No matter your profession, odds are you’ve felt stressed out at work before, so you know just how easily work stress seeps into your personal life. Learning to cope with it — both at work and after the workday ends — is just as essential of a skill as creating presentations or managing spreadsheets.
Whether you’re worried about a day of back-to-back meetings or some gargantuan assignment, our editors have a few tried-and-true tips for dealing with workday stress. Do yourself a favor and bookmark this page for the next time you start to feel overwhelmed.
Climbing the corporate ladder can be tough enough without putting extra pressure on yourself. For perfectionists, that’s often a lesson learned the hard way. Editor Christie Rotondo said she struggled against feeling like she should be perfect for a long time, but she recently realized that sometimes “good enough” is just as good. “When I feel like I’m stuck, I write down every idea, even the ‘bad’ ones, to see if it can get creative juices flowing,” she explained. “If it doesn’t, I choose three of the ‘okay-est’ ideas and ship it off to an editor. It may not be perfect, but it’s done, and sometimes that’s better than perfect anyway.”
When you’re trying to make a good impression at work, it's easy to think that means you should be working 24/7 — who needs breaks, anyway? Still, working through lunch doesn’t always translate into being the perfect employee — in fact, glueing yourself to your laptop all day long can actually be detrimental to your productivity.
Working remotely really hammered home the value of taking breaks for Editor Thelma Annan — especially her lunch break. “Having a clear distinction between work time and lunchtime makes a tremendous difference,” she said. “I take my lunches without my phone or laptop to enjoy those minutes completely unplugged. I also always meditate for two-to-five minutes with Headspace before going back to work!” Similarly, Associate Native Beauty Editor Samantha Sasso slips on her sneakers for a walk around the block whenever she needs a break from work. “Download a podcast episode you've been waiting all week to listen to and enjoy while you stroll,” she suggested.
Inbox zero can be elusive — plus, clearing things off your to-do list isn’t necessarily an indicator of your productivity. Instead of fretting over tasks that she feels like she really should have gotten to already, Native Style Editor Stephanie Nguyen makes a point of wrapping up each workday with some reading time. “Getting lost in a book is hands down my favorite way to unwind,” she explained. “A good work of fiction is all-consuming, so once I pick up a book, it's hard for me to think about anything else — my worries, my to-do list, all are forgotten while I enjoy what's unfolding on the page in front of me.”
Samantha relies on a similar strategy — but with her favorite streaming services. “Save a show you really love for the end of the day. Watch it after your to-do list is — mostly — complete,” she said.
You don’t have to settle for lackluster workday meals of sad salads and boring sandwiches just because it’s what you feel like you should do. In fact, Associate Digital Editor Lauren Pardee said making time to cook meals she really enjoys makes even the most stressful workday a bit better. “Hanger isn't the driving force behind why I hop into the kitchen moments after logging off of work — although it does provide a push,” she said. “Connecting with my family through a familiar dish, getting my creative juices flowing with original recipes, and feeling accomplished over a perfectly seasoned plate helps me unwind (away from a screen!) after a long virtual workday.”
Another sweet way to take a break? Grabbing a Halo Top Brownie Batter Pop when you need an afternoon pick-me-up. Personally, this editor can attest that there’s something special about having a frozen treat in the middle of the day.