In today’s incredibly fast-paced world, many of us find ourselves in stressful situations in the workplace on a regular basis. A bit of stress can help productivity, enthusiasm, and motivation at work, but an over-demanding schedule can have a huge impact on stress and anxiety levels. Looking after your mental health at work should be on your list of work-based priorities as it affects your daily life in and out of the office. Here are our top ten ways to eliminate stress at work.
1. The commute. While increasing numbers of people are working from home, most still going into a workplace that involves some sort of travel. This must be done by a certain time of day, every weekday. A few small tweaks in your journey can give you the right amount of opportunities to reduce stress. For example, try cycling to work if you can. This will give you a burst of energy first thing in the morning and will get you in great shape. If you have to drive to work, park further away or get off the bus one stop down the street and walk the rest of your journey. This will allow you to increase your aerobic capacity, feel the fresh air, and clear your mind before you start your day at the office.
2. There is no escalator to success. If your day job is relatively sedentary, then you must do what you can when you can to keep your body moving and reduce workplace stress. Using the elevator or escalator might speed up your journey, but everyone knows that a bit of aerobic exercise is a great stress reliever. Make it your mission to use the stairs as often as possible. This is ideal time to yourself that will increase your endorphins levels and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
3. Meetings on the Move. Ask your colleague or managers if your next informal meeting has to be held behind a desk. Well-being meetings are on the rise and can easily be held on the move. Suggest meeting with your colleague at the park or walk around the block or to the coffee shop on the other side of office building. Your meetings don’t have to be sedentary, so take an opportunity to recuperate and regather your thoughts away from a stress-filled working environment. You’ll realize how much more productive they are when your juices (and ideas) and flowing easier!
4. Use Others. Sick of having lunch in the breakroom by yourself? Take full use of your lunch break and meet with friendly colleagues or a friend who works nearby. By arranging to go for a walk, or to meet a colleague for a coffee, is often enough to keep you stress-free and in a good frame of mind. Use this time to take your mind off of work by not speaking about any office gossip or problems. That way you’ll both go back to your jobs feeling fresh and ready to finish out the workday.
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5. Act, Don’t React. Stress is heightened when we experience environments or situations that feel out of our control. A stressful environment can have a negative impact on our self-confidence and concentration levels. To help ease this stress, act on situations in ways that feel inside your control. For example, don’t just drown your stress in more work – choose to sit by a window and take a break when you really need to. If you’re in a stressful meeting, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down. Act out your own situation rather than reacting to it.
6. Deep Breath. Feeling stressed in work can be a chaotic and overwhelming experience. Try and make it a habit to take yourself out of that environment and restore your balance. Whether it’s after a tense meeting or rushing to finish a deadline, you can simply find your own space, even at your desk and take a breath. Breathe in for five to ten seconds and exhale slowly. Do this for three minutes before you make your next decision, or choose to start another piece of work and trust that your head will be clear and your stress levels lowered.
7. Short Term Supplementation. Nootropics are an up-and-coming tool that many people are using to give their brain a little extra boost – and to help reduce stress. Nootropics are a class of cognitive enhancers, that is, supplements designed to positively and safely impact various areas of brain function. Many nootropics are notable for their stress-relieving effects. For example, L-Theanine is a great way to reduce stress and improve focus at the workplace. Theanine is an amino acid that you are likely to come across in green tea, and is why the drink is often cited for anti-stress benefits. Always consult your physician before trying a new supplement.
8. Water in Work. Water is life! Aim to drink around two litres per day in work and try and get into the habit of filling up your bottle every time it becomes empty. Drinking water not only hydrates you but maintains the balance of body fluids, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, improves skin, energizes you, helps control your calories, and contributes towards good digestion in turn supporting gut health. Now where’s my bottle?
9. Out of the Office. Your activities and routines outside the office will have a huge impact on your productivity and mood when you’re at the office. If you’re having trouble sleeping, work on ways to improve your sleep schedule, like removing all screens and drinking tea before bed. If you go home bored and lethargic, invest in a new hobby or activity group to meet up with new people. You have to work on both your professional and personal sides of your life in order to keep both stress-free and full of inspiration.
10. Cardamom Tea for Two. Cardamom tea, especially combined with ginger and cinnamon, can improve your mood, circulation, and yes – even stress levels. Black tea also improves blood pressure due to a concentration of flavonoid, which in turn can lower levels of stress, pressure, and feelings of anxiety.