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Coping Strategies in the Workplace

Jacky Cohen, Career Development Coordinator; Darchelle Garner, Career Development Tutor; and Sameena Hussain-Jones, ILS instructor/Tutor

Have you ever felt stressed out at work? Or maybe had some anxiety creep up while you’re still on the job? We’re all human and most of us have felt stress or anxiety at some time or another. It’s how we handle these moments that speaks volumes about our character and how successful we can be. Here are some tips for how to respond to stress in the moment and afterwards, but even more importantly, how to take steps before it even begins.

Preventative Strategies:

Prepare for work day

  • Advance disclosure – talk to your supervisor about your disability and reasonable accommodations
  • Plan ahead for your workday – know what you have coming up so that there are no surprises
  • Stay hydrated (with electrolytes – e.g., water, coconut water, Gatorade) – this can help with headaches
  • Get regular and adequate sleep (at least 8 hours a night)
  • Eat healthy foods daily (remember: don’t graze all day or go too long without a meal or snack)
  • Regular exercise – can be something simple for as little as 15 minutes
  • Meditate – if you don’t know how, you can just sit quietly for a few minutes or download a guided meditation (can be for as few as 5 minutes)

On the Job:

Squeeze a stress ball for 5-10 seconds during a break

  • Breaks (remember not too long – maybe 5 minutes)
  • Squeeze a tension ball for 5-10 seconds and various parts of your body, one after another – shoulders, hands, face, legs, feet
  • Deep breathing
  • Use a nice smelling lotion or pouch of preferred fragrance or calming scent
  • Listen to music (with only one earbud so that you can hear your co-workers if they need you)
  • Ask for help when needed (when you’re feeling overwhelmed, are unsure of the task you’re working on, or just generally feeling uneasy)
  • Identify one person to check in with on a regular basis (maybe two or three times during your shift for a couple of minutes)
  • Take a moment to celebrate small successes (e.g., finished a task, got praise from your boss, accomplished something that used to be hard for you)

After Work:

Play with a puppy to reduce stress

  • If something bothered you during your work shift – write it down so that you can talk to someone about the issue after work
  • Take some time to de-stress – do an activity that you enjoy (e.g., play with a puppy, go for a walk, color, do a word search, have dinner with a friend)
  • Regular exercise – can be something simple for as little as 15 minutes
  • Listen to music

We hope that you find these tips useful! Remember, they are only effective if you use them on a regular basis (even when you’re not feeling stressed). That way, they’ll be a part of your toolbox and ready to be used when needed.

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This has been a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.