As a young professional, it probably feels like there’s a massive weight on your shoulders. Whether you’re fresh out of college or a few years into your career, you want to prove yourself worthy – not only to bosses, superiors, and colleagues but to yourself, too. And that can cause an enormous amount of stress.
Instead of letting the stress build up into unhealthy levels, you need to learn to maintain it and let it go. To get started, here are 13 ways to relieve stress as a young professional, along with some important things to keep in mind as you begin a new job or career.
1. Get Good Sleep
One way to get a good night’s sleep is to stick to a routine and hit the bed at the same time each night. During each evening routine, take an hour for self-care to rejuvenate yourself physically and emotionally. This can be anything from soaking in a warm bath to maintaining proper oral hygiene with a blue light toothbrush. You can even take time to use a teeth whitening kit to get brilliant, pearly whites and boost your confidence.
Your workday might have been rough, but tomorrow is a new day, and sleep is vital in starting it off right. Sleep is essential to our health and even offers better productivity and concentration.
2. Recognize Stress and Its Triggers
It’s important to recognize when you are stressed and what sets it off. Once you realize what triggers your stress, you can overcome it and treat it like any condition. Temporary anxiety can be calmed after a lovely, relaxing weekend, but chronic stress can have negative impacts on your mental health and even cause depression. So chronic stress needs a bit more attention. If you find yourself stressed from work or have lost interest in many aspects of your life, speak to your colleagues, superiors or even seek out a counselor to talk about your condition.
3. Stay Organized
One way to keep on top of your stress is to stay organized. The worst thing you can do is to procrastinate or misuse your time, causing a cascade of issues that will only induce further stress. At work, when the pressure becomes too much and overbearing, time management and organization can keep you on track and, in the long run, relieve stress. Use a digital calendar to set reminders and allow time for breaks within your day to take a breather or get out and walk.
4. Identify Your Core Skills
Know what you excel at, and your superiors and colleagues can put them to good use. The routine of day-to-day work can leave one feeling uninspired and even losing touch with our best core skills. Instead of losing touch, aim to find those skills again, and also learn a new trick or two. Recognizing precisely what you’re good at, and succeeding at it, only elevates your self-confidence, which makes you happier and reduces your average workday stress.
5. Keep a Positive Attitude
Keeping a positive attitude and outlook not only affects you but those around you. If you come in with a cloud over your head, there’s a good chance it will affect colleagues.
A positive attitude can also translate digitally through video chat or over the phone when working remotely. If the person on the other line or chat can sense frustration or negativity, it can spread. It’s also wise to avoid conflicts in the workplace, as this can cause unneeded tension and extra stress. Instead, make friends with colleagues and reach out to them when the need arises. They, too, may need lifting up from time to time.
6. Take Time to De-Stress on Weekends
Make the most of your weekends – or any day off, for that matter – and take time to de-stress. Designate a Saturday for a self-care day, allowing time for yourself to engage in a favorite activity like hiking or sports, or just giving yourself a mani-pedi in the house as you indulge in a glass of wine. In general, you should be giving yourself some time each night to unwind so that you may start the next day feeling refreshed and ready to conquer tasks.
7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance and Make Time for Family
For many, weekends are about family. Family can give you the boost you need to keep up the excellent work. After all, many of us keep a photo of a loved one, partner, or pet at our work desk, reminding us what it’s all for. Schedule some time in your calendar to spend time with your parents, grandparents, and loved ones, as well as your best friends.
8. Adjust Your Expectations
Even if you plan your life out thoroughly, something is bound to go wrong. It’s what makes life truly exciting and unexpected. Instead of being upset when things don’t go as planned, learn how to shift gears, and adapt to the new changes.
9. Never Compare Yourself to Others
Never compare yourself to others and the success of others. You may have lots of friends who graduated at the same time, with the exact same degree, and are making more money. But it does not mean the grass is greener. Salaries are entirely conditional and rely on many aspects. Plus, our lives simply take us down different paths.
10. Treat Others with Mutual Respect
In the same vein of comparing yourself to others, it’s important to stay humble. From the intern who brings you the occasional coffee to your boss, treat everyone around you with respect and you’ll receive the same respect in return.
11. Embrace Your Journey
Much like it’s important to adjust your expectations, you need to embrace your journey. Our lives are filled with learning experiences each day, so instead of being upset something didn’t go as planned or became a bust after so much work was put in, accept it and find value in the journey you took to get there. Your life, and especially your professional development, is a process that has to start somewhere.
12. Take Initiative
Take the initiative and be a self-starter. There are times when your superiors and even your colleagues will not be able to guide you through a task. Or there may be times when you are finished with a job and are twiddling your thumbs. Instead of being inattentive, turn your attention toward other tasks or even ask colleagues how you can help. Take the initiative and create task lists for a future project, getting ahead of the game.
13. Find Balance Between Multitasking and Focus
As young professionals, we are driven to perform as fast and accurately as possible. But sometimes, this type of work ethic can often distract from what’s important – especially when we have digital devices to keep us engaged at all times and answering every chat message. Instead of being endlessly distracted or trying to multitask and wear more than one hat, try to be present – both with yourself, fellow employees, and family. Go on a digital detox if you need to and recenter and refocus your attention on what matters.