Five ways to de-stress at work
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have experienced feeling so stressed that they’ve felt overwhelmed or unable to cope with a situation.
Stress can have an impact on both our physical and mental health, including common health issues such as depression and anxiety. Recognising that you’re stressed and learning coping mechanisms to deal with it can really help, particularly in the workplace.
- Are you too busy?
- Do you often feel overwhelmed by your workload?
- Are you finding it challenging to finish tasks?
- Do you have little energy left at the end of the working day?
- Do you feel overwhelmed when dealing with multiple demands?
Here are five ways to maintain a steady focus throughout the day and reduce those stress levels:
ONE: Reduce interruptions
During the day, we’re dealing with numerous emails, instant messages, phone calls, people popping in and sudden urgent deadlines which crop up. This is distracting and, where you may not be able to control the people who are interrupting you, you can control how you respond to them. Many interruptions are recurring and predictable. Strategies for dealing with interruptions include:
- Accepting the interruption
- Cutting it off
- Diagnosing its importance and prioritising accordingly.
It’s up to you to establish what the criteria are for which strategy you choose. You can educate your colleagues by effectively planning your day; answering e-mails and planning face-to-face meetings at allocated times and closing the door when you need to get your head down.
TWO: Follow concentration with recovery
Do you propel yourself through the full eight to ten working day hours, thinking you’ll get more done? It’s very unlikely and you’re more likely to experience a reduction in productivity, an increase in stress levels and minimal energy left at the end of the working day.
Research demonstrates that a brief period of recovery after an hour of intense concentration, can clear the accumulation of stress. Recovery strategies include scheduling breaks throughout the day to:
- stretch at your desk
- do a breathing exercise
Did you know?
- On average, business professionals juggle between 30 –100 projects at one time
- Workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted for approximately two hours per day. Four in ten people working at large businesses are facing organisational restructuring
- Over 40% of adults say that they lie awake at night, thinking about stressful occurrences from their day
THREE: Eat and sleep well
A well-balanced diet provides the energy you need to keep active throughout the day and the nutrients you need for growth and repair, helping you to stay healthy and prevent diet related illnesses.
Sleep is a critical recovery period for the body. Are racing thoughts preventing you from being able to fall asleep? Are you waking during the night with difficulty getting back to sleep? Strategies for eating and sleeping well include:
- Eating a low-sugar high-protein diet
- If you can’t sleep, practice breathing techniques such as covering your right nostril and breathing through your left for three to five minutes.
Maintaining this healthy lifestyle will directly impact on reducing stress at work, as you will have more energy and better concentration and productivity levels.
FOUR: Take an objective approach
The way you interpret the actions of others in the workplace entirely depends on how you interpret them and are based on your own insecurities. If, for example, you feel as though you need extra resources to complete a project, but your proposal is rejected, think about the reason why. Is it because there simply isn’t the budget, rather than that your project is unimportant?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get to the bottom of why it’s been rejected, it’s best to get a clear understanding of the situation rather than overthinking and feeling disappointed about the rejection.
Changing your way of thinking to ‘how can you work around this?’ and suggesting some workable solutions will make you more effective and will be a positive influence on others.
FIVE: Prioritise your priorities
With many competing priorities and looming deadlines, it is vital that you define what’s important in urgency order.
The most important things to think about when prioritising is which will have the largest positive impact on the business and those which are best aligned with your personal goals. This requires a good understanding of your organisation’s strategic priorities and how your role contributes to these.
Other ways of reducing stress levels include undertaking reflexology, yoga, workout sessions and off-site activities. Change your mindset to a positive one, including thinking of something you’re grateful for every day and surrounding yourself with encouraging people.
Stress Awareness Month
To mark Stress Awareness Month you can take part in the 30-day challenge, which encourages you to do one action for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing every day. This is really useful in changing your approach to stress, including establishing what your triggers are and discovering ways of managing your own stress.
This month, put that extra bit of emphasis on your health and wellbeing and hopefully it will contribute to making a positive difference on your stress levels for months to come.