14 Effective Ways to Survive a Stressful Day at Work

Posted in Work/Life Balance | May 8, 2012 |

I was weeping uncontrollably in our office bathroom for almost half an hour…

Big international telecom company was going to launch in our country and fortunately (or unfortunately) I was part of the team of people who were supposed to make this happen.

We all had long months of overtime, sleepless nights, terribly high stress level and very high responsibility preasure. We were carrying the burden of high expectations and the fear of failure on our shoulders.

As a result, once in a while, one of us was losing control and breaking into tears with no particular reason.

Of course, this was an exceptional period. But even in normal working days there are many annoying moments, stressful situations and problems waiting for your solutions.

It’s a challenge to keep your high spirit and stay sane in stressful working days.

Here are some easy tips I used in order to avoid another weeping session in the office bathroom.

And guess what? They worked!

  1. Don’t go to sleep too late – when you don’t get enough sleep at night there is a big chance that you will feel tired and irritated the next day.
  2. Wake up with a smile – simply convince yourself that it’s going to be a really nice day. In the worst case it won’t, but on the other hand if you start off with a gloomy mood, the day will definitely be terrible. So you’ve got nothing to lose, right?
  3. Have a mini-work out – I know it’s very difficult to start a work out when you are sleepy and have a busy working day ahead. But have at least 10-15 minutes stretching and you will feel much better.
  4. Take a shower – this will freshen you up and make you feel completely awake and positive. It will also relax your muscles after the work out.
  5. Have a healthy breakfast – I have heard this a thousand times and I know it’s true. And I never had breakfast before going to work. That’s very unfortunate because whenever I had unplanned early morning meeting or urgent issue to deal with all I could do was regret that I did not have breakfast. As a result my mood was spoiled.
  6. Make a to do list – Yes, lists are very important. They help you visualize how much work you have for the day as well as not forget anything. Having your work volume right in front of you will help you implement effective time management.
  7. Squeeze time for lunch – yes, you are too busy. Yes you do not have time for lunch….but, if you don’t eat when you are hungry, your work will be extremely unproductive and most of it won’t be done anyway.
  8. Take your laptop to meetings – let’s face it, there are many meetings which are boring and don’t specifically address your projects. There are times when you have urgent burning issues which you can’t solve because of your obligatory presence on that dull meeting. Take your laptop and work on the urgent presentation of yours while they discuss things, which you can read later in filtered meeting minutes.
  9. Think of the bright spot of the day – I am sure that work is not your whole life. After work you definitely have something nice to do – whether it’s going home and enjoying family, having dinner out, meeting friends or having guests. When things get really bad, think that just in a few hours you will be doing the pleasant thing you have planned for today and it will be easy to carry on.
  10. Do the most irritating things first – choose the most depressing things from your to do list and do them first. While you have energy you will cope with them easier and you will have less stressful tasks for the rest of the day.
  11. Don’t accumulate unanswered emails – make sure you reply to emails as they come. Have it as an ongoing thing in between tasks. That will help you avoid the “email duty” before you leave work for home.
  12. Cheer up your desk – have something nice/cute/funny/positive on your desk because it will make you smile each time you look at it. During the day look at this thing and forget about the problem for a few seconds.
  13. Make a phone call – no matter how busy you are you can always find a few minutes to call the ones you love. Those few minutes will charge you up with positive feelings and remind that work is not your whole life, but just part of it.
  14. Music in your ears – If you do not have your separate office noise, conversations and ringing phones may get on your nerves when you need to concentrate. Put on the headphones, tune into your most productive music and concentrate on your task.

For many people full time work is part of every day life. We just need to make sure that it does not affect negatively our health, family and life balance.

Smart Thoughts (23)

  1. Ani says:

    Thanx Anastasia for accepting my guest post!

    Is there a way to include the short bio or link to my blog please? :)

  2. Bobbi Emel says:

    Hi Ani, thanks for all of these great tips!

  3. Great Tips! Music or training audio is often part of my day!

  4. Kaylee says:

    I love #12 – cheering up your desk. When I worked in a cube farm, it always helped me to rearrange my desk and bring in some colorful or unusual knick-knacks. Great suggestions!

  5. Hi Ani,

    The tips about sleep and exercise (of some kind) during the day are great ones. How many times do we need someone to remind us we should be sleeping more and moving around more yet we fail to do them?

    I have a different view about the frequency and timing of eating meals though. A number of people these days are doing intermittent fasting and the impact has been enormously positive. I’m one of them so I know from experience.

    Overall though, really good stuff!

    • Amit Amin says:

      Don’t go to sleep too late. I really need to work on that…

      Even though we know its a bad idea, we still do it anyway. Even though I know its a bad idea, I still do it. Thanks for the reminder though!

      • Ani says:

        Amit – there are so many things that we know we shouldn’t do and still do them because the temptation is high :) But that’s part of being humans

    • Ani says:

      Joel – I do not know about the fasting strategy. Maybe you should write your next post on that :)

  6. Noch Noch says:

    Hi Ani

    Good to see you here :)
    I used to cry in the bathroom as well, but more coz I was angry
    But i supposed also stressed out…
    thanks for sharing

    Noch Noch

    • Ani says:

      Noch Noch, I have a feeling that we are aroound the same blogs lately :)
      No more tears, we’re done!

  7. Ciara says:

    Lovely positive tips, I love listening to classical music when I get stressed, it calms me and all around me :)

  8. These are all good reminders :-) Often we get so stressed out, or so caught up in things that we forget simplest of solutions and things that are good for us. Not to mention, we also forget that most of the time, there really is no need to stress out so much 😉

    • Ani says:

      Yes Dolly. Initial stress causes additional stress and then it goes like a snowball…
      It’s time to stop the process :)

  9. Beth says:


    Nicely done! Yes, we all have those unavoidable times at work when the high stress can’t be eliminated but like you, I believe it can be managed. The key is understanding that I am responsible for managing my reactions to work stress. Did you mention eating chocolate? LOL!

  10. Tara says:

    Great Post. I really need to keep this list handy because I feel stressed all the time at work and sad part is I’m only 25!!! I must admit I am tres guilty of the first and most important tip…going to bed too late after hours of searching the internet. I am getting started on this list as I would LOOOOVEEE to have stress free workdays and leave work at cinco en punto.

    Thanks again!!