The occasional bout of job-related stress is to be expected, especially during busy periods when projects pile up and deadlines loom. But employee stress levels are on the rise, according to LinkedIn, with roughly 50% of today's workforce feeling stressed to some degree. Worse yet, climbing the ranks at your company might have the unwanted effect of increasing your on-the-job tension.

While 48% of workers at the individual contributor level report feeling stressed on the job, 56% of middle managers feel the same. Furthermore, 61% of executive-level managers report feeling stressed, despite the fact that these are the people who likely get paid the most.

If you're vying for a promotion at work, you should know that getting that advancement might result in an uptick in stress. And that's enough to make you want to reconsider. At the same time, there are ways upper-level employees can make their jobs less stressful, so if your career seems headed in that direction, you'll want to keep these in mind.

Gray-haired man in glasses, collared shirt, and suit jacket leaning head against wall

Image source: Getty Images.

Easing your stress

As a manager or higher-level employee, you probably have a lot on your plate. Chances are, you're responsible for not just hitting output-related milestones, but doing so while overseeing anywhere from several to many employees at the same time. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to lower your stress load and preserve your sanity.

First, get better about delegating. Identify the strongest players on your team, and lean on them when your workload grows unbearable and there isn't enough time to tackle it solo. At the same time, invest some hours in training your most competent employees so that when you do need their help, they'll know exactly how to give it.

Next, be smarter about meetings, especially if you've been attending so many lately that you can't remember the last time you didn't spend the bulk of your afternoon locked in a conference room. Middle managers spend roughly 35% of their time in meetings, according to job site The Muse, and for upper managers, it's more like 50%. If meetings are causing you to fall behind on other responsibilities, start saying no to them, at least on occasion.

At the same time, schedule meetings strategically when you have that power. You're better off powering through a string of meetings back to back, for example, then scheduling sit-downs with 30-minute breaks in between. The reason? Those 30 minutes probably aren't enough time for you to get much actual work done, so you're better off getting your meetings over with and then having a 90-minute stretch to yourself at the end of the day.

Finally, make sure you're taking the time away from the office that you need. American workers are notorious for leaving vacation days on the table, and if you can't remember the last time you took a day off, it's a sign that you need a break, pronto. Doing so will help you come back to work refreshed, thereby helping to alleviate some of the stress you've been experiencing.

Too much job-related stress can impact not just your outlook and health, but also your performance. Take these steps to alleviate stress. Otherwise, you might reach a point where you burn out completely and really struggle to recover.