Usually, workplace stress is a healthy part of daily life. Stress is what pushes us to do our best in tight situations; it can make us more productive and efficient, and even improve our memory. However, the persistent and severe stress felt by many working individuals can lead to serious health risks, including cardiovascular disease, insomnia, anxiety, depression, obesity, and a compromised immune system.
Because so many employees suffer from occasional bouts of extreme workplace stress, it is important to compile a toolbox of stress management techniques. This way, the next time you are faced with a tight deadline or infuriating co-worker, you will know exactly what to do.
Cut back on the caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant and will only exacerbate an already-stressful situation. There’s nothing wrong with a cup of joe to kick-start your morning, but limit your intake throughout the day to avoid jitters and anxiety.
Stay physically active at work
Exercise has been shown to alleviate stress and keep the mind and body fit. It isn’t always easy to stay active at a desk job, but there are many quick and easy activities you can do in the workplace to keep your blood pumping and the stress at bay.
Stay organized and manage your time
Some major causes of stress are poor time management and disorganization. It is difficult to stay zen when you have so much to do and the clock is ticking down. Keep your workspace organized and tidy, and create a prioritized list of your responsibilities. Decide which tasks should be finished immediately and which can wait; you can even create a schedule to keep track of deadlines and manage your break time.
Create healthy habits
It’s impossible to function properly at work when you barely slept and forgot to eat breakfast. Healthy habits are a key to avoiding daily stress. Create an evening routine that will guarantee a good night’s sleep and keep a healthy diet. Eating healthy, balanced meals isn’t as difficult as it sounds, even when you are pressed for time.
Change your perspective on stress
It may sound odd, but embracing your stress can actually change how it affects your mood. Remember that stress can be beneficial to your productivity and alertness. By simply accepting that stress is part of your day and choosing to embrace it, you can improve your mood and work performance.
Keep a stress journal
By keeping track of daily stressors and your responses to them, you can learn to improve your behavior in taxing situations. When you find yourself feeling stressed, jot down what happened to make you feel that way, how you felt emotionally and physiologically, how you reacted, and what you did to improve your mood. As time goes on, you will most likely see a pattern in your answers and you can formulate ways to react better or recover more quickly in future situations.
Practice relaxation techniques
Mindful relaxation is a great way to relieve stress. By using relaxation techniques, you can reduce stress hormones and lower your blood pressure and heart rate. There are a variety of ways to relax, including visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and meditation. Find the practice that works best for you and incorporate it into your routine to keep your mind and body at peace.
Write things down
During a busy day, it is easy to forget some of the things on your mental to-do list. From sending an email to a co-worker to stopping by the grocery store on your way home from the office, sometimes the small things just slip the mind. To avoid the mental stress of remembering everything, just keep a list. As soon as you think of something you need to do, write it down. Not only is this a foolproof way to keep track of your responsibilities, but by simply writing something down by hand you are more likely to remember it later.
There’s nothing more stressful than a business call during dinner. It’s important to realize when you have become too attached to your job, otherwise the constant pressure will have you stressing during all hours of the day. Resolve to keep your personal life and your business life separate when possible, which includes not checking your work email past a certain time of the day and silencing your phone during your time off. Creating reasonable boundaries between your work life and your personal life will help you shed the stress of employment.
Coping with workplace stress
Depending on how you handle it, workplace stress could be a help or a hindrance to your work life. Choose to accept stress as a reality and learn how to respond to it in a healthy way that will boost your work performance and keep you feeling calm and composed.