My Tips For Dealing With Irritation At Work

We’ve all been there when you spend so much of your life around the same people day after day, the littlest things start to suck the life out of you. By the end of last week, I felt my face pinch and coil as if I was sucking on a sour lemon. Basically, I looked like a moody witch.

There’s some techniques I’ve done previously that have helped, A LOT. Stupidly I didn’t put them into practice last week, so as of today I’ve made an effort. The results = it worked. I walked out of work feeling less irritated and more in control of myself and my environment. Here are my tips (none of these tips involves you pulling out some body bending yoga positions while singing kumbaya my lord….my suggestions are a bit more practical):

Talk to yourself and daydream (bare with me and read)

You have a spare 5 minutes in your work schedule and you’re feeling tense (to nicely put it). Mentally take yourself elsewhere (since in most cases it’s hard to physically remove yourself!) Imagine yourself somewhere entirely different, imagine yourself being someone else, create an adventure in your head, or drift to a peaceful place. Don’t spend the whole day doing this, you might forget that reality still exists.

Have a chat to yourself. Not out loud as people might start moving away from you. But just a little mental conversation about anything or some positive talk to calm your anger. Today I imagined what I would really like to say to someone who is currently bothering me. Like, what I would REALLY like to say. I’m sure you can imagine the swear words that bolted around in my head. Once I finished saying it in my head, I had no need to say it out loud. I felt better.

In other words, distract your mind.

Question your thoughts and perceptions

Do you really have a valid reason to be annoyed? Is it worthwhile feeling like this? Is what’s actually irritating you, really genuinely irritating? Your answer could likely be no. Why waste so much time and energy dwelling in your pit of negative emotion and dragging others down with you. Maybe you are frustrated because you are tired or hungry? Or because you are over-thinking things or being too sensitive (I am very guilty of this). Just tell yourself to stop brooding over it, buckle up, I’m sure it could be worse! This sounds like a very insensitive thing to say, but imagine explaining why you are frustrated to a group of strangers. Can you imagine them sympathising you or shaking their heads? If they are shaking their heads, then you need to stop being silly.


They say distance makes the heart grow stronger. In this case, distance makes the mind stop frantically firing all over the place! You’re feeling annoyed? Right, on your lunch break leave the building. Don’t force yourself to sit with the people who irritate you, or stay in those 4 prison walls of doom. Go outside. Eat lunch in your car and blare out the radio. Run to the nearest café. Or sit outside on a bench and ponder over life. Just leave the building at a convenient time. I heavily recommend this. It’s hard to try relaxing in the environment that’s annoying you, so remove yourself from it. This works wonders for me. Although, don’t leave willy nilly all the time. We don’t want you to lose your job! Perhaps just stick to your lunch break.

Make your weekends count

This is your chance to let your hair down (if you have hair). Make time for the things you want to do. Go ‘crazy’ on a night out or peacefully read a book in your bath. Whatever you enjoy, pump it into your weekends. You will then feel fresh to take on the next week by storm.

Be more vocal

Sometimes you have a reason to be annoyed. Sometimes the work environment isn’t fair and people are just mean. If you bundle your thoughts inwardly for ages, they will splurge and splash out and you will end up looking like the bad person. Plan what to say so you can get your point across without being mean to others. It’s better to be slightly disliked and respected than liked and walked all over.

Think ahead

Ok, so you find yourself getting frustrated at something or someone. You feel it is out of your control. Do not accept this last notion. Perhaps there is something you can do. Think of preventative or coping mechanisms. How can you be active in diminishing your frustration? Plan ahead. For example, your co-worker has a tendency to become competitive and feel he/she needs to outwit you all the time, (it’s probably because she’s/he’s insecure or just has an annoying personality). It’s really getting under your skin and you feel yourself wanting to outwit them back. Bad idea. Why? Because they are competitive. It won’t end after you outwit them. Write down what you could say/do in the future. When you feel the situation is building (again), plan to get a cup of tea or distract them with another topic. Think ahead, plan how to regain control.

Don’t bring your personal life into the workplace

Lots of people make this mistake. Create a mental barrier, then when you leave your house, your stress stays there in a suitcase waiting for you for when you return home (joy). If you take the suitcase with you, you have to drag it around everywhere and over time it gets heavier and heavier from filling up with more stress. Same when you leave work. Leave your work problems at work, don’t bring them home.

Be realistic – you can be irritating to others

Realise that you are not the only person probably feeling frustrated. You are likely in a building full of people who have had enough. When you put this into perspective, you somehow feel on the same level as everyone else. This manages to make my day go smoother.

Finally – look after yourself!

If I go to work and I haven’t slept well, I’m feeling bad about myself, I haven’t given myself a break and so forth. It shows in my reactions. Same can be said about other people. Sometimes we get angry because we are frustrated at something else or we feel physically and mentally exhausted or clouded. Write a list of things you enjoy doing or what’s bothering you. Now write down next to it how you can do this or improve this. It might mean you need to let your steam out through exercise (which releases endorphins), you need some more ‘me time’, you need to talk to someone close and let something off your chest or you need to book a holiday away. Give yourself a well – earned break. Because you have earned it!

[I’m noticing a pattern where, when I hit being in my job for around 3 months, I start getting a little tense. What I now realise, is that I can control this. I can stop myself feeling flustered and be happier at work. Give some of these tips a try. Do you have any tips?]















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