Modern workplaces are notorious for being hotbeds of stress. Not only does stress impact your professional life, it also affects you on a personal level.

Prolonged stress can also have adverse health effects. The long-term repercussions could include decreased self-control, anxiety, insomnia, and depression.

Stressful situations are unavoidable, but you can change how you deal with them. It’s not all gloom and doom. Here are a couple of tips to help you keep calm and work smart.

1. Plan Ahead

This is one of the most basic tips to work smarter.

Struggling under the weight of looming deadlines? Planning is essential to your sanity.

This is especially important if there are multiple tasks demanding your attention. Not all of these demands on your time are equally important.

Simply set aside a tiny portion of your day to plan out your work. Having a straightforward to-do list will enable you to tackle each item as it comes along. Budget your time as carefully as you budget your money, and you’ll be done before you know it.

2. Don’t Forget to Breathe

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” – Zen proverb

Meditation is a proven, time-tested way to de-stress. It’s also one of the best ways to stay calm at work.

It can be challenging to pursue this practice in an office environment. Instead, take a couple of minutes between tasks to sit back, forget about the tasks clamouring for your attention, and simply focus on your breathing.

Doing this even for five minutes will make a marked difference to your work life. You’ll find that you’re happier and more productive.

3. Take Breaks

Of all the tips to stay happy at work, this one’s the most enjoyable. The time you spend on your breaks is solely yours.

This means that you can choose to do anything with them. What de-stresses you the most? If it’s sketching, keep some pencils and a sketch pad handy. If it’s playing an instrument, bring it along and head to the break room.

The point is to do what you love in a way that will help you unwind before heading back to work. Taking small breaks throughout the day will keep you focused and productive.

It’s also important to rest your eyes regularly if you spend all day working at a screen. Breaks are the perfect opportunity to do this.

4. Stay Solution-Oriented

Simplify your work life to keep it from getting overwhelming. No problem is too big to be tackled. When you spend time thinking about all the problems that you need to deal with, you stress out and de-motivate yourself.

Instead, focus on the solutions to obstacles. Not only will this improve your productivity, it’ll keep you from stressing yourself out over trivial problems.

5. Get Enough Sleep

Getting the right amount of sleep will do wonders for your professional life. Sleep-deprived individuals don’t perform optimally and are more likely to burn themselves out.

Develop a bedtime routine that helps you fall asleep quickly and at a reasonable hour. If your body needs 8 hours to function at maximum efficiency, there’s no reason to skimp on this. Treat your body well and it’ll treat you well.

Being well-rested and getting an early start will enable you to burn through your workload. It’ll also leave you time to spare for the things that truly matter.

Work isn’t all there is to life, so you might as well make it easier on yourself by following these simple tips.