work environment is to make sure you have clear breaks between when you are working and when you are not working. Some people like to have a working lunch. They will sit and munch on some food as they go through their work tasks and sort of stretch out their eating. Do not do this. When you have a lunch break, actually take your lunch break. Do not do work during it.

If you do not feel like you cannot take the full amount of time you are allotted to eat (whether that be half an hour, an hour, etc.), then you can shorten it, though it is recommended that you take the full time. The law has set that time aside for you to have a break for a reason. But if you cannot, you can take whatever time you want or need instead. Just make sure that you are not doing work during it. This is applicable to breaks other than lunch breaks as well.

Do Not Take It Home

Continuing on with this idea, do not take your work home with you either. You are not getting paid to work on it at home, or even to stress or worry about it outside of work. So don’t! Do not take work-related calls, do not check your email after 9 p.m., whatever rules you need in order to keep yourself grounded.

In fact, a truly great way to help yourself avoid stress is to avoid having your work email on your phone. That way, you cannot be bombarded constantly. When you are at work and on your work email, then you will see it. And there is never a work emergency that is worth your own health.

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No matter what your work throws at you to stress you out, you want to be able to stay on top of your own health and manage it, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional health. You need to put yourself and your health first, over any job. If you are not doing this in the first jobs that you take, even as a college student, then you may never do so. Set the precedent and make handling a stressful work environment in a healthy way a habit now so that you do not have to struggle as much in each new job you take.

Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), whatscheaper.com (associate editor), escapewizard.com (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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