But it doesn't have to -- not if you know how to hack six common workplace stress factors.
1. Annoying co-workers I'm lucky enough to work in a home office, so the only person around here bugging me is the guy in the mirror. But I've worked in plenty of populated offices, so I know the hell that is other people. If there's someone in particular who's driving you nuts, try NiceCritic.com, a free service that sends gentle criticisms anonymously.
2. Bad mood Maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or maybe something happened when you got to work. Either way, you're cranky, irritable, and, consequently, unable to focus. My new favorite bad-mood lifter: MoodTurn, a free site that plays soothing background music. If that doesn't help, go for a brisk 10-minute walk. As I'm sure you know, exercise releases mood-lifting endorphins. And as Dave recently pointed out, sitting at your desk for long stretches is bad for your health (another source of stress -- ahhhh!). Thus, a little mid-day exercise will not only improve your mood, it might just save your life.
3. Giving presentations You know the old Seinfeld joke: People fear public speaking more than they fear death -- so if you're going to a funeral, you'd rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy. If presentations are part of your work life, chances are they're causing you a ton of stress. By following these tips for fearing public speaking less than death, you can stop freaking out and start relaxing a bit.
4. Repetitive stress injuries A different kind of workplace stress arises from sitting at your PC all day. It's called back pain, neck pain, wrist pain -- you get the idea. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to prevent such ailments: Just take regular breaks and perform a few simple exercises.
5. Sudden computer glitches Nothing drives people insane quite like a Word document that suddenly vanishes, or a printer that suddenly won't print. These kinds of things happen all the time, but before you blow your top, check out my three tips for dealing with sudden computer glitches.
6. Work overload Too much work, too little time. If you're so buried you can't think straight, do what I do: Grab a sticky note, write down three important tasks, then tackle them one at a time. When you finish one, cross it off. Sounds crazy, but it works. An abbreviated to-do list gives you focus, and crossing off individual tasks gives you the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment. It's all part of getting better at managing your time.
What stresses you out at work? And what steps you have taken to relax? Share your de-stressing solutions in the comments. Photo by elle_rigby.