- Posted by Cam Poole
- On October 15, 2020
We all react to the ping of an email notification, but if your email has the ability to induce skyrocketing stress and worry, you’re not alone!
The modern working day coupled with technology and living in a connected world especially during a pandemic means we have no ‘off’ switch. Emails arriving 24/7 may bring with them elevated levels of workload stress and a sense that we’re not accomplishing enough – leading to further anxiety of work.
Whether the email is an unnecessary work request on a Saturday morning, a reminder that a deadline is approaching, or a heated message from someone having a bad day themselves, the anxiety-inducing email can catch you off-guard.
To keep emails at bay from ruining your day, it’s vital to have the tools and know-how, at the ready to tackle them.
6 productive and positive ways to respond to the stressful email
Know your limitations
It is important to establish days and times that are off-limits to read or respond to non-emergency emails. You will be more likely to approach the message in question from a calmer place if you have created a space for personal balance.
It’s not just about you
Keep in mind that many contextual cues are missing from email– you don’t know if the sender is sick, worried, under pressure, or perhaps just had an argument with someone. These factors mean that email has the chance to feel emotionally confusing and anxiety-provoking.
Take a moment
If a particular message feels stressful, schedule a time to deal with it rather than responding immediately when your emotions are potentially running high. Later on, re-read the email a few times and try to imagine the sender voicing the message. It’s interesting how much the tone can change to something less offensive.
Write a draft
Sit. Breathe. Write a draft response.
Afterward, take the opportunity to step away from your device and preferably get outside for a few minutes to reframe your thoughts and perhaps alter the way you chose to respond initially.
Talk rather than type
If it’s a complex email that needs further clarification, then pick up your phone or schedule a video conference. As humans, we require a connection to others, so digital communication is not always good to rely on to truly comprehend the message and tone.
Self-care for the win
To make sure emails don’t completely derail your day, embrace some self-care strategies that can strengthen your resilience to help you cope and manage your stress. Consider some quick and calming tricks to help you relax and reframe the situation: a minute of deep breathing, talking the issue through with a trusted friend, or getting up from your desk and taking a walk outside in the fresh air.
Reframe negative thinking patterns to conquer anxiety
Anxiety-inducing emails are never fun, but they’re also an inevitable part of our work and home life. If you’re experiencing stress or anxiety levels that affect your mental health (regardless of how trivial they may seem) reach out to a mental health professional who can offer support and teach you life-long tools to manage anxiety-inducing situations.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a technique that can help reframe negative thinking patterns to positive thoughts, giving you coping strategies to better deal with stress and daily life’s challenges – like the email inbox.