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4 Steps to Minimize Stress in Your Workday

Let's be honest, here — we all experience stress and overwhelm at one time or another.

Sometimes it lingers for a day, or it may seem like a chronic feeling that hangs around even longer.

When it comes to your workday, stress can creep into your day pretty easily; with clients, deadlines, and expectations looming over your head, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. The problem with this, of course, is that when we feel overwhelmed and stressed, we often don't do our best work and sometimes want to completely shut down and tune it all out.

Stop right there, friend. There's a better way to manage this.

Below are my top four ways to minimize stress in your workday and life:

01. Step away and write it all down

After recognizing that stress has taken over your body and mind (that's the true first step), take a break. Step away for 20 minutes, grab a glass of water, and do a brain dump of every single thing taking up space in your mind. Everything from doing the dishes and running that errand to that massive, important project should fall on this list. Don't worry about categorizing anything, just get everything out of your head and onto paper or a Google Doc until you can't think of anything else to add. Simply seeing all of the items in front of you is a great way to move them from the swirling tornado in your mind to a tangible form.

02. Identify the priorities and get started

From this list, highlight or identify the items that are both very important and the most urgent; this is what you want to focus on first.

Sometimes it helps to alter this approach, however. If you're having trouble getting started, pick one or two very small, quick items from your list that you knock out in the next 10 minutes. Send that email, remove the empty coffee mugs from your desk, whatever it may be. Starting small with a couple of quick tasks can help you GET started so you can use that momentum to move forward on the more important things.

03. Take a break from caffeine

I know, this is my least favorite from this list, too. But I once read that drinking coffee or other caffeine in a state of extreme emotion can heighten that emotion — and when it comes to stress and anxiety, this is not a good thing. Instead, treat yourself to a soothing tea or smoothie. Or better yet, chug some water! Just do your best to stay away from caffeine for the rest of the day so you can start to ease that stress.

04. Before you shut down...

At the end of the workday, review your list. What were you able to check off? What went well that you should express gratitude for? Before you officially wrap up and turn off your work brain, highlight three things from your list that will be your priorities the next day. Starting the day with a clear idea of what needs your focus and energy will help you get started with more energy and purpose the next morning. This is my favorite trick for a productive day.

No matter when the feelings of stress and overwhelm set in, don't be afraid to pull the reins and walk through these steps. Your mind will thank you for the mental break, and you'll feel much more in control and pulled together so you can move forward with confidence.

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