Coping With the Last Stretch of 2007: a.k.a. Workplace Stress Time’s Last Hurrah!

Okay, this is it. Don’t get scared. Here we are–finally!–the last of 2007. For many, this week marks the home stretch before holy-days and vacation time. For others, the end of December merely represents a couple of extra days off work, followed by the stress of holding down the organization’s fort while coping with the malaise of “skeletal staff syndrome” until Monday, January 7, 2008. Regardless, stress-on-the job can be huge this week. What to do, what to do?

How about trying the following stress buster tips and strategies:

1. Pay attention to your own pre-stress physiological signals and back-off before you reach the “danger zone”, eg. moodiness, irritability, headaches, muscle tension.

2. Move away from the stressor, even if it’s only for a short interval, to gain your composure and perspective.

3. Choose to be absolutely determined to stay positively focused (and not let any “turkeys” get you down), come what may.

4. Seek out a friendly “safe” person at work, for a one-minute only, speed “bellyaching session”, and then get on with it…joyously.

5. Eat Breakfast. Eat Lunch. Really. And move away from your workstation while doing so!

6. Have at least one 15-minute quiet period in your busy day to consciously and emotionally relax, meditate or even pray (even if it’s just to pray for the strength to get through all this!).

7. Take the time to laugh, at yourself and with colleagues and clients. A couple of daily guffaws are always good for what ails us.

8. Exercise–even if it’s only up a flight or two of stairs, a brisk walk around the outside block of your own workplace building (or inside, through the corridors of your building, if it’s big enough to provide a sufficient and satisfying mini-workout).

9. Sleep well. Get the hours you really need to feel well rested and stop eating all that festive fare at least three hours before you go horizontal!

10. Take regular, conscious deep breathes over these next few days–especially if your job is fairly sedentary.

11. Help others, who are conspicuously freaking out with stress, cope. One of the best ways to help yourself feel good is to help another.

12. Prioritize. Decide which things must get done and which can slide until the New Year.

13. Count 10 blessings about your current job. And mean it.

14. Assertively tell some people, “No”, but instead of saying what you can’t do because of…. , tell them what you can do and by when, eg. by the end of the first week back to work.

15. Be kind to yourself through this stretch, alongside all that extra kindness you’re showing and demonstrating to others.

16. Delegate what you can. You don’t have to be the “Grand Poo-bah of Everything”, do you??? Give others the “gift” of “doing” some of the tasks, too.

17. Ask for help if you need it. Sometimes ya just gotta ask to receive.

I like lists of 10 or 12, 15 or 20 (you know, nice sets of numbers), but this time around it’s 17 strategies that I offer up to you. Please feel free to help me out, and other professionals who read my blog, too, by throwing in your own two cents as to what else works at work when you’re doing your very best to cope with year-end workplace stress.

All the best of happiness, health and serenity, too, to you, for the balance of this year and for 2008!

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