5 tips to try if you’re super stressed out at work

If your 9-to-5 is giving 24/7 stress, it’s time to make a change.

While some workplace stress is normal — even inevitable — other times, it can feel overwhelming, says Dr. Jessica Stern, CEO of Three Lemons and psychologist at NYU Langone Health.

If that sounds familiar, here are five tips to help you cope the next time you find your shoulders feeling extra tight and your to-do list feeling extra long.

If you’ve been feeling stressed at work, first pause and check in with yourself. Joanrae P/peopleimages.com – stock.adobe.com

Pause and check in with yourself

When we’re stressed out, we’re more likely to become defensive or avoidant, so it’s even more important to force yourself to take a breather. Slow down for even a few seconds can be helpful, Stern says.

“Check in with yourself about what exactly is going on, why you feel stressed, and where you’re feeling pulled,” Stern tells The Post. “It can orient you towards what you need to do in order to solve whatever problem is in front of you.”

Ask yourself an important question

After you’ve taken a second to check in with yourself, ask yourself one very important question: Can I do something about this right now?

Decide what’s in your control — and what you might not be able to do anything about, say experts. Alexis Scholtz/peopleimages.com – stock.adobe.com

“What I mean by that is, is this stress or anxiety productive or useful? Can it drive me towards a problem solving strategy that’s going to be helpful? Or is it getting in my way?” Stern asks. 

For example, Stern says that fears of failure or feeling paralyzed by perfectionism may not be productive in that moment. Your anxious thoughts could just be holding you back from actually getting work done. In those cases, deep breathing and checking in with yourself (like we mentioned above) can be really helpful

Decide what’s in your control

In some cases, your stress might feel related to something more concrete, say, your boss asking for an important document or an approaching deadline you can’t miss.

In those cases, ask yourself: “What is actually within my control versus what is not in my control?” Stern says. 

For example, if you’ve done the work and now you’re feeling anxious about what a client or you boss might think — it’s not really within your control to change their opinion. 

“You might want to relinquish a little bit of your fear of ‘What are they going to think of me?’ if you if you truly done your best,” Stern advises.

If you’re consistently feeling stressed, try talking to your boss first. Jadon Bester/peopleimages.com – stock.adobe.com

Voice your concerns

Stern says that if you’re continuously feeling stressed out at work — or if your evenings are ruined because you’re thinking about the following day — it’s time to speak up. Your manager may not know how you feel, and might be able to help you problem solve.

“You don’t have to give up on it necessarily right away because sometimes there are actually really easy or reasonable fixes, or adjustments that can be made,” Stern explains.

Some work stress is normal, but if it’s ruining your evenings, it might be time to reevaluate. BESTIMAGE – stock.adobe.com

Know your threshold

All jobs are undoubtedly stressful at times. And depending on your specific industry or situation, you might have a higher tolerance for stress than others. 

For example, if you’re an EMT, war correspondent or investment banker, your threshold for stress might be higher than people in other professions, Stern notes. 

“That being said, if you find that you are more stressed out about your job than what you think you are getting out of it, that’s a sign that this job, or even this industry, might not be right for you,” Stern explains.

If you’re feeling grossly underpaid or not connected to the mission of your company, Stern advises, it could be time to make a switch.