Focus on the Whole Team: Stress Management at Work

May 16th, 2017 | by Walt Whitfield
Focus on the Whole Team: Stress Management at Work


Most employees deal with work-related stress in an athletic department. The Athletic Director. The Academic Counselor. The Film Coordinator. The Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. And so on. They all encounter deadlines and overwhelmingly busy days. That’s common. But what is becoming more common is people’s inability to handle work stressors in positive ways. Here are a few tips to help you better manage your workday stress.

Identify Your Stressors

Identifying your stressors is much like watching game film after a tough lost.  Reliving moments are hard, but it’s important to know what issues at work are causing you the most stress. To simply say your work stresses you out is too vague. Vagueness limits your understanding of what is in your sphere of control. In addition, you need to become aware of your response to each stressor. In some cases, the response is worse than the stressor and is 100% controllable. Keep a dairy to track actions and reactions. Writing down things will help you see trends in your work conditions and behavior.

Time Block

As written in our article “How to beat the common excuses,” lack of time is the number one excuse people use to not exercise. As suggested, blocking is a great way to keep time available during your day. It does require some pre-planning, but if followed can keep your work schedule moving in a positive direction. Pick 3-5 important tasks you need to complete. Delegate time during your workday to focus on each specific task. The key is to set rules and stick to them. If you leave 1 hour to check emails, stop at an hour and move on to the next task.

Take Active Breaks

Within college athletics, coaches are known for their commitment to long office hours. The “first one in, last one out” mentality seems to saturate the coaching ranks. It is reminiscent of the days where players were weak if they needed a water break. Today, it seems many look at work breaks as harmful to success. But too much of anything is never healthy. If your day calls for long hours at the office or a deadline is looming, it is important to find ways to get away from work while at the office. The key is to get out of work area. Stretching and walks around the complex are great ways to decompress for a moment. Take yourself out the office, recharge, and refresh, and get back to work with a clearer mindset.

Say No

I remember a spring weekend during college when our university hosted a baseball series, a softball tournament, a track and field meet, and our basketball team was competing in the NCAA tournament. A weekend of that size is enough to stress even the most seasoned employees. Over commitment can lessen your quality of work and add stress. When times are this hectic, it is important to learn when to say no. Sometimes helping a coworker is not high on the priority list. Saying no may seem self-centered, but it means your committed to your current obligations. The key is being respectful and honest. Be truthful about your commitments and make it up to your coworker another time.

Workplace stress, when chronic, can affect a person’s health tremendously. Stress management at work is an important aspect to your wellbeing. Find healthy ways to control stress or it will control you.

Walt Whitfield About Walt Whitfield
Walter Whitfield is an employee wellness consultant and founder of Lavoro Workplace Wellness where he helps businesses improve their workplace through employee wellness strategies. He has worked with corporations like Chevron, BP, and Seadrill. Walter is a former college athlete for Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns where he competed in cross country and track, winning Sunbelt conference titles in the 3k Steeplechase and 5k. He is married, has 3 kids, and loves all things New Orleans Saints and Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns.

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