Everyone has stressful days at work — but whether those stressful days overwhelm you or are just opportunities to improve your skills depends on your habits and your ability to stay calm.

No matter your skills, a stressful day can ruin your progress or make you mess up a project you’ve been working on for months,” says Maggie Brown, Founder and CEO of Recess Pickleball.

It’s in your best interest to check out these 11 ways to stay calm during stressful days at work. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how to keep a handle on your stress even when the going gets tough.

1. Focus on One Task at a Time

You can remain calm during any stressful day in any industry if you simply focus on one task at a time.

“Contrary to popular belief, humans cannot multitask. Although the human brain can somewhat subconsciously work on problems you aren’t thinking of, you cannot focus your attention on multiple things simultaneously,” explains Dr. Michael Green, Chief Medical Officer of Winona.

You’ll be more productive and less stressed if you focus on a single task at any given moment. By focusing on one task, you can dedicate all of your energy to that task and avoid accidentally diluting your efforts or energy. Give yourself a break (and do your work portfolio a favor) by not spreading yourself too thin, even if you are a manager or executive!

2. Be Positive

Never underestimate the power of positive thinking. When you stay positive, your thought processes create a change in your energy levels so that it stays higher throughout the day. Even if something negative happens at work or if you encounter a stressful event, try to be positive about it when possible.

“When you’re positive, you’ll also improve the morale of your workers and peers,” suggests Asker A Ahmed, Director of iProcess Global Research. “In doing so, you’ll contribute to a better office work environment and culture, which results in better workplace productivity all around.”

Note that being positive is a conscious choice. If you choose to be positive, you take away the power of stressful events to ruin your day or prevent you from being productive.

3. Lean on Your Team Members

No matter where you work, you probably aren’t the only employee — unless you’re self-employed or a freelancer, of course. You can and should lean on your team members for support, whether it’s logistical, emotional, or other areas you need assistance with. Say that you receive a major work update from your boss at the last minute. Rather than trying to tackle this monumental task alone, you can instead call upon your peers and team members to help you with the load.

“By asking your team members for help, you’ll be more likely to complete whatever significant task your boss has lined up for you,” advises Dan McCormick, Founder and CEO of Create, a company known for their creatine gummies. “You can impress them without once hinting that you were overstressed in the first place, all while building stronger relationships with your team.”

Leaning on your team members is an effective way to manage your stress, even during the busiest and most hectic days of the year. This is a boon for workplace morale, as well. The more you and your peers work together, the stronger workplace bonds you’ll form and the better team you’ll be the next time a challenge comes your way.

4. Embrace Mindfulness Practices

Embracing mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can serve as a refuge amidst the chaos. Taking just a few minutes daily to center oneself can dramatically decrease stress levels, boost cognitive abilities, and foster a more harmonious work environment.

Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, aptly remarked, “Stress-reduction and mindfulness don’t just make us happier and healthier; they’re a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one.”

Mindfulness is more than just a buzzword; it’s a strategic move towards enhanced performance and well-being.

5. Take Regular Breaks

It’s also important to take regular breaks throughout your workday, both on calm days and on overly stressful ones. Ideally, you should take a five-minute break every hour and a 15-minute break or longer every three to four hours. Alternatively, you can follow the Pomodoro technique; this method weaves breaks into its sequence, so you never forget to take a breather every now and then.

“With the Pomodoro technique, you work in bursts of 25 minutes, taking minor breaks between each burst and a longer break after an hour to an hour and a half,” says Justin Hall, Co-Founder and CTO of, a company that helps cannabis consumers buy weed online.

Regardless, taking regular breaks provides benefits like recovering mental and physical energy, giving you time to plan the rest of the day, and helping you avoid burnout.

6. Plan Your Day

Speaking of planning your day, this is another important task if you want to stay calm during stressful days at work. Planning your day is advantageous because it allows you to allocate your resources appropriately. Remember, you should focus on one task at a time. If you plan out all of your tasks and objectives, you can organize them so you have enough time to get everything, even accounting for this focus.

