9 Simple Ways to Combat Stress at Work
Anybody who says that they’ve never had a stressful day at work probably isn’t telling the whole truth. Unless you’re working as a yoga teacher on a tropical island, chances are that there’s been at least one or two days in your career where you feel like walking out.
Stress is a normal part of life – when managed and channeled properly, it can even become hugely beneficial in terms of meeting goals. It’s stress that’s probably driven you so far to achieve what you have; after all, if you weren’t at least a little bit stressed about the potential outcomes of failing, then you probably wouldn’t have put so much effort into exams, interviews, and more.
However, too much stress can be really bad for you. People suffering from chronic stress often find that it transfers to various areas of their lives; stress eating can lead to weight gain, whilst other people simply don’t eat enough when they’re stressed out, leading to unhealthy weight loss. Other symptoms of severe stress can include weight loss, skin problems, and issues with sleep – all of which culminate in an unhappy, unhealthy life.
Thankfully, there are many simple things that you can do to get back in control of your stress at work and prevent it from developing into full-blown anxiety or causing any other nasty symptoms. We’ve listed some simple ways to deal with stress and regain your calm at work.
Tip #1. Take a Breath
If you’re feeling particularly stressed, then you have probably noticed that your heart rate is rising and your breathing is speeding up. When left unattended, stress that causes the heart rate to quicken could result in a full-blown anxiety or panic attack, if not, it can still affect your ability to think straight and focus at work, leading to mistakes and possible issues that can only heighten your stress levels. So, sit back and focus on your breathing – yogic breathing makes it much easier to regain control and calm yourself down. A simple exercise is to inhale for around 5 seconds, hold your breath for another five, then slowly exhale for around seven to eight seconds, or until your lungs are fully deflated. Repeat until you feel yourself regaining control and becoming calmer.
Tip #2. Try CBD Oil
Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD oil has grown in popularity recently thanks to its huge number of health properties. Studies have shown that CBD oil is effective in reducing a number of symptoms for mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and severe stress. The best part is that although it may come from the marijuana plant, CBD oil doesn’t contain any THC, the active compound in weed that makes you high. So, it’s completely safe and legal to use in all parts of the U.S. – you can even take a vape or dabs to work with you for those particularly stressful moments, without worrying about it showing up on a drug test.
Tip #3. Cut Caffeine
Whilst you’re at work, you probably go through a few cups of coffee in a day, like most people. But, whilst a cup of coffee in the morning can work wonders for giving you a boost, after a while your body will start to need more caffeine, and you’ll experience side effects such as tiredness and the shakes along with extra stress. If you must drink coffee, then it’s important to do so in moderation, and try to limit the amount that you drink later in the day, since this can affect your ability to sleep soundly at night and result in unnecessary stress levels due to tiredness. Instead, you can turn to more natural energy-boosters, for example berries, which are high in antioxidants and will provide your body with a safer source of energy that won’t cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms.
Tip #4. Drink More Water
Dehydration can lead to stress, so if you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, this could lead to heightened anxiety at work. In addition, not getting enough water can lead to a multitude of health problems, including dry, dull skin and hair and a lack of focus, which can both contribute to your feeling down and unmotivated throughout the working day. On the other hand, when your body is properly hydrated, it’s in a much better position to function properly, resulting in less health concerns for you and improved focus at work; this will help to minimize the amount of unnecessary stress that you feel. Ideally, you should drink around 6-8 glasses of water per day. Take a refillable bottle to work with you, so that you don’t forget!
Tip #5. Exercise More
When you exercise, ‘feel-good’ hormones are released into your bloodstream, lifting your mood and doing away with feelings of stress and anxiety. Therefore, most people tend to feel extra energized and good about themselves after a workout. The best part is that even light exercise will have a positive effect; you could try walking to work rather than driving or taking up yoga in your lunch break. In addition, the more physical activity that you take part in, the more overall health improvements you will see, including weight loss, which can work wonders for your self-esteem. In turn, better self-esteem can often result in less stress.
Tip #6. Choose Your Friends
Although there are many things that you can do regarding your diet and lifestyle habits to enjoy less stress at work, at times you may find that it’s inevitable that somebody is going to stress you out, no matter how well you’ve been looking after yourself. Hanging out with the right crowd at work can be the best way to deal with this; toxic people who care only for themselves can be found everywhere and your workplace is probably no exception. To best protect your mental health, it’s important to choose your work friends wisely; if a certain individual or group causes you to feel down each time you come into contact with them, it’s best to keep any communication to a professional minimum. Remember that there’s no need to be best friends with everybody from work!
Tip #7. Eliminate Distractions
Depending on the type of work that you do, you may find yourself dealing with numerous distractions in the workplace throughout the day. This is especially true for home-based and remote workers, who usually have all the regular distractions of the home to contend with whilst trying to get tasks done. If possible, it’s important that you create a suitable working environment for yourself that eliminates, or at least minimizes, distractions. This way, you will be better able to focus on your work and get things done on time, resulting in less stress. If you don’t work from home, then speak to your colleagues to create a distraction-free workplace; this will help everybody to get more done and reduce their stress levels.
Tip #8. Get an Early Night
Your sleep patterns can have a huge effect on your stress levels; if you are not getting enough sleep each night, then your body is likely to be under a lot of strain, meaning that you’ll find it much harder to deal with stress in the workplace. If you are only getting a couple of hours sleep before it’s time to wake up for work again, then chances are, this will soon start to get on top of you and you might find that little, seemingly insignificant things are stressing you out more than usual. There are many natural supplements that you can take to help you get a better night’s sleep – try chamomile tea or capsules; a well-known natural sedative that can help you to drift off into peaceful slumber. In addition, practicing good sleep hygiene is essential, and try to have a gadget-free, work-free hour before going to bed.
Tip #9. Take Short Breaks
Whenever possible, you should take short breaks regularly to clear your mind and regain your focus. Whilst you may have deadlines to hit and a lot of work to get through, powering through it all without a break will lead to you burning out. In turn, you’ll end up getting results that you’re not happy with; this could even lead to extra work for you if you have to go back and correct any mistakes. Studies have shown that working for long periods of time without a break can be seriously bad for you; along with increasing stress levels, office workers can often suffer from aches and pains due to sitting down for a prolonged period. So, speak to your boss about splitting your breaks up throughout the day; once they see that this means better results from you they’re likely to agree.
Most workers agree that stress can become a normal part of the working day. Whilst some stress can be a great motivator in the workplace, there’s no need to let it take over your job!
How do you deal with stress at work? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.