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14 Ways to Deal with Stress at Work

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If you have a job, it probably is causing you some stress. Check out these 14 Ways you can deal with stress at work and get on with your day.

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woman sitting at a desk, wearing a plaid blazer. She is holding the bridge of her nose, showing stress or tiredness.


Stress at work is, unfortunately, totally normal. We all have some level of stress while performing our work, and in many cases, some level of stress is a good thing. 

Stressful things and feelings can be motivating, energizing, and even boost productivity

A job that has good balance between stressful times and less stressful times is ideal, but what if you find yourself in a position where your stress at work is overwhelming or causing issues for you and your mental health? 

I’ve compiled some excellent suggestions here, but please note that everyone’s work situation is different. You should be able to tell if these suggestions are appropriate for your workplace or not. 


1. Stretch – A really easy way to deal with stress at work is to move your body. Sitting at a desk all day? Take a minute every hour to stretch your legs and back. Walk to the water cooler. Do a couple of squats in the restroom.

Light physical activity is a great way to take your mind off of your work for a moment and relax some of your tense muscles.

2. Sniff Something Yummy Smelling – A nice hand lotion or a bottle of essential oil is easy to keep on your desk and smell when you need a little “Calgon, take me away†moment. Stress relief at work might just be a sniff away. 

I like to use grapefruit or lemon essential oil for an uplifting feeling, or lavender if I’m feeling anxious. 

Smiling woman with a white shirt and brown curly hair, holding a vial of essential oil.

3. Have a Chat – You know those people you work with all day? Ask them how they’re doing, or what they plan to do this weekend. Making real personal connections at work not only benefits you in the short term, but in the long term your job will become less stressful because you know that there are people there that you can talk to and relate to. 

Avoid negative conversations like complaining, venting, or gossiping. This type of connection won’t benefit anyone long term, even if it makes you feel better in the moment. 

Do you work alone or remotely? Utilize technology like email and instant messaging to chat with your coworkers. 

4. Turn On Some Tunes – if allowed in your workplace, turn on some music or pop in your earpods. Listen to soothing music, or a calming podcast (I’d probably stay away from true crime). 

5. Breathe (better) – Many of us breathe incorrectly when we are stressed or anxious. I know for me, I generally find myself silently hyperventilating when my stress levels are high. Sometimes I even hold my breath without realizing it.  Practice a simple Square Breathing Exercise for a few breaths. You’ll feel better. 

Save this Square Breathing GIF to Your Phone!


Let’s kick these suggestions up a notch. Remember, proceed with caution, particularly if your workplace is strict or very formal. 

6. Send out some Memes. I had a job once where we would email (work appropriate) memes around the office throughout the day. Super fun to have one of those pop up in your inbox and make you smile. 

7. Take a dance break – don’t just stretch, but go all our and really let off some steam. Dance around the conference room for a few minutes. 

african american woman in a black and white polka dot dress. Her arms are in the air like she's dancing freely.

8. Have a Friendly Competition – See who can answer the most phone calls, or empty their inbox first. A little competition can make the day go by faster and completing the work a bit more fun. 


9. Use Your Vacation Time – Many American’s don’t use their PTO or vacation time appropriately, and instead work all the time and let those days go to waste or sit in a bank. We are not meant to work ourselves to death. Schedule out your vacation time so that you have time off throughout the year. Maybe a week every 4 months, or just a Friday off every 8 weeks. Use that time to rest and recharge. 

10. Take Your Breaks. While you’re at it, make sure that you take your lunch breaks as well. I know you’re often stress eating at your desk. Walk away, get a change of scenery. Even just sit in your car for a bit. 

two people ordering lunch from a food truck.

11. Talk To Your Boss – Maybe your work stress is par for the course, or maybe there is something to be done about it. A good manager will hear your struggles and help you find solutions. They don’t want you to be stressed!  Maybe you could be doing something more efficiently, or maybe the team needs more help. Be respectful, but have that hard conversation with your boss. 


If you are reading this article because you have extreme stress or anxiety from work, you may be looking for different answers. Dealing with stress at work when that stress is consuming you is a different ballgame from dealing with low level stress. I hear you. I’ve been there, and I have some suggestions for you as well. 

Remember that Work Stress doesn’t have to kill you. It’s not required that you continue to work at a job that is causing you extreme stress. Look at other options like: 

12. Find a new job. Some jobs are just stressful. Look at other industries or professions that might not be as tough. This is generally not a decision that should be taken lightly. Make a solid plan.

13. Take a break. Sometimes you can take time off of work for stress. If you have a diagnosis of depression or anxiety you may be able to speak to your doctor about taking a leave of absence that might qualify for paid sick leave or FMLA. You might also be in a place financially that you can just stop working for a short time. If you need that, do it. 

14. Reduce your hours. Talk to your supervisor about moving to part time for a while. You never know if that’s possible until you ask and it might give you enough time between shifts to recharge and recover from work stress. 

woman in a white chunky sweater, adjusting her date book

Stress at work is probably not something that we can avoid all of the time. However, if we take the time to recognize the stress, there are things that we can do to reduce, relieve, or eliminate work stress. 

Do you have some tips to share about dealing with work stress? Leave a comment! 

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