How to Manage Stress and Avoid Burnout at Work

November 1, 2023

Prioritizing mental health allows people to do their best work. Here are five steps to help you manage stress now.

For the past decade, researchers have reported a trend of rising stress levels in the workplace. This year alone, 44% of employees reported experiencing “a lot” of stress at work. Stress is also one of the many factors contributing to 59% of workers who are “quiet quitting,” meaning they’re not fully engaged in their jobs, which has a significant impact on productivity and team success.

Self-care often falls to the wayside when experiencing stress, but it’s the most important thing we can do for ourselves and our teammates. Stress is inevitable but managing it effectively and supporting your colleagues is possible.

Utilize the strategies below to create a more balanced and stress-resilient life at work while fostering teams built to thrive.


Establish Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries in both our personal and professional lives is vital for stress-management. Learn to say “no” when you need to and prioritize tasks to avoid overcommitting. If you’re someone who chronically says “yes,” or feels as though no one can do the job as well as you, setting boundaries may not feel natural at first, but with practice, it will get easier.

I’ve learned as an employee and team leader to be honest with myself and colleagues about what’s on my plate and how much time I reasonably have in a day. This practice will allow you to do your best work and set a positive example for your team, ensuring deadlines aren’t missed due to mismanaged work.


Time Management and Organization

At Candor, we consistently share where we are with our personal bandwidth throughout the workday. This creates a positive, collaborative culture and helps us do what we do best: GSD (aka Get Stuff Done). Prioritize tasks, break them into manageable chunks, outsource what you can and set realistic deadlines.

Often stress is caused by unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our colleagues. Rather than expect yourself to complete five big tasks in one day, plan your week around accomplishing one big task and several small tasks daily, ensuring you have enough time for self-care.


Regular Breaks and Rest

At a recent team meeting, one of Candor’s leaders reminded us to take breaks. Since then, I’ve gone on a walk every day when I’m feeling sluggish and unfocused. Every time, I come back to my desk more energized and often with solutions to problems I was struggling to solve before.  

In the pursuit of productivity, it’s easy to forget the importance of regular breaks. Stepping away from your computer or the task at hand, whether for a short walk or a brief relaxation period, can allow you to reset and refocus, enhancing productivity and reducing stress.


Seek Professional Help

Anxiety and stress are the most common reasons people eventually seek professional help. Working with a therapist has allowed me to be accountable to the self-care goals I set for myself while also practicing self-awareness, mindful communication and setting boundaries. These practices have helped me manage work-related stress and also better support my colleagues when challenges arise.

Be proactive in seeking support rather than waiting until a crisis hits to get ahead of stress and to avoid burnout. Encourage your employees to utilize their mental health benefits by highlighting what’s available to them and normalize a culture of proactive wellness.


Maintain Perspective

When facing stress-inducing challenges, I often ask myself, “What if this wasn’t a problem?” This little thought experiment immediately makes me feel less stressed and more open to creative solutions. By reframing problems as opportunities to learn and grow, we allow ourselves to do our best work now.

Challenges can feel insurmountable when we’re experiencing chronic stress, and it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Stress can help us thrive, meet our goals and fulfill our dreams when we learn to work with it rather than let it rule our lives.

And most importantly, remind yourself and your colleagues often: “You’ve got this.”

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Bowie Rowan

Bowie is a storyteller at heart who utilizes their diverse skill set and enthusiasm to help clients achieve and exceed their goals. A writer and multimedia producer with more than 15 years of experience, they have worked extensively across industries.

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