We've all been there. Things at work can get stressful. The stress escalates those situations until things start to feel out of control and you're slowing losing your grip.
Those situations can continue to heighten your stress levels--and we all know how harmful that can be for your mental and physical health. It can even damage your workplace relationships, which is one factor contributing to the insolvability of the problem you're facing. Couple those relational strains with the fact that nobody is thinking clearly, and you've gotten yourself into quite a mess.
In the moment, you might not be sure which way to turn, or how to make progress. It can easily start to feel like you're just stuck.
But that's not true!
There are quite a few things you can do to rise above that situation, gain some perspective, maintain your mental health and get the problem solved. Here are a few of our favorites.
Focus on Priorities
If you're not sure what your priorities are in a given situation, focus on setting priorities. Choose the things that are most important. Get those things straightened out first before addressing any of the other factors. Focusing on the most important things helps you to keep your "eye on the prize," and steadies your perspective through the stress.
Do Something Kind
The easiest way to drag yourself out of a negative mindset is to be intentional about doing something kind for someone else. That might be complimenting a coworker, buying coffee for a stranger or straightening up the breakroom. Take a minute to shift your attitude by physically doing something to draw you out of that negative rut.
Literally Step Away
Go for a quick walk outside the office. Run and grab lunch. Head to a coworker's cubicle for some office chit-chat. It doesn't matter where you go, but you've got to get away from the situation. Take just a minute to step away and take in a different environment. Leave the stress in the old place, take a breath of fresh air and head back in to the situation recharged and ready to go.
Grab Some Water
Water is refreshing. Your body loves it! The act of grabbing a nice cold drink of water can be just the wakeup call you need to spark some new energy and new ideas. It is also an excuse to literally step away from the situation if you need to go refill your water bottle. Enjoy this simple refreshment, and use it to rejuvenate for the problem at hand.
Make a List
Sometimes the most stressful part of a problem is not knowing where to go next. Making a list helps you to get organized. It helps you to lay out all of the pieces of the puzzle in one place. You'll be able to see what's most important. But you'll also be able to more clearly see how each piece fits and what needs to happen first.
You can't (and shouldn't) handle everything on your own. You have coworkers for a reason. You're all working together for a common goal--the good of the company. If there are tasks that are just causing clutter, delegate those to someone else. Find a better place for them, and a better person to do them so you can get some things off your plate.
Get a Quick Workout In
Working out can be a great way to release any emotions or stress you have built up. It physically requires you to exert that energy to finish your workout. It can also clear your mind, and you might come up with a simple solution while you're on the treadmill. If you don't have a workout space at your office, head outside for a walk or jog, or do some simple stretches at your desk.
Just take a minute, and breathe. Taking a deep breathe helps you to not only slow the situation down, but slow your body down as well. It helps you to get everything inside of you working in the same rhythm. Then all you need to do is stick with that rhythm to get your work done.
Stress happens. It's a normal part of the workday. If you're not careful, stressful situations can quickly escalate into chaos. Don't let those chaotic situations ruin your day or damage your health journey--and don't let your employees fall into that pattern either.
In the heat of the moment, take a quick break to gather yourself. It will help you return to the situation ready to solve problems and move forward.
How do you handle chaotic situations at work?