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You must chill: How to combat work stress

CareerBuilder | September 26, 2022

how to combat work stress

Under pressure on the job? Find out what you can do to manage your work stress.

Billie Jean King famously said, “Pressure is a privilege,” but according to the U.K.’s Mental Health Foundation, “Stress is our body’s response to pressure.”

Whatever your job is, odds are you deal with pressure -- and work-related stress -- from time to time (or a lot of the time), and odds also are that you feel bad about letting your job get to you. Don’t! Even professional athletes can experience stress that can push them to the brink of walking away from a sport all together.

If you’re not in a position to hang it up just yet, the good news is that there are ways to combat work stress without quitting your job. And you can incorporate them into your daily routine to help lighten your mood. Recent CareerBuilder survey data reveals how employees combat work stress and the methods include listening to music, going for a stroll, taking a day of PTO, and grabbing a cup of something caffeinated.


How else do people relieve work stress? Our survey revealed that:

  • 35% take time to stretch
  • 17% block time on the calendar for lunch
  • 16% take a meditation or yoga break
  • 13% set a specific time for responding to emails
  • 12% find a new location to work (e.g., a coffee shop, park, etc.)

Other tips to make sure you make time to unwind during work:

  • Get a wearable device, such as a Fitbit, that prompts you to get moving every hour.
  • Adopt a productivity method, such as the Pomodoro Technique, that will help you compartmentalize tough-to-tackle tasks into finite blocks of time, so you’re not overwhelmed by a big project.
  • Have a conversation with a colleague that isn’t about work. Find someone who shares an interest of yours, such as Wordle or HBO’s "Succession," and touch base about it to lighten your mood.
  • Lunch fatigue is real for people working from home. If it’s in your budget, take yourself out -- or get takeout – once a week to change things up and “Treat Yo’Self.”
  • Just breathe. When you’re feeling stretched thin, remember to “Smell the roses and blow out the candles.” Breathe in through your nose slowly and purposefully and then exhale through your mouth like you’re blowing out the candles on your birthday cake.

If your work stress is becoming untenable, it can help to talk to a licensed counselor or therapist. And you can search on CareerBuilder for a new opportunity that better suits your lifestyle and your schedule.


Read more about work-life balance:

These office hacks will make your workday a breeze

5 ways to keep your job search stress under control

10 ways to achieve work-life balance

Top reasons for working from home