There is no doubt that stress is a real problem in modern society, particularly in the workplace.
Yep. Stress is bad news.
But the good news about stress is that it is definitely something that can be solved – or at worst, hugely reduced.
The are numerous common causes of stress at work. For example:
- Fear of losing your job
- Annoying co-workers
- Demanding bosses
- Pressure to meet deadlines
- Lack of support from management and/or co-workers
- The general environment and work space
Everybody deals with stress in their lives in different ways and what may be stressful for one person, may not be stressful for another.
When it comes to stress, there are two sides to consider.
The first is the environment you are faced with.
And the second is how you react to that environment.
It may not be easy to change your work surroundings, so you need to look at the way you handle the stress-inducing factors and consider what you implement to deal with them. These are things that are within your immediate control.
And here’s the key: it’s really about how you deal with it.
They say happiness is a choice and in a way, so is stress.
Dealing with stress is about your outlook and your mindset.
And you need to get a hold of it, because it’s fairly well-documented and agreed that stress can lead to all kinds of problems, such:
- Depression and apathy
- Low morale
- Alcohol and drug dependence
- Problems at home
- Less productivity
I don’t know about you, but the above list are all things I could do without in my life.
So, here are 6 super simple ways we’ve found to crush stress from today and start living a more relaxed life!
Talking about it with friends, family and co-workers is important.
Keeping things bottled up is only going to compound the issue. Stress is such a ubiquitous problem these days that nobody is going to think anything less of you for revealing that you are struggling.
It may even be that everyone else around you is feeling the same and a problem shared is a problem halved, as they say.
If your employer is kept in the loop about how you are feeling, then perhaps actions can be taken to help remove some of the environmental factors adding to your stress-load.
2. Keep healthy with (more) exercise and good nutrition
The usual advice for life generally – keep fit and eat well. If you are working in a stressful environment, this advice is even more pertinent.
If you don’t exercise already, start now. If you do, try stepping it up a little.
It can be anything you enjoy, as long as it involves movement.
Walking, running, working out at the gym, yoga, tennis, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, whatever.
Switch off from work and give yourself the opportunity to focus on something completely different for an hour or so.
Eating well will make a huge difference to your energy and mood, so limit sugars, refined carbohydrates, alcohol and processed foods.
And try to eat more foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, seaweed and walnuts.
Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and nuts. You know this stuff, but just knowing is not good enough – you have to do it!
Related ~ Ultimate Fat-Burning Workouts: Tabata
3. Get good quality sleep
This might be easier said than done as stress can create a vicious circle of insomnia and more stress. Some people, like myself, are lucky and can just switch off at night no matter how stressful the day has been. For others, like my wife, for example, every small issue (and non-issue) will keep the mind active when all you want to do is sleep.
Getting a full 7-8 hours’ sleep a night might be unrealistic for a lot of us. Since having children, I’ve always found that it is not necessarily about the duration, but the quality of the uninterrupted sleep that counts.
If you don’t have children yet, make the most of it, because good sleep will become a distant memory once kids are in the picture! 🙂
4. Organise your life
A lack of organisation can only add to a stressful environment. Having a clearly defined schedule and sticking to it will help you to be more productive and enable you to focus on one thing at a time. Yes, there are times when we all need to juggle a few tasks and guess what? It can be stressful!
Breaking down your day can help massively. Write out a daily schedule and allocate different tasks to different time slots and stick to it.
Many jobs involve a multitude of different tasks. Having designated time slots to deal with different parts of your job will reduce interruptions and help you to focus on each one effectively with less stress.
An old boss once posed the question to me: “How do you eat an elephant?” (Hypothetically, of course. I eat meat, but will draw the line at munching on an endangered species.)
Answer: “Elephant burgers!”
In other words: In bite-sized chunks.
If you are working on a big tasks, break them into bite-sized chunks.
Treat each task like you’re moving a pile of bricks from A to B. You can’t pick them up all at once, so don’t try. Pick up what you can without dropping them, take them to the destination.
Don’t over-commit yourself. There is often a need to prove yourself at work, but don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Do a manageable amount well, rather than trying to be the hero and carrying the weight of everything and everybody on your shoulders.
If you have a team, delegate responsibility.
5. Just breathe!
Sounds like a ridiculously stupid piece of advice, but actually, very few people breathe correctly. If you’re feeling particularly tense or overwhelmed, a good place to start is with a couple of minutes of deep breathing. Inhale for 4 to 5 seconds and then exhale slowly as for as you can and repeat.
Try it. It really helps.
6. Make time for you
Turn your phone/computer off when you get home at night or at least within a designated time. Don’t feel that you need to be available 24/7. You are allowed to disconnect sometimes!
Schedule time for your partner, children and/or other important people in your life.
Take time out for a break/holiday.
Kick bad or unproductive habits.
Do things that you love.
Sometimes stress and anxiety is created by factors outside of our control and so it is pointless stressing about them! The key is to focus on the things that you can control.
It’s best to put your smart phone down if you want to reduce your stress levels. But if that is something you’re not willing to compromise on, try an app designed to reduce stress, such as Headspace or Happify.
Do you have any good tips for dealing with stress at work? Feel free to let us know in the comments sections below.