“Planning your day is crucial since it lets you anticipate and expect what’s ahead, an important element if you are facing several stressful tasks in a row,” offers Jonathan Zacharias, Founder of GR0.

Planning becomes even more important as you climb the ladder and become a manager or executive; so, too, does the next crucial tip.

7. Prioritize Your Tasks

If you have a lot of items on your docket to tackle over the course of a stressful day, prioritize them accordingly. During your planning session, mark which tasks are most important and plan to do those first. Then, plan to do the second most important tasks, and so on.

“Once the afternoon rolls around and your lower priority tasks are all that remains, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have much energy left to deal with those tasks because they’re the seemingly easier ones to handle, explains Mark Otter, CEO of MassageLuXe, a fast-growing spa franchise.

Prioritizing your tasks is essential since it allows you to knock out the most important line items quickly, especially if they have to be turned in or reported to your bosses. More importantly, prioritizing your tasks lets you focus most of your early morning energy on the materials that require a little more from you.

8. Take a Deep Breath Now and Again

If you want to breathe like a Navy SEAL and calm down during a stressful day, try these tips: Breathe in for four seconds. Then, hold the air in your lungs for another four seconds. Next, exhale the air for four seconds until your lungs are empty. Finally, hold your breath so your lungs are emptied for four seconds as well.

“Taking a deep breath resets your thoughts, calms your metabolism, and gives you the tools to handle any sudden stress that comes into your life,” says Marc Boelen, CEO of 2XU, a company that specializes in mens compression pants.

This is a particularly good tip if you receive some suddenly stressful news, like the fact that you have to stay late or that a project you’ve been working on has taken a negative turn. Use this tip to handle any bad news you receive at work and to maintain your productivity.

9. Ask for Help If You Need It

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Far too many otherwise rockstar employees end up causing themselves too much stress because they never ask for help. If you need assistance with a job or just managing your daily workload, ask for it!

“If you have a worthwhile boss, they won’t be offended or have a problem with you enlisting assistance from your peers or other departments,” states Nick Bodkins, Founder of Boisson, a company known for their non-alcoholic wine and cocktail offerings. “If they are offended, that might be a sign of an improper workplace fit.”

Bottom line: Ask for help if you need it rather than trying to struggle by yourself.

10. Enjoy Recreational Activities at Home

Lastly, you can make your stressful workdays easier by pursuing the right home activities. Specifically, you should enjoy your favorite recreational activities whenever possible. Whether that’s watching TV, working on a calming hobby, or spending time with your friends and family, be sure to enjoy some leisurely activities in between work shifts.

“Burnout is extremely common, especially in today’s work environment. With work-from-home beginning to phase out, it’s important to maintain a proper work-life balance,” cautions Jenny Herbison, VP of Marketing at Craft Docs.

It’s easy to burn out in our modern working world, and it’s tempting to bring work home (or past work hours) to get ahead. If you work too much outside of your normal hours, you won’t be able to give it your all when you do show up to the office.

11. Set and Maintain Boundaries

The importance of setting boundaries can’t be overstated.

Jessica Moore, an American journalist for WCBS-TV, stated, “Our boundaries define our personal space — and we need to be sovereign there in order to be able to step into our full power and potential.” Setting clear boundaries ensures that work doesn’t consume every waking moment, allowing for the essential recuperation that’s crucial for sustained productivity and creativity.

Whether it’s deciding not to check emails past a certain hour or taking scheduled breaks throughout the day, delineating work-life boundaries can be transformative in managing stress and staying centered during turbulent times.

Keep Calm and Carry On

At the end of the day, staying calm during stressful days at work is one of the best skills to learn. If you master these tips, you’ll be able to handle any challenge that comes at you and impress your boss and team in more ways than one.