It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. One thing all workers have in common is that – at some point or another – you will experience stress in the workplace. Whether it affects the quality of your work, the quality of your sleep and overall the quality of your mental health – it’s something we are all familiar with.

Membership management comes with it’s own stresses. Hundreds of members, thousands of emails, and who knows how many other stakeholders all vying for your attention. During especially busy times of the year, it can be too much for anyone. One of the secret skills of membership management is learning how to take care of yourself – not just your members.

How do we overcome stress? How can we go to work every morning and have a decent day without anxiety, tension and pressure creeping in? Being comfortable at work while earning that pay cheque seems like it should be easy – but the reality is different.

Here are some simple, effective tips you can practice to develop your ability to remain calm, collected, and centered in the workplace.

Take a walk

Seems simple, right? Try it out next time you’re stressed at work, remaining mindful of how you feel, and you might be surprised to discover how effective it can be.

Getting some exercise whether that’s during your lunch break or even taking 10 minutes to take a walk around the building allows you to remove yourself from whatever situation is stressing you out. Sometimes all it takes is stepping outside the whirlwind of stressors around you to get a fresh perspective on things. Bring that perspective with you when you return to work, and your path through whatever is stressing you will be clearer.

Listen to music

This one is popular. Who doesn’t find music helpful to induce calm? 

Music is an effective way to deal with stress not only at work, but before and after. Make a conscious choice to listen to something specific on your commute. Traffic is an easy way to start and end your day on a terrible note, but with the right music, you might find your commute becomes something to look forward to. 

Consider listening to your favorite hits and artists when you take that walk on your lunch break, or step outside to listen to the audiobook of that novel you’ve always wanted to read. It’s remarkable how the technique can help recover the next half of your shift and give you what you need to glide through the remainder of the day.    

Stay organized

Tricky to some people – but staying organized and planning ahead can significantly decrease stress. Staying organized means you solve problems before they become problems.

One small change, like prepping your breakfast the night before, can mean no more rushing in the morning, which can result in not missing your bus, which means you’re in the office while its quiet, able to get your work done early, and so on.

Organization also eliminates clutter, a huge factor that builds stress in the first place. A clean cubicle is a clean mind – glancing over at all your scattered work papers isn’t a huge emotional impact, but it’s one you feel hundreds of times a day. Developing a system to prevent disorganization from occuring in the first place might not guarantee peace of mind, but it will certainly eliminate a major factor that undermines it.

Eat healthy

Are you familiar with the notorious 3 pm crash?

Tomorrow, bring a snack to work. Whether you’re hungry or not – eat it at 2 pm – and see how much more productive you are at 3.

Eating healthy has a dramatic effect on the body and mind which has been proven to eliminate stress and increase productivity, mood and attitude. Not to mention your overall health has a lot to do with your diet. 

Eating a proper breakfast, lunch and dinner is vital to your wellbeing. Start with oatmeal and fruits in the morning, snack on some veggies during the day, chow down on a sun-dried tomato pasta salad for lunch and wrap up the meals with some fish tacos for dinner! Treating yourself to some dessert isn’t a bad idea either!

Stay away from workplace drama

It’s easy to get sucked into the politics and drama of the workplace and even harder to escape conflict with your coworkers. It pays to consciously avoid hostile encounters in the workplace. We all enjoy the rush of hearing that ‘hot office goss’, but few acknowledge the price of participation in office drama. These types of encounters provide minor fun, but at the risk of major disaster – leading to stress that not only sticks around the workplace – but can follow you in the comfort of your own home too. Participating in rumors is fun, until others find out, and begin to participate in rumors about you. 

Talk to someone

Nobody gets through life alone.

Whether you turn to a close co-worker who you’ve become friends with over the years, leaning on friends or family or even speaking with a therapist, talking to someone about your issues that lead to stress can be highly effective with blowing off steam and regaining your sense of calm. 

If you need someone to talk you through what you’re feeling or just having someone lend a listening ear – having a great and trusting support system can help you feel you’re not alone in your fight against stress at the workplace. 

We as humans crave an emotional connection with others and having that support and sympathy from others who have your back releases tension and anxiety so much better than going at it alone.

Find meaning in what you do, or do something with meaning.

You know that old saying if you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life?

We’re not going to give you that line.

Very few lucky individuals have the fortune to find the job that perfectly aligns with their values. We’re all responsible for finding meaning in our work. We shouldn’t expect our job to put it in our lap.

If you put that work in, and still find you’re miserable in your day to day work life – it’s time to revaluate. You’ve built skills in your role. How can you leverage them to find a new role that works for you? What, specifically, isn’t working for you as things stand now? You might find exploring this line of thinking exposes opportunities you wouldn’t have considered before – ones that you might even be able to realize in your current role

Effective sleep

Go to bed early tonight. Even if it’s just 30 minutes. Tomorrow, pay attention to how you feel throughout the day.

Chances are discover you feel less stressed, more productive, and more confident than you expected.

Getting 8 hours of sleep at night is no joke when it comes to handling stress. After a sleepless night, you become irritable, bad-tempered, surly, and of course, stressed out

Sleep deprivation has a significant effect on your overall health and mood. When you’re stressed out, it becomes that much harder to sleep and stay asleep – your body and mind are on alert, you toss and turn and your mind is racing a mile a minute. It’s a vicious circle of you don’t get enough sleep then you’re stressed out and because you’re stressed out then you can’t sleep.  

Stress at the workplace is a constant reminder that there’s something happening that we’re unhappy with. Pay attention to that feeling, follow it to its source, and discover what it is that’s corrupting your mental health. The process is neither fun nor comfortable, but it will reveal the source of your stress. From there, you can start to address it, and gradually boost morale, attitude, positivity and introduce a more comfortable, productive and optimistic work environment for you and your coworkers now and into the future.