5 Strategies for Maintaining Your Health Amid a Stressful Job

5 Strategies for Maintaining Your Health Amid a Stressful Job

Everyone has experienced those periods at work when you just don’t see how you are realistically going to make it through your to-do list, finish the upcoming project by the deadline, or achieve that next modeling job.

While, logically, you know that the stress is not going to last forever, that doesn’t mean that it is easy to recognize that when you are in the middle of what seems like a thunderstorm of pressure. Luckily, there are some things you can do before, during, and after the stressful period to help you cope and take back control.

After all, there is no way to consistently do your best work if your brain is occupied with stress and anxiety. To help you out, consider these five strategies for maintaining your health amid a stressful job.

1. Keep things in perspective.

First things first: Before you get into organizing your calendar, creating a calming environment, and giving yourself a motivational speech, you first need to sit down and get everything into perspective.

When you are feeling all stressed out, it is easy for everything to get blown out of proportion, to feel like a much bigger deal than it actually is. Not only does this inevitably lead to more stress, but it also makes it a lot harder for you to dodge feelings of overwhelm, and soon you will find that all you can do is think about work and your stress levels. In other words, it is a bitter cycle.

Generally, work-related stresses are smaller than they appear in the moment, but it is challenging to feel that way when you are in the midst of a problem. Therefore, it is recommended that you place a photograph by your desk that reminds you of how small you are, such as a photo of the earth taken from space, or stars twinkling over the ocean. Both will help put your deadline in perspective.

Alternatively, think about another time when you were stressed out by a similar work-related issue and how you were able to get through that – no matter what the outcome actually was. Remembering other challenging times will also help to boost your confidence that you can handle whatever the next few hours, weeks, or months throw at you.

2. Your planner is your best friend.

Now that you have gotten things into perspective, it is time to start planning how you are going to deal with the stressors. You should always be using some form of planner or calendar. However, particularly when work is challenging, you want to be utilizing your organization system to make sure you get everything done, don’t forget anything, and stay focused on the task at hand step by step. Plus, is there anything more satisfying than crossing things off your to-do list?

In addition to planning your meetings, client calls, and other work-related appointments, make sure to schedule your workouts, your “me time,” and your time with friends and family. After all, if it isn’t in your schedule, then there is a good chance that it isn’t going to happen. Physical activity is incredibly important to include in your daily life (even when you are having a marathon workday) as it is proven to reduce stress and help you calm down.

At the beginning of each week, take the time to brain-dump everything that is on your mind and then organize the tasks into those that are urgent and therefore need deadlines, those that are important but don’t need to be done this week, and then those that you would like to get done but aren’t pressing.

If there are any little to-dos on the list, get them done right away so that they can be removed from your plate. The point of a weekly brain-dump is to get everything out of your brain so that you can start the week feeling fresh and having the brain-power to focus on more important things

3. Say “yes” and “no” thoughtfully.

Once you find a system for planning that works for you, you can start identifying where you are spending too much time and where you can stretch it out a little bit more. Paying close attention to where you spend your time can help you make room for all the different elements of your life – not just work. However, you are also going to have to be more thoughtful when saying “yes” to additional commitments.

Unfortunately, the ability to say “no” is something that many people struggle with despite it often playing a significant role in the presence of stress. Look at it this way: There is always going to be another networking event to attend, another new project to be involved with, another casting to show up for, and another career highlight to be shooting for – that is never going to change. Therefore, what needs to change is your expectations of yourself and your time.

This is difficult for most people because a guilty voice in the back of their head tends to get the best of them. However, when you are running around stressed out and barely making an impact on your to-do list, the last thing you should be doing is agreeing to additional obligations. Mastering the art of saying “no” is going to be a lifelong challenge, but you can work to refine the skill every day by applying an appropriate amount of discipline when it comes to accepting or denying a request or invitation.

4. Create a calming environment.

It doesn’t matter what type of work you are involved in or whether you spend your days at home, out in the field at professional modeling agencies, or in a communal office. If the environment isn’t calm, then it isn’t going to be conducive to keeping your stress levels down. For this reason, it is essential that you do everything in your power to create a work environment that’s as calming as possible.

This may mean keeping your desk organized and decorated with mementos that remind you why you are doing your job. Adding plants to your work environment will not only make it more aesthetically pleasing, but will also help you reduce your stress levels and increase your positivity.

Alternatively, you may realize that you need to put systems in place to reduce interruptions or distractions. Perhaps your colleagues are too loud, and you need to draft an office behavior policy. Conversely, if you feel too distant from your work buddies, strive to organize regular meet-ups outside of work hours for you to socialize and get to know one another.

There is no denying that a stressful work environment can lead to physical or emotional stress (or both) for many workers. This is why it is essential that you take it into your own hands and make the changes that are going to make you calmer, happier, and better able to focus on the project at hand.

5.  Stick to a morning and evening routine.

Studies prove that the less frantic you feel in the morning, the less stressed you will be throughout the day. After all, nothing can make you feel more in control of your time and your actions than waking up with your alarm, eating a good breakfast, and calmly getting ready for the day. Many people find that starting the morning with a workout, a few minutes of meditation, or a journalling session helps them to feel more centered and ready to take on the day.

Similarly, having an evening routine will improve your ability to wind your mind and body down after a long day and ensure that you are getting high-quality sleep. Make sure you finish eating a couple of hours before going to bed, and consider setting a time for when electronics are switched off, and a book comes out. Also, work on going to bed at the same time each night so that your body naturally falls into the rhythm. This will also make waking up in the morning a whole lot easier!

By sticking to your morning and evening routines, you will be taking a significant step towards beginning and ending your day on a positive note, with a sense of accomplishment.

To ensure you are creating the right routines for yourself and your needs, take some time to think about what you feel you lack in your day-to-day life and what small activities help you to feel your best – and then schedule those in your morning and evening routine. This is the ideal time to dedicate to yourself, outside of the stressors of work, which helps you to enjoy your days and not feel as though the demands of your job are taking over every minute of your life.

What do you do when you are having a particularly stressful period at work? Do you have any special tips or tricks that help to keep you feeling calm and in control? Alternatively, is this something that you still have difficulties dealing with? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!


Adam Jacobs is the Managing Director of Bubblegum Casting, the longest running agency specialising in babies, children and teen talent in Australia. Bubblegum Casting works with some of Australia’s biggest brands, media properties, and agencies to secure talented children to work in Television, Film and Modelling roles.